13 Ways to Save Money on Real Food and Eat Organic
As a Dietitian I hear it over and over again… “It’s to expensive to eat healthy!” Seriously people it is not! It is expensive to not eat real food! It irks me that frozen pizzas are $10, a box of Rice 0 Roni is $1 something and people complain that healthy real food is too expensive when you can get fresh ingredients to make things from scratch for way cheaper! It is more about nourishing your body with simple ingredients that will satisfy you and make you feel great rather than sluggish and tired.
13 Ways to Save Money on Real & Organic Food
1. Create a realistic budget and stick with it!
I tend to be the irrational one in our family. I dream of this super tiny food budget that is completely unrealistic. Our grocery budget is $400 a month which includes toiletries and a date night. This is also before I started gardening so hopefully this summer we will see our food budget decrease a lot. We also use all cash so once the money is out we are out of luck.
2. Organize a Food Run:
You’re probably thinking what the heck is a food run? There is probably a better/different name for this. Basically one person organizes a weekly or biweekly pickup of different items needed for the best product and cost available. We do this two ways. First my hubby picks up raw milk weekly for ourselves and 2 other families. Secondly, our friend drives to a larger city every other week to pick up organic grass fed meat directly from the farm, for us and probably 10 others, that is really inexpensive. We can get ground beef for $3.49 per lb and #3.69 per lb for chuck roast. That is half the price as our Neighborhood Co-op! Not only does this save us money, but it also is eco-frienly since he is making one trip rather than 10 people making 10 trips.
3. Shop local:
Head to the local farmers market. Not only is it fun, but it is also economical and you can get great deals especially when you start establishing relationships with the farmers.
4. Stock up when things are on sale and buy in bulk:
Buying a whole or half cow or any animal will save you tons of money! Too much meat for you? Get a bunch of people to go in with you. Purchase other grains in bulk. No place for a large bag of rice? Our local co-op has bulk bins which give you great bulk prices but you can purchase as much or as little as you need.
5. Grow your own food:
Growing your own food is one of the most frugal and healthful things you can do! Especially when you start your food from seeds. This year we planted carrots, tomatoes, peppers, watermelon, squash, cucumbers, lettuce, kale, and beans. I’m praying things grow well and I don’t kill everything. We also have strawberries, apples, figs, and blueberries and will be adding a peach tree and raspberry bushes. We don’t live on 5 acres or even one, but 0.17 of an acre. It’s all about planning. Check out this post where I share some great resources.
6. Learn to preserve the food:
When you grow lots of food you should preserve it so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor all year. Can, freeze, dry, and prepare meals in bulk ahead of time. You can also preserve food you get at rock bottom prices.
7. Make your own food:
Pinterest is a wonderful thing especially when it comes to food. Search for healthified recipes for your favorite meals or snack foods and create them yourself.
8. Be meat conscience:
Instead of serving a chicken breast with veggies, pasta, and bread, stretch your meat by shredding it. We make a whole chicken and least two times per month and eat on that one chicken for the whole week, plus we make broth from the bones.
9. Meal prep ahead of time:
Make a weeks or months worth of meals in an afternoon. You can prepare them in advance and freeze them or just prep some healthy ingredients you need for the week. If anyone is like me then wanting to cook only happens about 1-2 times per week. So I will make 2 large meals that will be great for leftovers or make basic foods that can be used in other dishes.
10. Know what you already have in the pantry:
I’m horribly guilty of this. We go to the store and I’ll say “hubs we need this. Wait do we already have that? I don’t remember I’ll just grab another.” Bad Amy bad! This is how you spend more money then you have to.
11. Just because it is organic doesn’t mean it’s healthy!
I feel like I should repeat that. Just because it’s organic or says all natural doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Processed foods, snacks, drinks (juice, soda, water), and other extra types of things can break the bank and are really not healthy. The easiest way to save money is to not buy these! Very rarely will we ever buy these extra things.
12. Creating a weekly or biweekly meal plan based on what’s in season:
When foods are in season they are much less expensive, so try to plan meals based on the foods you can get locally and in season. Live Simply shares her weekly menu on her blog.
13. Raise backyard animals:
This idea is not for everyone, but is a great way to save money and possibly even make money. We have 10 chickens on our tiny land and get at least 5 eggs per day. Which is too many for us to eat daily so we sell some of the extras. We have Buff Orpintons, which are a heritage breed, so after they stop laying we can also eat them (still undecided on this one). They also act as our compost bin and give us great fertile soil to add to the garden.
There you have it: 13 ways you can save money while eating real organic food! You have any more tips? I would love to hear them!
Some great tips … we’ve been planting vegetables in a big way for the first time this year plus raspberries, gooseberries and blackcurrants as these are sooo expensive to buy even in season, Alice
Thanks Alice. Wow sounds like you are going to get lots of healthy foods! Good luck and let me know how it turns out!
I wish I could find tips that would help me get our budget to under $600/mo. I don’t know anyone else that is interested in organic food. And my local grocery really doesn’t carry any. I’ve mentioned it to them but they said it’s not cost effective. We have a WalMart & an Aldi that sell organic produce and groceries (spices, cheese, etc) but those are 20 mins from me, so I try to keep visits to twice a month due to the distance. I haven’t been able to find organic eggs, milk or meat in my area at all – just Honey. And we don’t have local co-ops or farmer’s markets at all. Well, that’s not true, we have a “farmer’s market” for 3 hours a week, 3 months a year, but none of the farmers are local (they all drive up from Georgia) and NONE of them are Organic. And while I would love to raise my own chickens & bees, it’s not allowed here. I have started to garden, but I’ve had some really poor experiences so far, so this year we’re trying container gardening. I wish this area was a little more organic friendly, but so far, I’m just known as the “crazy hippie lady.” But to be fair, $600/mo IS a cut from what we used to spend… As I get better at planning, and cooking, (hopefully) I can cut it some more…
Great tips, Amy!
Please give me an example of these meals u can cook and freeze to make life easier!!!
Thanks for sharing this. I have reposted for my clinic patients to use this information.
Wholistic healthcare for the glory of God! Col. 3:23
Thanks but how do you get beef so inexpensive….I really want some and can’t afford the grocery store prices.
Please give me more details.
Going right to the farmer can help save money or buying in bulk. There is a local farmer here that sells grass fed beef for not much more than conventional.
Thanks Ill look into it.