Do you want to feed your family safer, more organic foods? Are you concerned about how to afford to live an organic lifestyle on a budget?
Living organically can be very expensive. Organic food, for example is usually much more expensive than regular food. But it doesn’t have to be.
Surprisingly, there are hidden tricks you can use to live organically – even when money is tight. Here’s how.
How to Live an Organic Lifestyle on a Budget
Living an organic lifestyle isn’t just about the food you eat. There are toxins everywhere in modern society. However, there are ways to live organically no matter what your budget.
Personally, I’ve been feeding my four kids and myself a largely organic diet for several years now. And our average grocery bill is typically between $450 and $600 per month.
Here are some of the tricks and tips I use to ensure my family lives an organic lifestyle on a budget.
1. Buy Organic Foods on Sale
Organic foods at the grocery store can be costly. Often, they’re nearly double the price or more of non-organic foods.
As an example, non-organic strawberries are usually between $1.19 and $1.99 for a 16-ounce package at my local Aldi. A 16-ounce container of organic strawberries typically runs at $2.99.
For that reason, my family and I almost always buy organic foods when they’re on sale. We find lower prices three ways:
- Buy organic during store sales
- Look for generic or off brand organic foods
- Buy from discount stores or warehouse clubs
For instance, Aldi stores typically have lower prices on organic (and non-organic) veggies and fruits than most other stores.
In addition, they have a selection of organic foods on sale every week. As such, we always stop at Aldi first when buying organic.
Discount stores like Aldi – and even big box stores – often have off-brand organic items as well. So do warehouse clubs.
As an example, remember the organic strawberries for $2.99 I talked about earlier? That same size container runs between $3.99 and $5.99 at other grocery stores–including Walmart.
You can get generic brand organic olive oil, canned beans and more for about a third off their name brand counterparts at Aldi too. This means a 30% savings on your organic grocery bill.
Check Your Warehouse Clubs
Warehouse clubs such as Costco and Sam’s Club also have great deals on organic foods. You can get organic vegetables, fruits and dairy products from your local warehouse club store.
For instance, organic butter at our local Walmart costs $5.98 a pound. Organic butter at our local Costco costs $4.49 a pound. That’s a 25% savings.
Note that you do have to buy the Costco butter in a two-pound pack. But you’ll likely use both packs anyway.
Combine lower organic prices with lower prices on other items, and the money you save can almost always offset the annual membership fee.
You could split your membership with a family member or friend too to save even more.
2. Buy from Farmer’s Markets
When you are buying organic food from the supermarket, organic prices can cost more. You may spending a lot of money for grocery store foods thanks to the overhead costs of operating a storefront.
One place that you can buy organic food for less is at your local farmer’s market. The food is very fresh and tasteful. This is because they are newly picked instead of remaining in a grocery store for hours or days.
Farmer’s markets are very common in most areas these days. They typically run throughout the summer and into the fall.
Be sure to ask farmers market vendors if their products are organic. Most, but not all, vendors have them labeled if they are.
Google “farmers markets” and your city to find market days and hours near you.
Don’t Forget Organic Meat Purchases
Organic meat purchases can be expensive at grocery stores. However, farmers markets often offer organic meats for sale too.
We buy grass fed organic chicken at our local farmers market. Another idea is to buy directly from local farmers.
In our area, there’s an organic grass fed beef farmer that sells his beef for just $5 a pound. He doesn’t use any antibiotics or hormones. And he doesn’t use pesticides on his grass fields.
That’s much cheaper than what local markets sell organic grass fed beef for. In our area, organic grass feed beef sells for $9 a pound on sale.
Contact local farmers near you for a cheaper organic meat selection.
3. Grow Your Own Food
Even better than buying from farmers is growing the food yourself. You can create an organic garden in your own yard. There will be a few steps that you will have to follow before your garden will thrive.
You’ll need to prepare the soil and remove any synthetic chemicals that remain. Afterwards, maintaining the soil is required. Compost can be a good source of nutrients for your plants.
Choosing the right plants is important. The key is choosing plants that will thrive in the environment where you live and will react well to the elements and temperature.
If you’re new to gardening, read a book such as the Ultimate Encyclopedia to Organic Gardening. This will help your garden to thrive without pesticides.
Tip: Choose veggies and fruits you and your family love to eat.
It’s easy to get carried away when starting a garden.
You may find yourself wanting a king size garden to share with family and friends. While that’s a wonderful idea, be sure you’re not planting foods that will go to waste. Plant veggies your family members will like and eat.
Don’t have a yard? Plant with a friend who does, or consider using large pots to plant your favorite veggies and herbs in. Place them outside on your deck or patio.
Focus on the vegetables your family eats the most for maximum profit and minimum waste.
4. Store Your Home Grown Food
Going organic often means a trip to the store every other day. Because of the lack of pesticides, produce does go bad faster.
In order to solve this problem, try learning how to store your home grown food. You can minimize waste by storing fresh fruits and veggies properly.
Freezing and Canning Home Grown Foods
Peel and chop fruits and vegetables and freeze them in freezer bags. A FoodSaver vacuum system is a fabulous tool for this.
The FoodSaver vacuum system will get excess air out of your storage bags, helping to maximize freezer life and avoid freezer burn on your veggies.
Canning is another popular food storage method. Believe it or not, canning isn’t as difficult as it might seem if you have the proper know-how.
I started canning foods such as pickles and jams about ten years ago. If you learn to do so, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor, so to speak, all year around.
Your main goal when canning your garden bounty should be safety. Improperly canned foods can result in botulism.
Botulism is a dangerous illness that can be caused by bacteria in incorrectly canned foods. Fortunately, the right resources can help you can safely.
I’ve used the book mentioned below to can foods for over a decade. And I’ve never had a safety issue yet.
This Ball Complete Book to Home Preserving is a great guide if you’re new to canning. It will show you ways to turn your home grown veggies and fruits into every day foods.
For instance, most fruits and berries can also be frozen or turned into jams. Look into pickling for your cucumbers, asparagus, garlic and onions.
Take your tomatoes and turn them into salsa or spaghetti sauce. There are tons of options out there!
Bonus: Properly canned foods last for several years, and they taste much better than store canned foods.
5. Make Your Own Cleaning Products
There are easy ways that you can combine natural ingredients to make cleaning products. Baking soda, vinegar, soap, lemon and cornstarch are some popular ingredients that can be used for household cleaning.
For instance, we use a homemade window cleaner at our house that consists of:
- 25 percent white distilled vinegar
- 25 percent rubbing alcohol
- 50 percent water
This homemade cleaner gets our windows sparkling clean. Bonus: it’s much better for the environment – both in the home and outside in your yard.
Organic essential oils such as lemon oil and lavender oil are great air fresheners. Use them in a diffuser to help your home smell clean and fresh.
Note: some essential oils are toxic to pets such as cats and dogs. If you’re a pet owner, do your research before using essential oils in a diffuser.
Baking Soda for Scrubbing Up
Instead of using scrubbing chemical cleaners for your home, try using baking soda. The abrasive nature of baking soda is great for scrubbing bathtubs and more.
However, it won’t emit harmful fumes or contain harmful chemicals.
Using homemade cleaning products are much better for everyone in the long run. You can save money by not purchasing the expensive chemical cleaners from the store.
What’s better, your health will not be negatively affected by toxins and by-products. Natural cleaning products are especially popular among parents who have small children at home.
However, everyone can benefit from using non-toxic cleaners.
6. Reduce Your Exposure to Radiation
In today’s modern world, wifi, cell phones and electronic gadgets expose us to much more radiation than we faced years ago.
The constant exposure to radiation has been shown to produce health issues in kids and adults alike.
There are several things you can do to live in cleaner air and reduce radiation exposure.
- Turn your wifi router off when not in use, like at night when you sleep or during the day when you’re at work
- Limit cell phone and other electronic gadget use and exposure, especially with children
- Don’t carry your cell phone on your body
- Trade your microwave oven in for a steam convection oven
- Use wired landline phones whenever possible instead of cell phones or cordless phones
- Use a wired headphone when talking on your cell phone
- Limit wireless items in your home. Have wired baby monitors and alarm systems instead
- Use grounding to combat the effects of radiation exposure. Walk barefoot in natural settings on dirt and grass, letting your feet absorb the healthy minerals from the ground
7. Buy Organic Clothes and Household Items When You Can
Certain companies sell clothing, sheets and household items made with organic cotton and other ingredients. However, these items can be expensive.
Consider buying them when they get to clearance prices. Or, find used organic brand names at thrift stores, garage sales or online sites.
Stores like EcoChoices and the Ultimate Green Store have sale/clearance tabs on their websites so you can get cheaper prices.
Organic clothing is expensive. If your budget doesn’t allow for a larger clothing budget, there are still things you can do to minimize toxin exposure.
For instance, you can use organic or all natural detergents when you wash your clothes. At the very least, use smaller amounts of your favorite non-organic detergents.
We still use our favorite non-organic detergent, however, we use about one sixth of what the directions call for. And we’ve stopped using dryer sheets altogether.
Our clothes don’t have a perfume-y smell anymore, but we are exposing our bodies to less chemicals, so it’s worth the “sacrifice”.
Living naturally is a great goal to have. You will be healthier and happier for doing so. What’s better, it doesn’t have to be a burden on your wallet to switch your lifestyle.
There are many different ways that you could choose to change how you go about life. Eating organically is a big part of living naturally. You could either buy your food from farmer’s markets or grow your own.
This will save you money and you will be able to know exactly what goes into your food.
Making your own cleaning products can be a great change in your life. You and your family can reduce exposure to dangerous chemicals. And they clean just as well as any synthetic products.
What do you do to live an organic lifestyle on a budget?