How to Feed Your Family Organic When You’re on a Super Tight Budget

Is your monthly grocery bill just outrageous when you try to buy organic for your family? Looking for ways to lower your monthly grocery bill while still eating healthy?

It’s without question, organic food is expensive compared to conventional, highly processed foods. However, the payoff in health will be worth it in the long run if you stick with organic. But, how can you afford to feed your family organic when you’re on a super tight budget?

In this post, we’ll talk about if organic food truly is healthier for you or not, and give you 13 ways to help you save on healthy, organic food.

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Is Organic Food Really Healthier for You? 

Organic food has became quite “trendy” in the past few years. And, It’s also crazy expensive. But, is it worth all the hype and money? Is it truly that much better for you?

An organic diet will cost you more financially, but it’s certainly a worthwhile investment when it comes to your health. Organic produce has been found to have certain antioxidant compounds linked to better health than conventional food. They also have lower levels of toxic metals and pesticides.

A 2011 study comparing the nutritional quality of conventional and organic food, shows that organic-grown produce typically has higher levels of vitamin C, lower levels of nitrates, less pesticide residue, and higher amounts of essential amino acids.  Research has also shown that organic meat contains less antibiotic-resistant bacteria than conventional meat, and also does not contain potentially harmful growth hormones (source).

By reducing our families’ exposure to toxic pesticides, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and growth hormones, we are setting them up for better long-term health. By sticking to organic, we may reduce the risk of diseases related to antibiotic resistance, and filling our bodies with more nutritional elements.

13 Ways to Lower Your Grocery Bill and Still Buy Organic 

But, organic food is still expensive. How, can you possibly be able to afford it for your family? Listed below are 13 ways to help you save on organic food.

1. Have a Clear, Set Budget and Stick to It! 

The first step to lowering any grocery bill is by having a clear, set budget and sticking to it. Sit down with your partner and decide on what a reasonable amount per month would be for your family. Then cut that down to bi-weekly or weekly, depending on how often you grocery shop.

Now, if you’re new to budgeting, it’s likely that you may underestimate your grocery budget and go over on the first few months. You may need to either tweak your budget or your spending. We’ve been using the FREE everydollar app for budgeting the past year, and it’s really opened our eyes to our spending and helped us stay on budget.

2. Meal Plan 

The next step to lowering your monthly grocery bill is to start meal planning. Write down what you plan to make for dinner each night of the week, and then start making a list of ingredients that you’ll need. Remember, to check your pantry first! From there, you can start making your grocery list for the week.

Also, think about if leftovers from one night can be used to make a different meal the next night. For example, we like to get an organic rotisserie chicken one night, and then use the leftover chicken to make tacos the next night.

Take meal planning a step further by planning out each breakfast, lunch, and snack as well. This will help save you so much money on buying unnecessary food when you’re tired or on-the-go.

3. Avoid Pre-Packaged Food 

Now, remember, just because something is labeled organic doesn’t automatically make it healthy. PreNot only is pre-packaged food less healthy for you, it’s also crazy expensive. Stick with foods that you have to cook and prepare yourself.

You’ll also save a lot of money by buying food that’s pre-packaged in miniature containers and sorting it out yourself. Invest in some reusable snack and sandwich bags to save some money when you’re on the go. Mason jars with storage lids are great for taking foods like yogurt, berries, and salads, with you. 

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4. Cut out Meat and/or Dairy

Have you noticed how expensive meat and dairy products are? Yea, it’s pretty insane. So, if you are a meat and dairy consumer, try cutting back. We try to have at least a few meatless dinners each week. Be sure to replace your meat and dairy with substitutes that will help fill that nutritional gap, such as tofu, beans, mushrooms, and eggplant.

5. Follow the Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen 

If you absolutely cannot afford all organic, then stick to the EWG’s Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen lists. These guides will help reduce your family’s exposure to toxic pesticides and help you to decide which foods to buy organic and which ones to buy conventional.

The Dirty Dozen are foods that were confirmed to have the highest amount of pesticide residue (toxic) on them. It’s a good idea to always buy organic when it comes to these foods.

On the other side, the Clean 15 are conventional foods that were found to have the least amount of pesticide residue. Therefore, it’s not as important to buy organic when it comes to these foods. However, the EWG does state that a small amount of sweet corn, papaya and summer squash sold in the United States is produced from genetically modified seeds, therefore, you might want to buy organic varieties of these crops to avoid GMOs.

6. Shop Aldi

You guys, I can’t tell you how amazing Aldi is. We were spending about $150 a week for a family of 3 on mostly organic food, and now we only spend about $80-100 a week for a family of 4 when shopping at Aldi.

Aldi has really done a 360 in the past few years, and now has SO MANY organic options to offer. They also have their own organic and all natural brand, SimplyNature, which ensures your food is free of artificial flavors and colors, high fructose corn syrup, propylene glycol, and so much more!

7. Or Shop Online 

If you don’t have an Aldi near you, you can save a lot of money on groceries by shopping online. When you shop online, It’s so much easier to stick to your list.  You won’t be wandering the aisles with a grumbling tummy adding appealing food to your cart that wasn’t on the list. It’s also much simpler to stick to your budget since you can see the total as you’re shopping, and can easily delete or switch items if needed.

8. Buy in Season 

Use what’s in season to help guide your meal plan. This will help ensure that you’re getting the best deal on fruits and vegetables. Save yourself some cash by eating strawberries, watermelon, and tomatoes in the summer, and eating broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and grapefruit in the winter. The Budget Mom has a whole month-by-month guide on when to buy fruits and vegetables.

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9. Grow Your Own

One of the best ways to save money on food is to grow your own. Even if you don’t have much time or space, you can still have success. Start planning to grow some foods off the dirty dozen and maybe some herbs and spices. You could grow organic in a raised garden bed, a greenhouse, or even some indoor containers. Here’s a great guide to help get your garden started.

10. Freeze and Buy Frozen 

Frozen is the next best thing to fresh.  At the end of the season, try to harvest and freeze as much as you can for long-term storage. Frozen is also a great way to save on out-of-season produce. We tend to buy huge bags of frozen strawberries and blueberries in the winter, because my little girl just devours them.

11. Make from Scratch 

Make whatever else you can from scratch to help cut your grocery bill in half.  Depending on your diet, this could be things like, bread, soup, kefir, yogurt, pizza, smoothies, guacamole, and baby food. Now, there are foods that may just not be worth your time to make, like cream cheese, so be sure to do the math.

12. Shop Local 

You can find amazing deals sometimes from local farmers and Farmer’s Markets.  In fact, there are probably some small farms in your area that are organic, but just not certified organic. Because these farms are so small, the payoff to purchasing their USDA certification simply isn’t worth it. But, this means the cost of their food will likely be less expensive for you compared to certified organic food.

You could also see if your area has a local organic co-op you could join to receive special discounts, sales, and other money-saving deals. Check out the Cooperative Grocer Network or ask in some local mom groups to find one near you.

13. Buy in Bulk 

You’re gonna have to do the math on this one, but buying in bulk can save you money on certain items. Usually, coconut oil, frozen berries, oats, dry beans, and ground beef are great to buy in bulk. Also, Costco is a great resource if you have one near you. They have tons of name-brand and store-brand organic products.

Save Money, Shop Organic 

Organic food certainly isn’t cheap, but it’s definitely a great long-term health investment for you and your family. You can lower your grocery bill and still afford to feed your family organic by sticking to a budget, shopping local, growing your own, and cutting back on meat and dairy. You can also follow the EWG’s Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists if you just can’t afford to go-all-in.

What About You? 

What do you do to lower your family’s grocery bill? Share your money-saving tips with us in the comments below, and be sure to share this post with all your natural-minded, frugal-living friends. 

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