Sure, we all know the benefits of living with a natural and organic lifestyle. It’s healthier, chemical free, and in many ways it promotes sustainable living and environmental awareness. Unfortunately, some costs come along with the lifestyle as well. Usually, it’s financial.
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I remember speaking to my mother one day about this exact issue. I always urge her to avoid GMO-filled, pesticide sprayed foods and instead go for the healthy, certified-organic products, but she usually has the same response: it’s too expensive, and with how things are going, it makes more sense to buy whatever is cheapest.
So now I ask myself, can someone live organically and frugally? Indeed, we can. Below, you’ll find some tips that show how you can save a bundle and promote healthy and sustainable living at the same time.
The Grocery Store
Let’s begin with food, the main topic of discussion. It would be prudent to first note one major factor in buying organic: there is a myth that all organic food is outrageously more expensive. Just this negative perception drives buyers away, but it isn’t totally correct. In fact, most organic food is only 20-60 percent more expensive, and usually it depends on the store.
While that may seem like a lot, as demand rises and more and more growers switch to natural and organic methods, the price will go down. According to Tim Richards, chair of the agribusiness program at Arizona State University, ten years ago organic food was about 50 percent more expensive, but now prices are in the same category.
Nevertheless, there are still some ways to save money.
First, avoid high cost foods like meats and cheeses and replace them with cheaper products like grains. Cutting the daily ‘meat and cheese’ meal in half will directly cut that portion of your grocery bill in half. For those prepared to go the distance, try out a vegan or raw food diet. These wipe out whole categories of food.
Next, prioritize! Decide what you need to buy. While it would be best that everything you buy is organic, making sure you have organic/free-range/hormone-free animals products is among the most important. If your budget doesn’t permit an entire organic shopping list, get these organic and go for regular grains and veggies.
Likewise, buy what you need often in bulk! Usually grocery stores and farmers markets offer discounts if you buy in a large quantity. Take advantage of the good deals!
Finally, clip every coupon and compare every store. Because of the surge in organic demand, many stores recognize the benefit of assisting their consumers. Certain chains such as Whole Foods have affiliates like Mambo Sprouts that provide coupons (as well as recipes using the same ingredients!). Also, compare your organic prices at your stores and local farmers markets.
One note on farmers markets: sometimes farmers can’t afford the Certified Organic sticker, but the food can still be all natural and organic. That said, ask them about growing practices! You may be surprised!
When it comes to outside the store, you can relieve the stress on your pocket and the environment in a number of ways. Many of these tips deal with energy and personal projects, but all are worth a read!
First, switch appliances. Check out the article Green Living: The Top 5 Replacements For Your Home to get an idea of what you can change and how you can save money with a few replacements. Now, these can cost a bit of cash and they only pay themselves back over a long period of time. Still, there are a few quick fixes includes. Switching to all tap water consumption is one such method. Most studies show bottled water is in fact bottled tap – shocking, I know! How could big business lie like that? – but if that worries you, try a water filter.
Next, quit buying expensive cleaning products. They are ridiculously overpriced, use a ton of plastic, and aren’t as good as what you have in your cupboard. If you’re looking for a good guide for green cleaning, check out Making the Bathroom Clean and Chemical Free. There, you’ll find some recipes, methods, and facts we should all know.
Last on our list is gardening. Start your own organic garden! Putting down some healthy soil and seeds can reap a ton of benefits all year long with the right crops. Try starting your own herb garden, or use a straw bale method – all detailed here at Organic Soul!
If you see feeding your family as intimidating for a single gardener such as yourself, talk to your neighbors or friends about getting a gardening club together. Everyone can grow their own specialty crops along the basics, and every harvest you can exchange vegetable baskets!
Cheap, Healthy Living
Employ these methods and prepare to reap the benefits. I’m proud to say that my family now has our own organic garden, filled with eggplants, tomatoes, and herbs. This, along with prioritizing at the grocery store and saving energy, has all made the organic life less financially burdensome.
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