Are you looking for ways to eat organic on a budget? You’re not alone. According to a study by Better Health Victoria, Consumer demand for organic food is growing at a rate of 20–30% per year. It is estimated that more than six out of every ten Australian households now buy organic foods on occasion. But eating organic doesn’t have to break the bank. Check out these 10 tips for eating organic on a budget.
As a SAHM, running a household on a tight, single-income budget but wanting to feed my family the best quality food I possibly can, I have learned a few tricks for getting my dollar to stretch further while still eating organic wherever possible.
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1. Never buy organic at the supermarket
To the big supermarkets, organic is a promotional buzzword and that means high costs, packaging sizes are also often very small for a lot of money. Organic food has become a popular option for health- and environmentally conscious consumers. However, organic products can be more expensive than their conventional counterparts, making it difficult to eat and shop organic on a budget.
- Organic produce is often more expensive at the supermarket
- You can buy organic produce at a lower price if you shop at local farmers’ markets
- Farmers’ markets have a variety of fresh produce to choose from
- You can also buy local meat, eggs, and dairy products at a farmers’ market
- Farmers’ markets are a great way to meet your neighbors and support your community
One way to save money by buying organic on a budget is to never buy it at the supermarket. Supermarkets mark up organic items by as much as 100%, meaning that you’re paying twice as much as you need to. Instead, seek out local farmers’ markets or grow your own food. Farmers’ markets typically sell products for lower prices than supermarkets, and you’ll be supporting local farmers in the process.
2. Eat with the season
Organic produce is only available in season and is cheapest when peaking at its best. To save money, eat with the season and enjoy organic on a budget and are at their tastiest and most nutritious. One easy way to do this is to buy a subscription to local community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm, which will deliver fresh, seasonal produce to your door.
Another option is to visit your local farmers’ market, where you can buy directly from growers. When shopping for organic groceries, look for sales and special deals. With a little effort, it’s possible to eat organic on a budget.
3. Find your local weigh and pay
Organic food is often viewed as being expensive and out of reach for many people on a budget. However, there are actually a number of easy ways to shop and eat organic on a budget. One of the best ways to do this is to find your local weigh and pay.
These are public weigh stations where you can buy organic produce at a fraction of the price you would pay at a supermarket. The produce is often sold in bulk, so it’s perfect for families or those who want to make large batch cooking. Another great way to save money on organic food is to grow your own.
You don’t need a lot of space to do this – even a small patio or balcony can provide enough room for a few potted plants. And finally, don’t be afraid to shop around. There are now many affordable options for organic food, so take your time and compare prices before you buy.
You know the store with all the clear plastic bins, and giant metal scoops, with foods in bulk and you can purchase anything from 10g to 10kg! These places are your friend! A massive variety, lots of organics in the better ones and it’s always cheaper than buying it in packets elsewhere.
4. Join your local food co-op
COOPs are a great way to save money, know where your food is coming from, eat better, fresher, healthier food, and make some new friends in the process. My local co-op has an amazing range of fresh fruit and veg, meat, pantry staples, eggs, and even toiletries, giving me access to fabulous organics, true free-range chicken and eggs, grass-fed meat, and eco-friendly, chemical-free personal care all at great co-op prices.
Food co-ops are community-owned grocery stores that sell organic and natural foods at a discount. They also offer bulk discounts on items like grains, beans, and nuts. In addition, many food co-ops have programs that allow members to trade in their unused produce for store credit. As a result, joining a food co-op is an easy way to shop and eat organic on a budget.
Finally, don’t forget to take advantage of sales and coupons. Many grocery stores offer discounts on organic products, so it’s always worth checking the weekly flyers. By following these tips, you can easily eat and shop organic on a budget.
5. Find your local farmers’ market
I’m not talking about the big indoor markets with all the trinkets and $1 shops, I’m talking about the open air, school oval, or paddock-style markets where farmers have reversed up their trucks and are selling produce they harvested yesterday! These guys don’t charge crazy premiums and you are supporting local families in the process.
Farmers’ markets typically offer a wide variety of seasonal produce at affordable prices. In addition, many farmers’ markets now accept food stamps, making them even more accessible to low-income families.
Furthermore, some farmers’ markets offer programs that allow customers to purchase shares in advance and then receive a portion of the market’s crops each week. This can be a great way to get fresh, local produce at a fraction of the cost. So, next time you’re looking to eat organic on a budget, be sure to check out your local farmers’ market.
6. Buy good meat in bulk
Meat is one of the biggest food expenses in a household, especially if you have a hoard of hungry children! Animals in production farms are treated poorly, pumped full of antibiotics, and not fed well and all of this ends up affecting the final product.
Grass-fed, pasture-raised meat is the way to go for the animal’s health and for ours. Through a co-op or local farmer, you can source half or whole animals or cartons of 10-20kg, all different cuts, and freeze them into meal-size portions.
Organic meat can be expensive, but there are a few ways that you can save money and still get high-quality organic meats. One way is to buy good meat in bulk. Select a cut of meat that you know you and your family will enjoy and purchase a larger amount than you normally would.
This will help to stretch your budget and allow you to enjoy organic meat more often. Another way to save money is to be selective about the types of meat you purchase. Choose cuts that are less expensive, such as chicken thighs or pork shoulder, instead of more expensive cuts, such as filet mignon or ribeye steak. By being mindful of your budget and choosing wisely, you can still enjoy delicious organic on a budget.
7. Know your priorities
Some fruits and vegetables are best eaten organic due to the number of pesticides used or genetic modification, but some are safe to eat conventionally so there is no need to pay a premium price.
Dirty should be eaten organic where possible.
|Nectarine||Grapes||Berries of all kinds|
Corn is nearly always genetically modified if conventional produce!!
Clean organic is not worth the extra money!
8. A home garden
Another way to eat and shop organic on a budget is to grow your own food. Organic gardening is becoming increasingly popular, and it’s easier than you might think. Even if you don’t have a lot of space, you can grow herbs and vegetables in pots on your balcony or porch. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also know exactly what’s going into your food.
Using even a small space wisely at home can save you a lot of money over the course of a year. Try to grow more expensive things that you use a lot of and be prepared to preserve your harvest, through blanching, pickling, drying, or bottling.
For example, our family eats a lot of broccoli and cauliflower, these are easily grown, don’t attract many bugs and the harvest is easily blanched and frozen for later use. A herb garden is great too as herbs are expensive and often get wasted.
9. Backyard chicken coop
We go through at least a carton of eggs a week, sometimes more. Good eggs that are not full of hormones, antibiotics, or coming from caged, poorly treated chickens are expensive. We have worked out we are saving at least $350 a year just on eggs and our chickens just eat all our scraps.
Building a backyard chicken coop is a great way to get started. Chicken coops can be built relatively cheaply, and chickens are easy to care for. In addition, chickens provide fresh eggs that are free of pesticides and other harmful chemicals.
10. Keep your produce fresh with proper storage
If you’re looking to eat and shop organic on a budget, one of the best things you can do is invest in proper storage for your produce. By keeping your fruits and vegetables fresh, you’ll be able to avoid food waste and save money in the long run. Here are a few easy tips for proper produce storage:
- Store most fruits and vegetables in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. This will help to keep them fresh for longer.
- If you have delicate fruits or vegetables like berries or leafy greens, store them in airtight containers. This will prevent them from drying out or getting squished.
- Use older produce first and try to rotate your stock so that nothing goes bad before you have a chance to eat it.
By following these simple tips, you can make sure that your produce stays fresh – and get to eat organic on a budget!
Does your family try to eat organic? Do you have any more tips for saving money?