Grocery savings buying organic seems like an oxymoron, right?
I’ll tell you right now-you will still spend more than if you are buying pesticide riddled, GMO, fake food. But, there is a way to do it within a budget!
Let’s first talk about why organic is important. I’m sure most of you already know the blessing of organic since you’re reading this-but let’s go over the basics.
- Pesticides lead to diseases, ADHD, mental illness, growth defects
- GMO foods change your body chemistry and hormones
- Dyes and food coloring can change temperaments, cause bi-polar and schizophrenia
- Chemicals are not okay to add to our foods and consume. Many of the things we consume are too toxic to be put on our bodies much less in our mouths and digestive system. Read this Purdue University Research!
Grocery Savings When you Only Buy Organic
Meal Planning is going to be your best friend.
I’m not going to lie, it’s been very difficult for me to do the whole meal planning thing. But you can’t save money when you buy random things every week. I started out planning each week and then moving to two weeks and now 4 weeks at a time. I would prefer to do a major shopping trip once a month, freeze most of my purchases, and run in the store every so often if I need fresh veggies or forgot something.
Again, I had a hard time figuring this all out. I don’t know why it was such a road block for me but I came up with a list of 100 foods that we really liked and were relatively inexpensive and easy for me to make. Cuz’ we all know that Jacynda does not belong in the kitchen! I have a simple Excel spreadsheet that I write all the recipes on that I want to do for the month and list the ingredien
ts that are not currently in my pantry. I rarely ever follow the list perfectly but I have all the ingredients and a “fool proof” plan to go with.
Use the Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen Principle
It’s easy to go overboard on organic everything but when you’re budgeting, there are
some sacrifices you have to pay. Do you need organic nuts? Maybe not. I suggest you get organic canned tomatoes if you don’t buy fresh and can them yourself. This list was created and maintained by EWG (Environmental Working Group) and you can find more about them here!
How do you Follow the Deadly 12 and Clean 15?
The Dirty Dozen are the fruits and veggies that contain the most pesticides and are more liable to contaminate you and your family. Why is that? Most of these foods have soft skins and the pesticides/chemicals soak into the entire fruit rather than just sitting on the outer layer and keeping bugs away. Strawberries are some of the most pesticide contaminated foods. Just think of soft foods and always buy organic with those items. (Dare I add, those of you with super tight budgets, attempt to avoid these foods altogether until you are able to afford them organic? Extremist? Yeah, I know.)
The Clean Fifteen are foods that have a harder outer layer and don’t allow pesticides to soak into the food. These foods may also not need as many pesticides due to the bugs and plights that bother them. Avocados, pineapple, and onions are examples of Clean Fifteen foods that you don’t have to buy organic.
So how does this work within a budget?
Well, you first determine your budget, and then look at the prices of those fruits and veggies you need. Like I mentioned before, if you have a tight budget, avoid strawberries-especially when they aren’t in season! Buy organic frozen strawberries instead. If you can afford to buy everything organic, then do it! Organic is always better. It just may not always fit into the budget.
How do you keep track of the right veggies to buy? It can be quite confusing and it is going to be more time-consuming. Sorry, doing a budget and getting out of debt or reaching your financial goals is going to be time-consuming. I highly suggest you download the Dirty Dozen app that EWG created. They keep the list updated and it’s easy to bring up while you’re in the grocery store (if you’re like me and usually forget to look that up when you are meal planning.)
Buy frozen foods instead of fresh
Fresh is always better; yes, I know. But fresh is always more expensive too!
The hubby and I drink smoothies for breakfast every weekday. We go to Costco and buy frozen fruit in bulk, package them when we get home and are set for the month. We can get 20-30 shakes out of 3 bags of fruit. These are 3lb-5lb bags, mind you, so they last a long time! But getting 20-30 meals spending around $20? Yes, please!
Make slow cooker meals out of frozen items. I have had a great time finding slow cooker meals and freezing it all! I love that I can do a ton of prep and not worry about putting it all together on the day of that meal. It’s making my life so much easier!
I haven’t had good luck with coupons. If you are an amazing couponer-please share your secrets! There aren’t many coupons for organic foods. I also tend to forget to use my coupons- o
n’t know why but it’s a serious problem for me. They also make my wallet bulky or clog up my purse. The only thing I have found to work is an app called Ibotta.
Ibotta has coupons for name brand items-most of which I never buy, but it also has coupons for generic foods. Not generic brands, but bananas, bread, milk, and such. You can buy any brand you want and you will still qualify for the discount. So, buy your organic bananas and receive cash back! This doesn’t give you a discount at checkout. It adds up your savings and gives you cash or gift cards
Discuss the Budget with your Spouse
Groceries are the thing my husband and I argue about the most. Ridiculous, right? We fight about groceries! Here’s why: he is more concerned about buying organic than saving money. I am more concerned about saving money than buying organic. We have compromised in many areas and I have threatened to leave all the shopping, prepping, and cooking to him if he complains anymore but I think that’s an empty threat at this point.
If your spouse doesn’t care what he eats as long as it’s food and it’s good…I’m so jealous. That will be an easier adjustment for you with meal planning and all these decisions!
If your spouse is very conscious of what goes into his body, good luck to you! Sit and discuss what your expectations for the budget should be and how you can work around his preferences. You will both have to give up certain areas, but that’s what budgeting is all about!
If Nothing Else
Be mindful of what you’re eating, of what you’re buying, and how much you spend. This is so important health and finances. Maybe your grocery budget will always be too high and you just can’t control it, that’s okay. Give yourself some grace and see if you can tighten the budget in other areas. Either way, I highly encourage you to be mindful of what you are eating and how that will affect your health and your finances.
Please share some of your secrets to grocery savings when buying organic!