The only real downside about living an organic lifestyle is the immediate cost. Non-organic food often contains cancer-causing hormones, immunity destroying anti-biotics and dangerous pesticides. Pesticides by nature are designed to kill and have been linked to cause neurological problems, cancer, infertility, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, allergies and asthma, wheezing, rashes and other skin problems, ADHD, birth defects and more. This is why buying quality organic and nutritious food will save you BIG BUCKS down the road in medical costs, prescription drugs and doctor visits. You can either pay the farmer or you can pay the hospital. It’s totally up to you.
If you’re looking to save on your immediate costs though, use the tips below to buy and dine organically on a $100 weekly budget.
1. Make a menu prior to shopping. Plan meals that will include meat every other day, versus having it in every single dish.
2. Only buy what you need for the week. For example, if you are stuck buying a whole five-pound bag of organic potatoes, because they don’t sell them loose, then try to plan another meal that will use the remainder of the bag.
3. Don’t make recipes that require excess or specialty ingredients. Many specialty ingredients can be substituted for something else you already have on hand. Don’t be afraid to experiment!
4. Substitute any dinner leftovers as lunch during the week.
5. Stay away from specialty stores! Although they have a great selection of unique items, you typically pay more in your overall bill. For instance, organic meat may be cheapest at Costco, but since they don’t carry a large selection of organic produce, you may want to shop for those items at a local grocery store. Visit a few different local stores and browse their organic selection. Take note of their prices to get a feel for which store might save you the most money.
6. Use coupons! Although they are harder to come by, there are organic-based coupons available online. Take time to email your favorite companies too, for the opportunity to receive coupons by mail.
7. Learn what is important in organic form, and what you can still buy in conventional form. The key is to stay away from as many preservatives, fake sugars, additives, and chemicals as possible. The fewer the ingredients, the better for you.
8. Make your snacks from scratch. In doing so, most of the food budget can go towards organic produce, meat, and dairy. This is much cheaper than buying the organic prepackaged snacks that are often priced as high as $5 per box! To save time, double the recipe of whatever it is you’re making, and freeze the second batch for later.
9. Know your limitations. While shopping, jot the price of my items down, next to the item name on your shopping list. Before heading to check out, do a quick add up of your groceries. If you have gone over budget, then put some of the “non-necessary” items back.
10. Keep it simple. Not every meal has to have a meat, side dish, vegetable, and bread. You can keep it simple, yet healthy by producing one-dish meals.