By Kerrie McLoughlin
Do you wish you could feed your family
organic foods, but when you see some of the
price tags, your eyes pop out of your head?
Yeah, me, too. I recently set out to find ways
to feed my large family organic foods on a
tight budget. Here’s what I found out:
1. Local Produce. Hit the farmer’s market to
help out some local farmers while you save
money on organic items. You can also try Local
Harvest to search for farms, farmer’s markets,
CSA (community supported agriculture), and
2. Grow Your Own Organic Garden. Sounds
hard, doesn’t it? Trust me, if I can do it with
my two non-green thumbs, so can you. My
husband is usually the gardener in our family,
but one summer he was traveling for work
and the responsibility fell on me! I found
out how easy it is to pull weeds and water
tomatoes, carrots, and green beans. One day,
I realized we had never bought any weedkiller
or pesticides, which meant we basically
had an organic garden. Even if you live in an
apartment, you can grow herbs in a pot, have
a patio garden, or even consider renting space
out from a local gardener. Renting space is still
cheaper than buying organic fruits and veggies
from the leading natural foods market.
3. Coupons and Sales, Baby! Watch, wait,
then POUNCE on those items your family
loves when they go on sale, or when you have a
sweet coupon. Combine coupons with sales for
some extreme couponing and you’ll be dancing
in the aisles! Pro tip: buy store brands instead
of name brands if you don’t have a coupon.
4. Seasonal Items. Why pay $5/carton for
organic strawberries when they can get as low
as $1.50/carton in the good old summertime?
It’s easy to find out which fruits and vegetables
are in season by visiting fromfieldtoplate.com.
5. Stock Up. When you find a good deal,
stock up! You can get a good deal at a farmer’s
market or find a sale at the natural foods
market. It’s easy to freeze certain items while
you make jellies, jams, etc. with the rest. Can
your own spaghetti sauce, carrots, beets,
green beans, and more from what you grow
yourself (sometimes you have way more than
you can eat coming in all at once). Canning is
easier than it sounds, and you can find a used
pressure cooker or borrow one for a weekend.
Simply Canning has a wonderful site with
many great resources, then hit YouTube for
6. Buy in Bulk. Because you’re not paying for
packaging and name brands, some organic
basics like cereal, grains, and beans are much
cheaper when dispensed from a bulk container.
7. Skip the “Junk.” Organic graham crackers
and fruit snacks cost a fortune, so try some
carrots and hummus, or make your own
yummy granola bars to save a bunch of green.
8. Eat Less Meat. Grass-fed beef and cage-free
chicken can be quite costly! My kids don’t
even notice when we don’t include meat in
our meals for several days in a row. Consider a
fancy grilled cheese, refried bean quesadillas, a
Mexican quinoa salad, and so much more!
9. Make a Plan. A meal plan can make or
break your budget. If you are running to the
store several times a week without any idea
of what you are going to make, it is easy to
spend too much on other impulse purchases.
Sit down once a week and write out a plan to
include the three basic meals of the day, plus
snacks. Don’t forget to consider on-the-go
items such as granola bars that you might
need to bake, or organic juice boxes you have a
10. Bake Your Own. We all need a good
carb fix now and then. Rather than pay crazy
baked-good prices, find a used bread machine
for a steal and make your own. It is so easy
these days to get the dough ready, pop it in
the machine, and just wait while your house
fills up with the intoxicating aroma of baking
bread. AllRecipes.com has tons of wonderful
bread machine recipes that will impress your
friends and family. Likewise, bake your own
organic treats (think loaded muffins, energy
balls, and granola bars) using organic flour,
cocoa, oatmeal, etc. that you find for cheap
using my tips above!