10 Ways to Eat Organic on a Budget

10 Ways to Eat Organic on a Budget

By Kerrie McLoughlin

Do you wish you could feed your family organic foods, but when you see some of the price tags, your eyes pop out of your head? Yeah, me, too. I recently set out to find ways to feed my large family organic foods on a tight budget. Here’s what I found out:

  1. Local Produce. Hit the farmer’s market to help out some local farmers while you save money on organic items. You can also try Local Harvest to search for farms, farmer’s markets, CSA (community supported agriculture), and more.
  2. Grow Your Own Organic Garden. Sounds hard, doesn’t it? Trust me, if I can do it with my two non-green thumbs, so can you. My husband is usually the gardener in our family, but one summer he was traveling for work, and the responsibility fell on me! I found out how easy it is to pull weeds and water tomatoes, carrots, and green beans. One day, I realized we had never bought any weed-killer or pesticides, which meant we basically had an organic garden. Even if you live in an apartment, you can grow herbs in a pot, have a patio garden, or even consider renting space out from a local gardener. Renting space is still cheaper than buying organic fruits and veggies from the leading natural foods market.
  3. Coupons and Sales, Baby! Watch, wait, then POUNCE on those items your family loves when they go on sale, or when you have a sweet coupon. Combine coupons with sales for some extreme couponing and you’ll be dancing in the aisles! Pro tip: buy store brands instead of name brands if you don’t have a coupon.
  4. Seasonal Items. Why pay $5/carton for organic strawberries when they can get as low as $1.50/carton in the good old summertime? It’s easy to find out which fruits and vegetables are in season by visiting fromfieldtoplate.com.
  5. Stock Up. When you find a good deal, stock up! You can get a good deal at a farmer’s market or find a sale at the natural foods market. It’s easy to freeze certain items while you make jellies, jams, etc. with the rest. Can your own spaghetti sauce, carrots, beets, green beans, and more from what you grow yourself (sometimes you have way more than you can eat coming in all at once). Canning is easier than it sounds, and you can find a used pressure cooker or borrow one for a weekend. Simply Canning has a wonderful site with many great resources, then hit YouTube for how-to videos.
  6. Buy in Bulk. Because you’re not paying for packaging and name brands, some organic basics like cereal, grains, and beans are much cheaper when dispensed from a bulk container.
  7. Skip the “Junk.” Organic graham crackers and fruit snacks cost a fortune, so try some carrots and hummus, or make your own yummy granola bars to save a bunch of green.
  8. Eat Less Meat. Grass-fed beef and cage-free chicken can be quite costly! My kids don’t even notice when we don’t include meat in our meals for several days in a row. Consider a fancy grilled cheese, refried bean quesadillas, a Mexican quinoa salad, and so much more!
  9. Make a Plan. A meal plan can make or break your budget. If you are running to the store several times a week without any idea of what you are going to make, it is easy to spend too much on other impulse purchases. Sit down once a week and write out a plan to include the three basic meals of the day, plus snacks. Don’t forget to consider on-the-go items such as granola bars that you might need to bake, or organic juice boxes you have a coupon for.
  10. Bake Your Own. We all need a good carb fix now and then. Rather than pay crazy baked-good prices, find a used bread machine for a steal, and make your own. It is so easy these days to get the dough ready, pop it in the machine, and just wait while your house fills up with the intoxicating aroma of baking bread. AllRecipes.com has tons of wonderful bread machine recipes that will impress your friends and family. Likewise, bake your own organic treats (think loaded muffins, energy balls, and granola bars) using organic flour, cocoa, oatmeal, etc. that you find for cheap using my tips above!

By Kerrie McLoughlin

Do you wish you could feed your family organic foods, but when you see some of the price tags, your eyes pop out of your head? Yeah, me, too. I recently set out to find ways to feed my large family organic foods on a tight budget. Here’s what I found out:

  1. Local Produce. Hit the farmer’s market to help out some local farmers while you save money on organic items. You can also try Local Harvest to search for farms, farmer’s markets, CSA (community supported agriculture), and more.
  2. Grow Your Own Organic Garden. Sounds hard, doesn’t it? Trust me, if I can do it with my two non-green thumbs, so can you. My husband is usually the gardener in our family, but one summer he was traveling for work, and the responsibility fell on me! I found out how easy it is to pull weeds and water tomatoes, carrots, and green beans. One day, I realized we had never bought any weed-killer or pesticides, which meant we basically had an organic garden. Even if you live in an apartment, you can grow herbs in a pot, have a patio garden, or even consider renting space out from a local gardener. Renting space is still cheaper than buying organic fruits and veggies from the leading natural foods market.
  3. Coupons and Sales, Baby! Watch, wait, then POUNCE on those items your family loves when they go on sale, or when you have a sweet coupon. Combine coupons with sales for some extreme couponing and you’ll be dancing in the aisles! Pro tip: buy store brands instead of name brands if you don’t have a coupon.
  4. Seasonal Items. Why pay $5/carton for organic strawberries when they can get as low as $1.50/carton in the good old summertime? It’s easy to find out which fruits and vegetables are in season by visiting fromfieldtoplate.com.
  5. Stock Up. When you find a good deal, stock up! You can get a good deal at a farmer’s market or find a sale at the natural foods market. It’s easy to freeze certain items while you make jellies, jams, etc. with the rest. Can your own spaghetti sauce, carrots, beets, green beans, and more from what you grow yourself (sometimes you have way more than you can eat coming in all at once). Canning is easier than it sounds, and you can find a used pressure cooker or borrow one for a weekend. Simply Canning has a wonderful site with many great resources, then hit YouTube for how-to videos.
  6. Buy in Bulk. Because you’re not paying for packaging and name brands, some organic basics like cereal, grains, and beans are much cheaper when dispensed from a bulk container.
  7. Skip the “Junk.” Organic graham crackers and fruit snacks cost a fortune, so try some carrots and hummus, or make your own yummy granola bars to save a bunch of green.
  8. Eat Less Meat. Grass-fed beef and cage-free chicken can be quite costly! My kids don’t even notice when we don’t include meat in our meals for several days in a row. Consider a fancy grilled cheese, refried bean quesadillas, a Mexican quinoa salad, and so much more!
  9. Make a Plan. A meal plan can make or break your budget. If you are running to the store several times a week without any idea of what you are going to make, it is easy to spend too much on other impulse purchases. Sit down once a week and write out a plan to include the three basic meals of the day, plus snacks. Don’t forget to consider on-the-go items such as granola bars that you might need to bake, or organic juice boxes you have a coupon for.
  10. Bake Your Own. We all need a good carb fix now and then. Rather than pay crazy baked-good prices, find a used bread machine for a steal, and make your own. It is so easy these days to get the dough ready, pop it in the machine, and just wait while your house fills up with the intoxicating aroma of baking bread. AllRecipes.com has tons of wonderful bread machine recipes that will impress your friends and family. Likewise, bake your own organic treats (think loaded muffins, energy balls, and granola bars) using organic flour, cocoa, oatmeal, etc. that you find for cheap using my tips above!

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