I am impressed how many readers are committed to eating organic and natural foods! Dozens of readers (there were 64 comments) shared their strategies to save, including many who grow edible gardens as part of a contest to win the eBook “Real Food on a Real Budget.” The majority struggle with the cost of organic food, which is certainly a big reason why I have not fully embraced organic.
EllieD and Jana had a thoughtful conversation, spurred in part by a plea for help by Shane. A snippet of their exchange:
@EllieD, I think we do agree on a lot! I like the Whole Foods in-store organic brand, it is dollars cheaper than other brands. The only problem I have is with canned goods. Most, if not all–except for Eden Organic brand–canned goods are contaminated with BPA. This is cause for concern. This is why I don’t often buy canned tomatoes at all, since Eden brand is quite expensive. I guess the best way is to can your own, in glass jars.
As far as fat content, what you want are the healthy fats, such as butter, pastured animal fats, and coconut oil. Our health has improved so much since beginning to include these fats in our diet (years ago now) on a regular basis, although my family has always used real butter. I make sure we eat only organic, cultured butter, since I have heard that pesticides are very concentrated in non-organic, non-pastured butter. Some people say, if you do nothing else organic, at least do organic butter.
Sodium I don’t worry about anymore since we don’t eat much packaged food, and at home we use only Celtic grey sea salt, which is very nourishing and extremely good for you.
Julie said dehydrating produce bought at in-season prices saves them big time:
We spend approximately $250 each month, for two adults. We really try to eat organic as much as possible (Cancer Treatment Center recommended this & we’ve tried to hold to it!). We shop at Kings Soopers, Vitamin Cottage/Naturdehydral Grocers, Wal Mart and the farmer’s vegetable stands. This year we are buying at the family farm produce stands and dehydrating the veggies & then vacuum sealing them…really hoping this helps cut the budget!
AdventureGirl shared tips to extend the life of items that often spoil:
I spend approx $300/month for one person. Shopping at farmer’s markets is one of the best places to find organic, grass-fed, and local foods. And usually you can talk to the farmer and get all the details. If you’re really on a budget, try shopping at the end of the farmer’s market-usually farmers will make deals so they have less to take home.
To help your budget, you can learn to preserve foods as well-you can extend the life of milk by turning it into kefir; you can culture (lacto-ferment) fresh veggies (sauerkraut etc.) and fruits, make creme fraiche, etc. Once you start doing these things, they are easy and cheap ways not to waste.
And, although real food may cost more ($10 for a half gallon of raw milk, higher priced organic produce, $7/lb grass-fed beef, $5 for a dozen pastured eggs, etc) it is absolutely worth it. You will feel so much better, stronger, and healthier eating these foods. I haven’t been sick for over a year and have almost no headaches.
And budget-wise when you’re healthier, you spend ALOT less on health care, both now and in the long run.
The winner is a reader who is conscious of her over-spending and eager to learn better habits. Reader Just Me wrote:
We have in our budget $800 for food each month. That includes the eating out (on the go a lot), school lunches and groceries. My husband and I talk all the time about wanting to eat more organic foods but when we visit our local farmer’s markets we leave having spent half our budget for the week but only have very few items. It was pretty discouraging. I have a family of five just like Stephanie so this article was extremely encouraging for me!! I would love to get her book and have it as a guide to help us acheive our goal of being more organic without breaking our budget. Matter of fact, it sounds like we’d come in way UNDER budget. I definitely have some things to learn. 🙂 Thanks Bargain Babe!
Congrats on your prize! Email me to claim your book. A runner up will be notified if you do not respond within 48 hours. If you didn’t win, “Real Food on a Real Budget” is currently on sale for $19 (orig. $25).