Five Ways to Eat Organic on a Budget


Bronze Wordsmith
May 17, 2018
Do you know how people often say that being healthy is an investment? Well, if you’re a frugal dad like me, you will learn that this often rings true. My latest battle is trying to get my family to eat organic on a budget, which you might have gleaned from my previous posts. My issue with this particular battle goes two ways: one is that I am still trying to get my wife and kids to avoid fast food (and other processed stuff) and eat more meals from scratch. Another is that organic food can get really expensive – only small batches can be harvested, and the demand for it often exceeds the supply.

But first, why is going organic so crucial to my family and me? The lack of pesticides and other chemicals is one big reason why. I am particularly wary about synthetic weed killers, which organic farming does away with altogether. Another is that I like the idea of giving organic farmers all the support I can, instead of paying a middle man to put all that produce together for me conveniently.

With that being said, here are five ways we discovered eating organic on a tight budget. I hope these tips will help you and your family to eat healthier without spending too much.

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Grow what you can

My mom has quite the green thumb – she practically grows all her vegetables and even preserves some choice fruit for jellies and jams every summer. I wish I could do the same, but alas – our current “garden” is little more than a series of pots and window boxes where herbs and flowers are struggling to thrive. I do harvest some rosemary, spring onions, and basil when the birds and bugs are kind enough to leave me some for cooking. But for serious harvests that turn into fresh salads and breakfast jams, I turn to my mom who just loves spoiling my kids with them. Maybe I will learn to conquer my urban pocket garden so I can grow my own produce in the future. But for now, I rely on my mother to provide me weekly gifts of lovingly and organically grown fruits and veggies!

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Visit organic markets

I also mentioned visiting a small organic market near my kids’ school in a previous post. As I said, I like the idea of supporting local farmers and helping them make entire profits on their own. But a more significant reason is that the products they sell (including eggs!) are literally “slow” food. Organic fruits, veggies, and other food items aren’t traditionally farmed. You basically let nature take her own sweet time to produce crops before you can harvest them because all they rely on are sunshine, water, natural fertilizer, and lots of sunrises and sunsets (instead of artificial means and timetables to grow).

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Stick to homemade meals as much as you can

I make it a point to check our pantry for supplies before I can even plan our weekly meals. While doing this, I discovered that whenever my wife and I are particularly busy with work and other chores, our pantry is almost always stocked with canned and preserved food. It’s easy enough to fall into the trap of ordering food deliveries or relying on takeaway meals when we’re swamped with work. As an added obstacle, the farmer’s market I go to is usually just open on weekends. However, I don’t want to make a habit of ordering food and want to stick to preparing our meals on our own, instead.

Convenience is always a good excuse not to eat organic all the time, but I don’t want my family’s health to pay for it in the long run. So what we do is block off an entire day to prepare a full week’s worth of meals so we can just heat or thaw them as needed.

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Look up organic online deliveries

Trust social media platforms to pick up on what you need based on some uncanny algorithm they have in place (creepy and otherwise). I once posted a crowdsourcing status on Facebook about where to get some organic strawberries in our town, and up popped an ad on my feed for a local organic fruit and vegetable supplier that delivers in our area!

Not that I’m complaining, really. This particular shop has become my go-to for weekday organic produce, and while they do charge slightly higher than our favorite weekend market stall does, they usually make up for it with promos and discounts. This way, I can get fresh fruit and veggies (even soy and almond milk!) delivered to my doorstep, and won’t have to worry about running out of them any day of the week.

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Use coupons (or ask for them)

I found a great hack for shopping organic on a budget. It’s pretty much the same hack I use for regular grocery shopping, and even clothes shopping and all manner of purchasing. Coupons are where it’s at, baby! I go for printable coupons, and also scour grocery handouts and magazines for some I can use for my organic needs. And while not all-natural food stores (like Trader Joe’s) have coupons all the time, I find that I can actually ask for them from some online sellers and usually get a discount once they see me as a regular customer!

Aside from coupons, I also use my favorite cashback grocery apps like Ibotta, where I get substantial discounts for offers I choose to redeem. Thankfully, some of those offers are organically grown produce and grocery items!

As illustrated, there are ways to buy organic food on a budget. You might have to exert a little extra effort into achieving them, but that’s the price you pay for being healthier and having peace of mind that you are not feeding yourself and your family harmful chemicals with their meals. I am still exploring the realm of eating organic while sticking to our meal and grocery budget, so if you have other tips you would like to share with us, I am all ears!

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