10 Thrifty Ways to Spend Less on an Organic Lifestyle
Not many people are used to the idea of going organic due to several reasons, which include understanding what organic food is all about, the expensive price tag, the rarity of organic food sold at grocery stores and picking out truly organic products from those that merely claim they are. Nevertheless, living an organic lifestyle seems to be an ongoing trend that will not fade anytime soon. Hopefully, more people will be more aware of the benefits organic lifestyle can bring to their well-being.
For those who eat everything under the sun, going organic is no easy task. It takes tremendous effort to change one’s lifestyle and eating habits. More so, if you’re not disciplined enough when it comes to eating (e.g. eating at any time of the day, raiding the fridge at midnight etc), going organic will be a more challenging task than one who already practises healthy eating.
If you’ve decided to go organic nevertheless, thumbs up to you! Although there’s no denying the fact that going organic could burn a hole in your pocket, there are thrifty ways of leading an organic lifestyle while still be able to keep to your budget.
First things first, all you have to do is to get yourself informed about organic lifestyle. There is no shortcut for this so you have to carefully consider every little thing that is on offer. You’d need to know that the items labelled “organic” or “natural” are not always entirely organic; manufacturers merely use an organic ingredient or two so that they would be able to claim that their product is “organic”.
There are resources for this all over the web but here are some items to look out when you select organic food for you and your family:
- The labelled food you buy should not have more than 5 or 6 ingredients in it.
- You don’t want any preservatives or chemicals, so basically avoid the product if you spot any hard-to-pronounce chemicals in it.
- All of your grains – pasta, rice, corn and soy – must be organic. The pesticides that are used in growing traditional crops are nothing compared to the pesticides that are used once they get to the warehouse.
- Be careful when selecting corn and soy because they are mostly coming from GMO (genetically modified organism) crops. Rules have been regulated so that GM crops will not be acceptable as an organic but it always pays to check if you are a little suspicious.
By getting a better understanding on what to look out for and avoid, the next challenge would be how to go organic without putting a strain on your pocket.
Some hints will bring you savings here and there, hence making organic purchases more affordable:
Go slow, start small
If it seems a bit impossible for you to drastically change your lifestyle, start small. Replace a few items a week with organics, and only those that are paramount like the 12 fruits and veggies that are laden with pesticides, meat and grains. See if your market has an organic produce area. You’d be amazed at the selection and the bargains you can find there.
Buy only what you like and need
Pick one of your favourite food items, something that you buy on a regular basis, and commit to buying the organic version of it from now on. This one simple step will greatly reduce you and your family’s exposure to pesticides, chemicals, hormones and antibiotics. Gradually move onto more organic items and soon you will be ready to buy in bulk just as in the next hint.
Buy in bulk
When it comes to saving money on grains and legumes, it is actually fairly simple if you can find an organic merchant who will sell to you in bulk. Some larger markets even have a buy-in-bulk section where you can purchase organic grains at a better price.
Locate many local farmers markets
For those who live in the bustling big city, getting fresh food can be a bit trickier and daunting because even locally grown produce can be exposed to significant pesticide use. Hence it is recommended that you locate as many local farmers markets as you can and start getting used to not getting all your food in one place. There’s an alternative to doing this, which is to join a local farm-share or co-op. These are great money saving opportunities for you, and great for the farmers too because they have a regular customer base. You pay a set amount for a period of time and receive a box of food on a schedule. You have to receive whatever you get but you’d know that they are organic, fresh and inexpensive.
Collect and use coupons
Regulars of organic food are often rewarded. You may snatch up all the coupons for organic food that you can find. Check store fliers, the newspapers, websites such as Groupon and even the inside of food packages for great bargains.
Explore and compare
Check out the organic food sections of your grocery store or market to get to know which products are available for you to buy on a regular basis. Then, venture to other stores and make a comparison of prices as well as choice of products.
Use a grocery list
This tip is not just limited to organic supplies shopping. Studies have shown that people who use grocery lists are more likely to save on their grocery bills, provided that you stick to the list! Besides, junk food is unlikely to be on your shopping list, so you practise even healthier eating if you don’t come across the aisles of crisps and candy.
Prioritize your shopping list
Know what the most important products to go organic – meat, dairy and fruits. These are the ones that are most laden with chemicals, pesticides and preservatives, therefore put these items at the top of your ‘organic shopping’ list.
Look for organic house brands
Does your grocery store have its own organic label? Just like the rest of their other house brands, the in-house organic products would be typically cheaper than their big-name counterparts. Who knows, the organic house brands may even be cheaper than the non-organic equivalent of popular brands!
Buy organic coffee and tea
Like other organic crops, organic coffee beans and tea are grown and processed without the use of harsh chemical fertilizers or toxic pesticides. By drinking organic coffee and tea, at least you’d know that there isn’t anything foreign soaking in your cuppa along with the ground beans and tea leaves.
Undeniably, eating organic is not an easy task when it comes to locating the ingredients and then forking out more for it than the non-organic alternative would cost. Don’t worry, it’s for your greater good. Don’t forget that you are also going to need to break out your usual cookbooks and experiment some new things for a change.
If you have to shop for your produce at the market, buy only those items that are on the organics aisle and get everything else either locally grown if you can, or if not, as close as possible with the least amount of pesticides from a conventional farmer. If organic shopping is done right, you can be trimmer but your wallet will never be!