Do you think that organic foods are too expensive to fit into your budget? Here are some of my best tips on how to shop organic on a budget!
How to Shop Organic on a Budget
I’m often asked how many natural and organic products we eat since we stick to such a frugal monthly shopping budget. 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 have been slowly switching over to organic/natural. Yes, it’s more expensive. No, it’s not a lot more expensive when you really dig into it. 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.
Organics on a Budget
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 $500-$600 a month for a family of 5. 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.
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 your 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 ~
- Maple Syrup or Honey (for sugar)
- Non-hormone dairy
- Only natural meats(chicken and beef)
- Organic flours
- Homemade Lotion
- Shampoo and Homemade Conditioner
- All organic/natural or local produce
- Dishsoaps and laundry detergent
- Unrefined Sea Salt (pink salt)
In the process ~
- More cultured/fermented products (homemade!)
- 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.
How to Buy Organic on a Budget
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!
If the hardest part of the switch for you is the Health and Beauty Products. I highly recommend you check out my book, Little House Living: The Make Your Own Guide to a Frugal, Simple, and Self-Sufficient Life. The recipes are all so easy!
Coupons for Organics
Something else to think about is where you buy your products. Now a lot of grocery stores are starting to have store-brand organic products. Some of these even have organic coupons. 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.
Need even more ideas? Here are 23 Ways to Save Money on Healthy Foods!
What about you, have you “gone organic”? Do you have any more tips for other readers looking to make the switch-over and organic living on a budget?
This article on How to Shop Organic on a Budget was originally posted on Little House Living in September 2012. It has been updated as of September 2019.