So you want to eat organic food, but barely have enough money to cover the processed junk you already purchase?

I was in the exact same situation, I was buying any type of food that I could afford regardless of the long term cost to my health. I would like to share how I have changed that and began an organic diet with my lovely girlfriend.

Years ago, I would have eaten literally anything, as long as I felt justified in what I paid for it. Any dollar menu special, Ramen Noodles, instant dinners, anything that was as cheap as possible so that I would not have to pour large amounts of money into my food. I look back on this now and feel foolish, I obviously was not aware of the difference between processed and organic foods.

I have always been inclined towards nature, and coming from a rural community, I was always intrigued by growing my own food. I was never well-read in agriculture, but I remember always seeing vast amounts of chemicals being used on the plants. Even in small rural communities, true organic farming is still too inconvenient for some, and pesticides run rampant.

How We Eat Organic on a Budget

Oddly enough, organic foods have an aura of “I’m better” in my eyes. Since organic foods are in less supply than those which have been loaded with unnatural chemicals, the prices are usually a bit higher. So, the preconditioned thought of the masses seems to be that those of us who eat organic and limit the processed foods passing through our systems are high class. That we truly think you are lesser of a person because you eat non-organic foods….

This is absurd, if someone you know tells you about organic food it’s truly because they care about you and want to see your health improve.

I do not come from a high socioeconomic status. Until our complete switch, I had never even tried organic foods before, and no one had ever taught me about them. I was completely oblivious and have learned a tremendous amount on this topic.   

There are more convenient ways to access organic foods, either through stores that offer legitimately organic products, meeting individuals that grow and sell organic foods, or growing and eating your own organic food. As I stated, with access to this knowledge being so open across the internet and in a number of books we should strive to bring an end to this ignorance.

This is how we have successfully converted our family of four into eating all organic products without ruining our bank accounts, and without pouring all of our income into our grocery budget. I will go into some specifics of what we do and tips for saving money along the way.

It is entirely worth mentioning that when our family initially switched to an organic diet TJ and I were both not working. We did not have large amounts of money to spend on groceries, or anything else for that matter. Frankly, we still are frugal with our money though we are in a better situation.

Research Your Brand Names

I could not stress enough how important this tip is. I have met many friends that have tried to heed my word about organic foods, but did not put in the time to research which product they bought. So essentially they ended up overpaying for a product that claims to be organic, but is really just a bit more clean than their significantly cheaper counterparts.

If you have done this, it is perfectly fine. Believe me, we have all been there, and as time goes on more phony and ill-intentioned brands will appear. All we can do is research, research, research. This is the age of information and it is time that we use it to the fullest potential. We should not easily allow ourselves to be fooled.

Besides, they really make it hard for us to differentiate what exactly the product entails. The best example would be the catchy headlines. “No Fat,” “Low Carb,” or “Made with Natural products.” These tactics are evil and should really not be allowed to be considered fair advertising. We are led to believe that we are getting what we are really not, and we cannot blame ourselves, but if it persistently happens you need to start reading more information regarding this topic.

The brands that we invest in are generally found at a decent price. While others that purport to be completely organic are generally designed to look more sensationalized, rather than a simple and true organic brand, and come at a higher price. For example, we have went to certain retail stores and tried to purchase, say produce. We could attempt to buy our produce from this source, at a price that is a little scary, from a source which is unverified so I really could not confidently say this is a truly organic product

I encourage everyone to be better readers. We all have a responsibility to be informed in our decisions, because we need our bases. We do not have to act like a know-it-all, but we need to be wildly voracious readers who can make our decisions by objective means. So research what brands you plan to buy, read their biography, read into their past, read into their founders. These things are important because you should not put your money into any products which you cannot morally support.

We continue to research new organic brands and cheaper ways to purchase them. We will continue to share this information as well, because hopefully it will reach someone who cares about this and will actually put forth the effort to take my words, and research the content until they can make an informed decision regarding whether or not you should eat organic foods.

Find Stores with Rewards Programs and Deals

Research methods of buying your groceries so that you get the most out of your money. If you know that you and your family is going to eat “x” amount of cheese in a two week period, you should spring for the deal where you get that amount discounted. If the deal includes a higher amount of the product than you immediately need, you should still consider it. If it is a product which will either last for a long time, or long enough to where you are certain it would be used before the expiration if it has one, then grab it.

Now, I’m not saying purchase something that is entirely impractical simply to save a few dollars per unit. What I am trying to get across is that we like cheese. If we can get what seems like an absurd amount of bags of cheese, and that number causes what we pay to be reduced by 60% rather than regular price or even any lower discount, we are immediately springing for that deal.

We personally use Payless or Kroger for quite a bit of our shopping. They offer a great rewards program, and frequently have great deals on prices. Once you get a card, read which products are on what types of sales, and compare that to what your families needs are.

My girlfriend has a gluten allergy which naturally led us to investing in gluten-free products. I learned from her that the family that founded Kroger had a family member who had Celiac’s Disease, which causes a severe reaction to gluten. So this company has a reason for supplying actual produce that is gluten-free, because if they would have been in a store like Payless and been misled into buying something that was falsely gluten-free their loved one could have died.

If you Cannot Completely Switch to Organic, At Least do What you are Able to.

Ideally, we would all consume products that were all natural, organic, and clean of any unwanted substances. Living in the real world, however, we simply know that we often do not get what we want. When we switched to organic, by a set of unfortunate circumstances, my girlfriend and I were both out of work. We were still able to successfully convert, however, because we purchased every single thing that we could find organic.

But we do not make ourselves feel terrible for settling for nonorganic foods. What I mean by this, is if we are making BLT sandwiches and have fresh organic lettuce that is hand-picked from our garden, delicious organic and vegan bacon, organic bread, but then we have non-organic tomatoes. We absolutely still feel satisfied with the fact that most of the ingredients are organic. We at least always do everything within our reasoning to makes sure that we use at least an 80/20 ratio of organic to non-organic foods.

We would recommend using this tactic because it allows us to be a happy level of organic, but not have to stress ourselves over-paying for an organic product that is hard to obtain or expensive. It also means that we obviously attempt to skew that ratio more towards the organic side. That is great, however, we never let ourselves feel bad if leans the opposite way.

We should not fear what we once were once used to, we should simply use every day to systematically cleanse ourselves of that which previously poisoned us. Ultimately, it does not matter whether we adhere to a strict 110% conformance on some absurd fad diet program, it really should not bother us that we do not even have a goal. We should simply use our will to travel towards the path we find most fit to ourselves, but not lose touch with reality in the process.

To add a personal touch to this, I used to work at a call center. I am a serious introvert and talk a fraction of the amount I listen. While in this call center, I could not recount how many times I hear people state blatantly false facts about foods, diets, and exercise. Almost exlusively, they had just fallen into fad diets.

I am not in any way implying that I am a fitness or medical expert, but some of the statements just completely went against vast amounts of scientific research. I could argue that misinformation is the reason for this, which it really is. I would also argue that something psychologically ails these individuals that causes them to truly believe that any of this will make them a more whole person. Whether they unconsciously believe that the diet will make us happier, or losing weight will help them, or that the weight loss will help them find true love they lead themselves into these delusions that smear the self-altruistic intentions that they had for themselves.

It is a sadistic cycle that I have seen an innumerable amount of times and it pains me to see people feel this way about themselves. So take life lightly, tread closely to it but never get too attached. Never take yourself or your life too seriously, because in the process you will surely miss out.

Eating in Season

    This tip is true with all foods, but far more so with organic foods. Each crop is harvestable during a certain time, and if you purchase your vegetables during the peak time of its productive period, than there is a higher supply and generally a lower price.

This is a good way to get produce at a cheaper price, you just have to be knowledgeable on when the crops that you desire will be in harvest season. There are a plethora of articles and books on this topic. Research away and keep a notebook near so that you can scribble down what vegetables you plan on buying and when you plan to purchase them.

We enjoy jalapenos in the summer, and we could in the winter as well, but for a price. In the winter we tend to just purchase more of the leafy greens, such as kale or broccoli, which as we know are cold hardy.

This is important step in not only saving money on your organic produce, but buying food in season also supports living more in-tune with nature. The plants naturally know which conditions they should begin to sprout in. The plants are naturally provided this essential knowledge in order to know when to fruit, when to root, when to seed, it is simply the fundamentals of nature. As in most other areas of life, man constantly strives to improve the processes of nature. We strive to alter our plants to fit our production needs, we alter them to produce faster and more bountiful without regard to anything else. We use chemicals without considering what toxins this allows directly into our bodies. We simply just don’t think.

Anyway, living closer to nature is something we should strive for regardless of any statues or concept of ourselves.

Just Grow Your own Organic Produce!

This is a no-brainer, if you want to spend less money on buying produce, you can just produce your own. This is the most direct way to impact your grocery bill. If 40% of what would normally be on your grocery list is sitting in garden beds right outside your house ready to be picked, that is 40% of your grocery bill that you don’t have to buy.

We began doing this and it not only consistently pays off, but it continues to do so at an accelerated rate. As our plants grow, they spread and produce more plants, and obviously we become better gardeners and continuously gain experience. We are lifelong learners, and take great pride in any level sustainability and independence that we are able to maintain.

Let me share quickly why this is so beautiful by just sharing one experience.

Anytime my family is cooking a meal, we have an abundance of available herbs. Lying just in our bedroom, we have lemon basil, sweet basil, italian basil, cilantro, and parsley. We get all of those herbs out of one garden bed that is only about two feet tall, and about three feet wide by twelve inches. It is a beautiful thing when you are in the middle of cooking a meal and can pause to snip the freshest possible herbs that you could obtain. It also saves us money in the long run, because we know exactly how expensive organic herbs can be.

Growing plants for your own consumption is also a hobby that can run you very little money. There are many ways to obtain seeds, sprouts, tools, or supplies. You should not feel as if you have to overspend to be successful. I am adamant that we are successful at what we do and have not put a fortune into our set up. We produce enough food and get more than enough satisfaction from growing and raising our plants to justify continuing to do so. We may attempt a book or blog post related to gardening for little money.

Shop Online

I’m not trying to fuel anyone’s online shopping addiction…

However, shopping online is a great way to save money on vegan food. There are sites dedicated to providing vegan food to those of us that hate leaving the house.

To which I would like to give a HUGE thank you!

We personally have used Thrive Market quite a bit. They offer a wide variety of food at a great price, and I am not getting paid to say that. (Yet, but I would never turn down free ginger yum yums, wink wink Thrive)

Buying online is also a great way to buy in bulk. We have found black beans for more than 50% off before, so we buy them in large amounts.

Shopping online also allows you the chance to compare prices. We always search around on online marketplaces so that we are able to see whether or not it would be cheaper online or at the store.

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