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Organic For Less

 

I often times hear…”I can’t afford organic food”, and when I tell people that my grocery bill has not gone up since going almost all organic, their response is often “that isn’t possible, organic is so expensive!  How has your grocery bill not gone up?”  So I decided to do a post walking you through my grocery store and showing you how I afford organic food on a budget  for a family of five.

There are several key elements to shopping smart when buying organic food.  For a full list, you can read my article on Organic On A Budget.  10 Tips To Help You Buy Organic Food For Less!  I am going to focus on a few of these tips that will make a dramatic difference in your grocery bill.  First, try to shop in season.  I wanted to do this article in the winter time so you could see that most of the produce in my grocery store right now is out of season, but you still can save.  I am always looking for sales, and yes organic food does go on sale!  This week the sales items were oranges, cauliflower, apples, pears, and red potatoes and strawberries (that one surprised me…a little early for strawberries to go on sale, must be because of the mild winter that everyone has had and strawberry season might be starting a little early in the south.)

Organic apples this week are actually cheaper then non organic apples. For a 3 pound bag the price is only $2.99.  So this week I bought 6 pounds of apples because apples will keep for months in the refrigerator.

Organic Apples          Organic Pears

 

Organic pears are always a great buy in the winter time!  My girls call them the winter fruit, because we eat pears all winter long.  Buy what is inexpensive for that time of year in your area.  For example.  Usually strawberries are not inexpensive in the winter and organic strawberries go as high as $8.00 a pound in the winter time.  So we simply do not eat strawberries in the winter time.  Do we miss them?  Sure, but they taste so much better when in season anyways so we would much rather wait until they are at their peak and taste their best!

Look at the price on these pears.  Again, they are cheaper then the non organic pears.  I bought another 6 pounds of pears.  This variety is crisp and doesn’t ripen fast, so they will last for a month or even more in the refrigerator.  Stock up when items go on sale.

 

I always plan my menu after I shop.  Most people plan before they goto the store, but I find it is better to do this after and plan your menu around the sales items.  Cauliflower was an incredible price this week, so I bought 2 heads and plan on making my organic cauliflower soup and roasted cauliflower poppers.

cauliflower          organic cauliflower

Red potatoes and grass fed beef are both on sale, so I might make my Grass Fed Sloppy Joe’s Recipe and some homemade baked french fries.

Organic Red Potatoes          Grass Fed Beef

 

Another important note that I want to make is be sure to shop around!  If you notice, all of my prices are pretty low and reasonable.  The bag of potatoes you see is only $2.99.  That same bag up the street about 5 miles is $7.99, same brand, same amount (3#)!    I find that the local co-op or a locally employee owned grocery store to be the most economical way to go.

Now I usually only shop the perimeter of the store.  In the middle of the store are all the dead foods which are primarily in boxes and have a ton of ingredients in them.  Stick with whole foods and foods that have a short shelf life.  This helps me save time and money.  I can typically get in and out of the grocery store in less then a half hour.  I am not tempted to buy the foods that are in these isles because I simply do not go down those isles.  Most grocery bills go up dramatically by purchases you had no intentions on buying because they are marketed to stand out to you.  If you don’t go down the isles, you won’t be tempted.

I do go down one isle however and that isle is the natural and organic food isle.  Here is where I purchase my unrefined sea salt, sprouted grain english muffins, pure maple syrup, oatmeal, sucanat, whole grain flours and other baking items I might need.

unrefined salt          Sucanat

Think about buying the bigger size.  The little redmond’s salt shaker was over $3.00 and I got 4 times as much by buying the larger package for a much more reasonable price.  Most stores have the price per ounce or price per unit, and you can compare the prices that way.  Shop smart.  Salt will last a very long time, so this is an item I buy in bulk.

Here is my cart when I was finished with my grocery trip.  Is it perfect, no…but it is the best that I can do for the winter season.  Keep in mind, I save a lot of money buying eggs,milk, beef and chicken from local farmers, but notice, I have organic eggs, beef and chicken in my cart right now.  Eggs, I can not get right now, it is to cold for chickens to be laying right now, so store bought will have to do.  Beef, I am out of ground beef and have a quarter side coming in 2 weeks.  I ran out of my raw milk so until I can make it to the dairy farm, organic will have to do.

There are a few things I just haven’t quite given up and gone organic with , one being my Dunkin Donuts coffee.  I just LOVE that stuff.  All in due time.  You are most likely to stick to something if you change gradually.  It took me over 2 years to convert to all organic, and technically, I have a little ways to go :)  My bill came out to be $147 (which included toilet paper and paper towels located on the bottom of the cart, in bulk of course)!  My grocery bill will go down quite a bit when I start growing my own produce in the spring and start buying at the local farmers markets which opens up here in about 6 weeks.

Grocery Cart

 

 

 


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14 thoughts on “A Trip Through My Grocery Store. How I Went All Organic Without Raising My Grocery Bill!”

  1. Karyn Spaulding Rudy says:

    I wish I lived where you live!! Ct is outrageous! I go to about 4 different store every week. Farms are over an hour away and very pricey.

  2. Michelle Longley says:

    Love this! You are lucky to have so many more organic options….beyond the local Hannafords, I have to drive about an hour to the nearest health food store (who’s outrageously expensive….but the only place I can buy organic grains/flours in bulk). Last week when we went grocery shopping we were able to leave with an entire cart full of organic products…but still no meats available. We’ll be stocking up and freezing local, organic meats once the farmers start advertising again. We got chicks this year for the first time so we’ll have some yummy fresh eggs by the time summer gets in full swing and of course our own garden full of products, which we’ll can or freeze to help us get through most of the winter sustainably :D

    We started this process a few years ago…initially I just tried to find products with minimal ingredients, no MSG and no HFCS…then we started to focus more on meals/products with less grains, meat, & dairy (portion control really), then finally a more balanced amount of products but all organic. We had to still use up what we had in our food storage but after about 2 years of working on, our last grocery shopping trip fully stocked our cupboards with organic products. We were so excited!!

    And just for a comparison….before we started to focus on eating healthy our monthly food budget was well over $700/mth for a family of 5. Now, I hardly ever go over $400…except for 1 month when I’ll go stock up on local meats for the year (and though in the stores around here organic meat can be up around $7/lb or more…when buying in bulk from the farmer we pay prices equal to conventional meats in the grocery store-$3.50/lb very reasonable at that point!). It was the best change my family ever made and I highly recommend it to anymore struggling with the decision!!

  3. Whole Lifestyle Nutrition says:

    What an inspiration Michelle, $400 a month now that is impressive!!

  4. Michelle Longley says:

    Portion control was a huge piece to that puzzle, buying in bulk was the other, and we’ve started making a lot more of our own things….bread, pasta, baked goods, jelly from local wild berries (free!!), canning/freezing our own garden veggies, making our own cleaning supplies, soaps, shampoos, detergents, etc… It’s actually not as time consuming as it seems, it’s much cheaper and we can sustain ourselves on 1 average income so I can be home raising my kids. It may not be the life for everyone but I feel we are becoming better people in part because of our choices…

  5. Rich Boes says:

    That’s all well and good if you live where you can do this. We are lucky we can find any organic, much less on sale….never seen it on sale.

  6. Janice Romanski Gardner says:

    OK Halle, can you tell us what store that is? It looks huge. I know it’s not Outpost, and I didn’t think it was Whole Foods either? I’d like to visit it – Thanks Janice.

  7. Whole Lifestyle Nutrition says:

    Janice it is the Woodman’s and yes it is HUGE! I love that store, has the best prices in town! Pretty close by to you as well.

  8. Janice Romanski Gardner says:

    Woodman’s – OMG I have never been there! Never even thought of going there. Thanks!

  9. Whole Lifestyle Nutrition says:

    They have everything Janice…they have great sprouted bread (make sure to get the brand that is in my cart, it has no soy in it)..they have grass fed meat, good bacon, organic chicken, raw cheese, organic eggs for a little over $3 a dozen and a ton of reasonable produce. I goto the one off 45…do you know where that one is? Also don’t go on a Saturday or Sunday, you will be totally overwhelmed!! It is a mad house.

  10. Rhonda Harader Cain says:

    Great prices! I have a small healthfood store about 5 min. from me and they run “specials” all the time. Their produce is fairly reasonable. I think we actually save money now. Since we have beef and chicken in the freezer, there are some weeks I just need need a few things and may only spend $50. Of course there are others I spend more than $100 for 2 people. Our Costco runs were once absolutely ridiculous! Still love Costo but my purchases are completely different. Not eating out 3 times a week really saved us money. There are some things I do not mind paying more money for and that is my organic coffee, roasted right here in Kansas City. : )

  11. Janice Romanski Gardner says:

    Thanks for the warning of not going on a Sat or Sun. I told Paul yesterday we were heading to Woodman’s on Sat. – but I do not like crowds. I’ll try Thursday instead. So excited to try it.

  12. Whole Lifestyle Nutrition says:

    The organic produce is all in one section. Also there is an all natural isle (over by freezer section) that has all of our foods. I can find everything we need at woodman’s Janice.

  13. Janice Romanski Gardner says:

    OK Halle, went to Woodman’s this morning. We were there by 9am to beat the crowd. OMG – we spent over 1 1/2 hours there and still I could have looked more. You are correct, it’s overwhelming and the prices were great! Organic Broccoli for $1.50! It was hard buying the organic eggs when you could get almost 2 dozen for $1.50. I had to bite my tongue :)

  14. Whole Lifestyle Nutrition says:

    Oh Janice I was going to message you tonight to see if you went. You have to look at the organic eggs like this. At woodman’s they are only $3.35 and at Sendiks they are $5.75…now that is a savings anyway you look at it :) Take Woodman’s in baby steps and try to go during the week in the morning if possible when you have plenty of time. I know where all of my stuff is now so I am in and out (even with my 3 girls along) in less then a 1/2 hour (for real!!)

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