I'm often asked how much natural and organic products we eat. As a former couponer, I know that coupons don't come out very often for organic products and when they do they are mostly for what I call, organic junk food. Over the last several years we are slowly switching over to organic/natural. Yes, it's more expensive. No, it's not alot more expensive. The key is being selective in what you are buying and then finding the lowest price on that item, whether that means buying it in bulk or finding different sources for different products.
When you first set out to go organic you might be overwhelmed by the prices and the food differences. At first I thought there was no way we could do it without our budget taking a serious blow. Turns out I can still buy all my groceries and health and beauty products for the month for around $200. Does that sound impossible? It's not, but it does take extra work.
The other day I mentioned to a friend that when I do something, I don't do it halfway. But that doesn't mean we switched things over all at once and it doesn't mean that we even switched a particular food all over to organic all at once. But it does mean that I made a commitment to do this and I'm sticking with it.
On a side note: yes we still use coupons occasionally. Using coupons and getting stuff for free is my way of giving back the best way I can. I still love coupon shopping and I know there is many people out there that can use the products so I'm more than happy to shop to donate or for friends and family. As far as our food shopping goes though, I rarely use coupons for my own personal groceries.
Something that might help on your switchover is to make a list. (Oh, you know I love a good list!) Start with a list of the things that you have already switched to or are happy with in you diet and lifestyle and then make a second list of each of the things that you want to switch over and if you get really excited, you could make the list in order of what you want to switch over first. My sample list might look like this:
Already switched ~
Turbindo/Sucant Sugar instead of white sugar
Non-hormone dairy(yep, all of it)
Only natural meats(chicken and beef)
Shampoo and Homemade Conditioner
All organic or local produce
Dishsoaps and laundry detergent
In the process ~
Real Salt (instead of sea salt) (Real Salt is unrefined sea salt and contains all the original minerals that are in "raw" salt.)
More cultured products
Organic gardening products
Need to change ~
That's not a full list, but you get the idea. We are really doing pretty good on the food part and now I need to start working on the health and beauty products to switchover. (If you want to you can take a look inside my pantry and inside my fridge!)
When you think of going natural/organic you should try and think in terms of cooking from scratch instead of buying organic food off the shelf. Occasionally you can find a good deal on organic "processed" foods with coupons and at discount stores but if you are really wanting to save as much money as you can while making the switchover, you will have to mostly cook from scratch. Instead of thinking that you will now have to pay $3 a box for organic crackers instead of $0.50 - $1 a box for crackers that you can get with the coupon, think about making crackers from scratch and paying only $0.25 - $0.50 a batch. Not only are you saving even more than you would with coupons, that's saving more than 75% off the cost of the organic product! Of course meal planning helps also!
For me, the hardest part is the health and beauty switchover. I can't, or don't yet know how, to make those products from scratch, and that's why they are still on my to-do list. But it will all come in time, I just have to give it time.
Something else to think about is where you buy your products. Now alot of grocery stores are starting to have store brand organic products. Some of these even have organic coupons like the Nash Finch brand organic line, Nash Brothers. Also, check around for a local co-op. I absolutely love mine. (Azure Standard) But I don't buy everything from there, I also check out the local discount store and when I go on vacation I'm always on the lookout to snag a bargain on products that we will use. For example on our most recent vacation I got to check out a discount grocery store and they had my organic shampoo brand that I love for half the price I normally pay, and in a larger bottle. You better believe I stocked up!
Don't forget though that no one is perfect!
What about you, have you "gone organic"? Do you have any more tips for other readers looking to make the switch-over?
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