How We Afford to Eat Organic Foods on a $100 Weekly Grocery Budget

How We Afford Organic Foods on a $100 Weekly Budget

Guest post from Jennifer of When Pigs Fly

I have heard the excuse time and time again (I’m even guilty of giving it myself):

“I wish we could eat organic foods, but I just can’t afford it.”

About three years ago, we decided to eat organic produce, meats, and some dairy. What I have found is that by cutting out prepackaged conventional foods, and eating with fresh ingredients, my grocery bill has actually decreased. In fact, I have been able to feed our family of four fresh organic meals for $100 per week.

Here are 10 things I do to feed our family organic foods 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 I am stuck buying a whole five-pound bag of organic potatoes, because they don’t sell them loose, then I 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, I get my organic meat cheapest at Costco, but since they don’t carry a large selection of organic produce, I shop for those items at a local grocery store. I recommend visiting a few different stores and browsing 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. Get your apron ready! I make a lot of our 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, I double the recipe of whatever it is I am making, and freeze the second batch for later.

9. Know your limitations. As I am shopping, I actually jot the price of my items down, next to the item name on my shopping list. Before heading to check out, I do a quick add up of my groceries. If I have gone over budget, then we put some of the “non-necessary” items back.

10. Keep it simple. I learned that not every meal has to have a meat, side dish, vegetable, and bread. I try to keep it simple, yet healthy, often producing one-dish meals.

Jennifer Van Dahm is a stay-at-home mom, who knew there was more to life than laundry and dishes! Her motto, “Taking the ordinary out, of everyday living”, is shown throughout her website, When Pigs Fly. There, she highlights her passion for cooking and providing a healthy life style for her family, while saving money in the process. Her goal is to refresh families and help them get out of their rut– physically, mentally, and spiritually!

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Comments

  1. says

    Costco is the BEST for affordable ORGANIC meat! LOVE it! That is how we can afford to eat mostly organic vegetables and meat!

    • says

      I LOVE their organic whole chickens. They cook up tender and with a TON of meat. (Last time I used two chickens, we got 3 meals and enough meat to freeze for another meal!)
      I’m still trying to get used to the flavor of grass fed beef though. It has such a strong flavor, it’s hard to get used to.

      • Jen says

        Sara, we had this problem when we puchased our first 1/4 grass fed cow. We were not happy with the strong smell and flavor. Then I read some advice on this topic in a comment on a blog, by a grass fed farmer. He said that many factors influence the flavor: pasture type, age at processing, season of processing, etc. He recommended that anyone unhappy with the flavor of their grass fed beef find a different farm. So the next year I did. We LOVE the beef we get now, and have been purchasing from the same farmer for 3 years now. He has perfected grass-fed beef!

        I don’t know if you purchase your grass fed beef from a farmer or at a store, but I highly recommend either finding a different farm, or purchasing a different brand. There really is excellent tasting grass fed beef available, you just have to find it. Good luck!

    • says

      I agree. We just got a Costco membership 2 weeks ago. I purchase organic ground beef and was shocked that it was cheaper than the ground beef at Publix. I think it was $3.50 a pound…don’t quote me on that, but I think it was around that price at Costco. I love Costco!! I will say I think the organic milk was cheaper at our Publix though.

  2. says

    We do the same! I rarely shop at the grocery store anymore because the organic food is expensive there. We order a lot on-line, use co-ops (Frontier and Azure Standard), and buy from local farmers (and we live in the Vegas desert!). Great list!

      • says

        Amazon mostly, but also at Vita Cost.

        You can check to see if you have an Azure route by calling Azure Standard, too (www.azurestandard.com). They are fantastic! And you can set up a Frontier co-op with other people through them (www.frotiercoop.com). There are minimums to order through them, but with a few people, we always hit our mark.

        Bountiful Baskets is another option for organic produce (www.bountifulbaskets.com).

  3. says

    Great tips! We especially use the tip about using leftovers. I made an organic Tomato Basil Soup w/grilled cheese for dinner last night, and doubled it to make enough for lunch today. The entire meal cost around $7, but because we have enough for lunch, each meal was only around $3.50. Not bad for all organic ingredients!
    The other thing we do from this list is splurge on some things (grapes, strawberries, lettuce etc.), but buy conventional for fruits and veggies with skins and peels since those are less likely to be contaminated.
    We’re purchasing about 75% organic ingredients, and our weekly grocery budget is usually between $50-$70. I don’t buy many convenience foods, and our health food store always has one or two “organic produce specials” during the week, so we take advantage of those specials to use in meals during the week.
    Finally, I don’t beat myself up about it. Some nights are mac and cheese or frozen pizza kind of nights. We eat and purchase organic when we can, but when that isn’t possible, I’m just grateful that we’re still able to put food on the table for our babies :)

    • Rachel says

      I totally agree with you!! I like to buy more organic when I can, but I don’t feel guilty for using prepackaged stuff here and there. You gotta do what you gotta do. :)

  4. Kimberly Brock says

    This is a great post… and speaking of organic food coupons, stonyfield offers a great selection of them on their website and there are new ones every month! :)

  5. Shelly says

    Thanks for this! I’d like to buy more organic and friendly foods, and I’m starting to, but the markup on them can be ridiculous. You’d think it would be cheaper because of lack of pesticides. Another thing to check is if there is an organic version in the store’s generic name. For example, at Wegmans the other day, I thought I’d grab some tofu to try it if it wasn’t too expensive, and I found that the Wegmans Organic version was $1.99 for 14 ounces (that would be one or two servings for me). I was floored.

    • Rachel says

      Lack of pesticides doesn’t make growing organic food any cheaper. :) My husband farms organically, and it is actually MUCH more expensive and labor intensive versus growing Round-Up Ready crops. Conventional farmers fertilize, plant, spray on Round-Up, and in many cases don’t touch the field again until they harvest. Since organic farmers can’t use any pesticides or weed control, they have to be out there all summer long, discing, cultivating, applying sugar or other organic treatments to control bugs, and pulling or chopping weeds by hand. It’s a LOT of work!! I totally understand why organic food costs as much as it does. True, the prices he gets for his organic crops are higher than conventional crops, but since he has to be so involved in the process his costs are way higher…organic farmers really don’t make nearly as much profit as people assume. :)

    • Rachel says

      Lack of pesticides doesn’t make organic produce any cheaper…in fact, that’s the very thing that makes it MORE expensive! :) My husband has been farming organically for about 10 years now, and it is MUCH more expensive and labor intensive. Conventional farmers can fertilize, plant, spray for weeds, and in many cases not touch the field again until they harvest. Since organic farmers can’t use anything for bug/weed control, they have to be out there all summer…discing several times in the spring to kill as many weeds as possible, cultivating several times to get rid of more weeds once they’ve planted, and once the crops get to tall to cultivate, we get out there and pull or chop weeds by HAND….on HUNDREDS of ACRES of crops!! :) Also they have the cost of spraying on sugar & vinegar or other organic treatments to control bugs, plus organic treatments like calcium to try increase yields since they can’t use regular fertilizer. True, he does get piad more per bushel for his organic crops, but when you see how HIGH his expenses are to raise that crop verses a conventional farmer, there really isn’t nearly the profit margin that most people assume. It just costs a lot more to raise food organically. :)

  6. Dawn M. says

    That is great and I am trying to do the same, however I am a working mom that is gone 11 hrs (drive time included) per day and I find it very hard to make meals from scratch everyday and I am lucky to make one dessert or treat on the weekend because I am wiped out from the work week.

    • says

      Have you thought about using your crock pot more? Soups, stews and roasts make great dinners with leftovers you can use later for lunch or another meal and it takes 5-14 min in the AM to put everything in the crockpot. Add a tossed salad and/or some bread and you have a full meal that is ready to eat when you walk in the door. I work 12 hour days 3x a week and know the drill well!

      Lea

    • kristi says

      I am in the same boat, Dawn. By the time the weekend rolls around I don’t want to spend time prep cooking for the week; I just want to enjoy my kids (plus it’s the only time I get to catch up on things like laundry and scrubbing toilets). I also don’t want to spend the few hours I have left with them in the evening bickering over food. By the time we get home the kids are starving and they don’t have a lot of patience to wait for a meal to be prepared. To keep it simple and quick, I buy a big bag of chicken nuggets, several boxes of mac & cheese and plenty of peanut butter and jelly. One of those, plus a fruit or a veggie and their dinner is ready in about 10 minutes. While they are eating I prepare a meal for myself. It’s usually something that cooks up quick (and cheap), like chicken or venison and I pair it with frozen vegetables that I heat up in the mirowave. I “fancy” it up by making one of my “signautre pan sauces” which is nothing more than a few ingredients that I found in the pantry that might taste good together. It’s a new tase each time! Once in a while I’ll make a starch but usually only if I’m trying to stretch the meal. The kitchen table is right there so while my stuff is cooking I sit with the kids, checking back every now and then. While I am eating the kids get “dessert” like yogurt or fruit (and I admit, sometimes a cookie or animal crakcers). It may not be the healthiest menu, or have a lot of variety but bellies are full and the ingredients are few, thus saving time and dollars.

      • Denise says

        Kristi,

        Have you tried boneless/skinless frozen chicken? I’ve had great success throwing it right into the oven from the freezer on many nights. I always forget to defrost before leaving for work!
        One bag of chicken makes many meals. Cook it all at once with just salt and pepper one day then you can make a stack of different meals like chicken parm,sweet and sour asian chicken, chicken pizza, chicken fajitas, lettuce wraps, etc

        Cook some whole-wheat pasta (same cooking time as a box of mac-n-cheese) then top both with spaghetti sauce and shredded mozzarella on the chicken. 15 minute healthy chicken parm! I found prepping just one meal ahead really makes a difference in my sanity level and keeps the take-out orders at bay. I even make brown rice when I first get up in the morning so by the time I’m ready to leave out the door it is done and two side dishes are ready.

        • kristi says

          thanks for the chicken tips! i usually buy the boneless/skinless chicken and recently bought a whole chicken that I am going to stick in the crock pot and hopefully get three meals out of. i haven’t tried giving my kids whole wheat pasta but i may give it a shot. great suggestions, thanks again :-)

        • Diane says

          To add to what Denise said, my friend takes 3 boneless, skinless breasts and puts them in a crockpot with a bag of frozen mixed vegetables and a can of cream of chicken soup. Her toddler loves it over pasta and she gets a few meals out of it. LOL a bag of boneless/skinless breasts only lasts 1 meal in my house. Older teens=big appetities:-)

        • Andrea Q says

          Look for chicken that isn’t injected with a saltwater solution. Many brands are, so you’re paying for the saltwater and getting a lot of extra sodium in your diet.

          • kristi says

            Andrea Q, I din’t know that aobut the chicken! I will be chekcing from now on, thanks :-)

      • says

        Your kids are probably happier having mom spend her free time with them rather than spending all your time in the kitchen. So, it’s a PB&J or mac and cheese season of life…embrace it and enjoy your kids!! :)

        Ironically, though, some crock pot recipes are actually quicker to prepare than chicken nuggets, and are ready for you as soon as you get home. There are some soups and chicken dishes that take about 5 minutes in the morning. Just if you were looking for variety…sounds like you have a good system for your family’s needs right now :)

        • kristi says

          The problem I keep running into, and it’s one that I have probably created myself, is that my preschooler has become picky. Sometimes I’ll make something and he’ll eat it up an the next time he’ll say he doesn’t like it. My toddler tends to wear her food or throw it across the room…or tear it to tiny pieces that end up everywhere…lol you get my drift! It is a funky season of life!

      • Andrea Q says

        Are you cooking every night? For me, cooking once every three or four days is so much easier and is a big time saver.

    • Rachael Waller says

      Although we certainly eat some processed foods, I’m able to do quite a bit of from scratch cooking although I work about 50 hours a week. Here’s what I do: I keep things relatively simple during the week. I use a lot of Crystal’s freezer cooking ideas, too. For instance, last night, I made homemade pizza with chicken, bacon, and pesto. I had already baked the chicken. I had fried the bacon in the morning when I was making brunch and used the leftovers. I made a double batch of pesto that will be an easy weeknight meal and threw together a casserole with half of the chicken while the pizza was baking, which we’ll have tonight. I also do some prep in the morning. Again, easy stuff. For example, this morning, I cooked a pot of rice while I got ready for work.

      However, I will say that cooking from scratch does take away from other work, such as cleaning. (I’d much prefer to cook!) To make it not take away from time with the kids, I involve them as much as possible. For example, my three year old crushed the crackers for the casserole and was so proud that he helped cook dinner! But, by doing the prep work ahead of time, I can throw dinner together quickly when I get home from work, which I ultimately really appreciate.

    • Jessica says

      I have felt your pain Dawn! And my commute was short so I was gone 10 hours, not 11. One thing I found helpful is to cook one thing that will get you through many days. Many people mentioned the crockpot. That helped me, but sometimes getting my act together in the morning was a challenge, while trying to get everyone to daycare and me to work. I found that if I had my husband grill a HUGE amount of italian dressing marinaded chicken on Sunday night, we had a nice dinner with a potato and veggie. Come Monday, that same leftover chicken became chicken burritos and on Tuesday, it became chicken stir fry or fried rice. In the winter, it might become Chicken Taco Soup. I only had about 15 minutes to get dinner on the table and I could get those in if the chicken was done. Plus it was easy to keep the supplies in the pantry or freezer. I was pretty much set until Wed. Just one thing that helped me, maybe it will help you too.

  7. says

    This is wonderful information! We have gone to organic milk and eggs, to start out slow. But all these tips are so helpful for continuing down the organic path. Thank you!

    • Chris says

      Hi is there a big difference with the organic milk, health wise. Just starting to go organic where possible.

      • says

        Organic milk is better than conventional, only because the cows were not fed GMO foods. However, the milk has been so highly pasteurized that most of the nutrients have been damaged. If you can find a source for raw milk, that is best (it’s illegal in my state, unfortunately). If you can’t find raw milk, it’s better to skip cow milk altogether and drink coconut milk or almond milk if you must have milk at all. If you’re interested in learning more, there are some really good blog resources on whole foods such as keeperofthehome.org, modernalternativemama.com & kitchenstewardship.com.

    • Corrine says

      We also trying to go more organic/healthy. I found it so overwhelming that I decided to start with dairy. So far, eggs and butter. Like to see others trying the same!

  8. ksenia says

    Great ideas, and overall, I think we can all stand to eat a little better. Another option is to subscribe to a CSA for the summer months and making the best of the fresh, local, nutrient rich veggies during the peak season. Some CSAs are expensive, but not all, it’s definitely worth looking into.

  9. says

    I just did our first ever all-organic shopping trip and I did pretty well. We decided recently to cut meat to only 3 times a week, which will make buying GOOD meat more affordable. I also tried to buy only what we needed for the week. We try to stick to a $70 a week budget but I have a feeling we’ll raise that to $100 so we can eat well. Thanks for the great tip, just what I needed to read today!

  10. says

    Another tip is to grow what you can. And you don’t need a lot of room! We have almost zero usable space in our yard, but grow organic herbs in a pot, as well as jalapenos and peppers in pots. Some things we don’t have room for, but even just growing organic herbs on the windowsill is one less thing you have to pay for :)

  11. Chris says

    Once again, another article explaining how to eat healthily/organically for less. And once again, the author does not take into consideration such factors as working parents, family size (do you know how long it would take my 3-year-old and I to go through 5 pounds of potatoes?!?), time, and effort. Sure, cooking massive amounts of organic food from scratch is healthy and cheap. But people working 40-60 hours a week for low wages with no stay-at-home parent to spend an hour or two making a grocery list, shop at multiple stores, and cook healthy meals and snacks (not to mention the lack of energy to do much of anything after working a 10-hour shift) are left with few options. The health/obesity problem in the U.S. is not just about money or education. Poor people aren’t fat because they don’t have money to buy quality food or don’t know how to cook it. They’re not stupid or lazy. They’re just freakin’ tired.

    • says

      Have you tried 15-minute freezer cooking sessions on the weekends? You won’t be able to make everything from scratch, but even just doing a one or two 15-minute freezer cooking sessions on the weekends can make a difference. And the little differences start to add up!

      I encourage you to focus on what you CAN do–even if it seems like it’s not much. A can-do, committed, creative attitude can go a long way in less than ideal circumstances.

      Don’t give up!

    • Sporksoma says

      I totally understand how you feel! I am a stay at home parent with some pretty serious health problems right now that leave me extremely tired. My husband works full time, and I homeschool our oldest. I have 3 kids at home: 14, 3, and 1 year old and half the time I am too exhausted, between the illnesses and between the demands of a preschooler and a toddler, to cook from scratch. Dinner many nights winds up being take-out (which gets super expensive and is unhealthy) or hamburger helper (which is unhealthy as well!).

      On days that I feel good, I try to do a little bit of extra cooking, maybe baking some muffins that I freeze. I try to keep more organic and healthier ingredients around so that I can cook with them. We eat lots of slow-cooker meals, especially stews, soups, chilis, and roasted meats. One thing that you can do is make a huge pot of slow cooker chili, then freeze half of it. You can use all organic ingredients for it: grass fed beef, non-GMO produce, etc.

      Another idea (this idea does not work for me, but it might for you) is to try to go halves in with another mom, a neighbor, a friend, or someone. You get a 5lb bag of potatoes, but you know you will only use half that bag before they start going bad, so the other person pays for half the potatoes and takes them. Like I said, that doesn’t work for me (severe social anxiety makes you few friends or neighbors you can converse with), but it might work for you in your situation.

      BTW, don’t think I’m trying to belittle your circumstances. I totally understand where you are coming from, especially on the lack of energy part. There are all sorts of problem with how our society is set up. There are so many families who do not have access to these fresher foods, and the ones who do have access to them may not be able to afford them, and the ones who might be able to afford them and have access to them may simply not have the time to work with them because they’re working so much. People shouldn’t be expected to have to work 60-80 hours per week just to put food on the table, never getting to spend time with their children or pursue personal enrichment, etc. :-) Anyway. I understand.

      • Tisha says

        Wow, we have very similar lives! I too have health issues and I am agoraphobic and rarely leave my house. I try to make myself go out on occasion to grocery shop and dinner with the hubs, but it is a fight hehe every time. I home school my nine year old and my other kids are out of school (19, 22) but still living here and attending college. So I was wondering do you make yourself feel guilty every time you lay down like I do? I should be working on this…….
        rather than laying down. Sucks really. I hope you get to feeling better! ;)

        • Stephanie says

          If you are ill then you have to take care of yourself first. I understand about the feeling guilty too- I have unexplained breathing issues and have been dealing with doctors/tests and my husband will miss four days of work within two weeks. I have barely been cooking anything not from a box due to exhaustion and my poor husband has been doing the laundry everyday after work because stairs set off coughing fits. You do the best you with the day you have.
          If you have a cold that will not go away it may not just be a cold.

          • Sporksoma says

            My illnesses are more along the mental health lines. It’s like constantly having a cold, with the dragged down, energy-sapped feeling, with the lack of interest in doing anything, with the inability to talk yourself into getting up and at ‘em, except it’s all the time, and taking medicine doesn’t help!

            A few months ago I had lots of testing done and my husband missed a lot of work and had to use up his vacation for it. We were so lucky that he had that vacation to use, otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to afford for him to take off for me to get the testing done. It’s looking like some more testing is coming up, testing we might not be able for him to take off for, and I don’t know what we’ll do then. I guess just soldier on and do the best we can :-)

          • Amy f;) says

            I have been sick forever too. I had a break for about a month and a half in Jan. but it is back again and it has been years! I’m going to an allergist tommorrow- please pray that he will be able to help me figure this out? It breaks my heart not to be able to be the kind of mom/wife I feel like my family needs. I’ve mentioned being sick off and on to local people and one offered to take my kids for me for an hour here or there, but that just makes me feel worse. My family lives an hour and a half away and are dysfunctional. I go days without talking to anyone in real life besides my husband and kids. DH and I and our three little boys are just trying to survive and praying that the baby will start sleeping at night and that we will get answers about the health problems.
            We have tried to make our meals as simple as possible and I feel bad about the local economy, but I’ve taken to ordering as much as I can from azurestandard because then I’m not traipsing to the store as often. I’m grateful he has a job and that we can afford to buy from azurestandard. My husband cooks about half the time now, since this last bout started and I feel guilty about it, but I’m trying to nurse the baby, homeschool, and keep up with washing the diapers.

        • Sporksoma says

          I feel guilty all the time, no matter what! I actually had to take a doctor-ordered “mini vacation,” where I got a hotel room away from the family and was supposed to relax and pamper myself. Didn’t work! I feel even worse than I did.

          My house is a disaster right now (we’re also preparing for a move and I don’t have any energy to put into cleaning it!) and…well, I just feel guilty all the time. I hope you get to feeling better, too. The guilt makes you depressed, the depression makes it harder for you to do things that you’re supposed to do, or even want to do, and that makes you more guilty, which feeds on itself. Feel better!

          • Chris C says

            Ladies I know how you feel!! You are not alone with your feelings! I am in the middle of fighting breast cancer. I homeschool my 2 girls(11/14) and have not been able to do much work with them. I feel so guilty also!! But you can’t listen to that “voice” in your head!!! It will work out!! I have been trying to go more organic because it is better for all of us and for fighting a cancer recurrence. I will pray you all will feel better and get the answers you need from dr’s.

    • Sarah says

      Chris,

      I’m sorry you’re so tired. It must be really hard to have such long working hours and try and take care of your family. I know the author was trying to be encouraging. We all just need to do the best we can with whatever we have at the time in our lives.

    • kristi says

      Chris, check out the comment I left to Dawn M. (above). I’m a working mom as well with little time to plan meals or even grocery shop at one store let alone more than one. I don’t buy organic but I do keep things pretty simple and healthy enough. Everything I feed my kids can be bought organic if you want to buy organic. I don’t end up spending money on a lot of ingredients and I don’t end up throwing away half-eaten, drooled-on food. My philosiphy probably goes against the grain of most people on here but it’s what works for me.

      I know exactly how you feel! Like Crystal said, focus on what you CAN do — like feed your kids a quick and simple meal that they will eat. Keep doing the best you can, the best way you can do it!

    • Momof5 says

      Chris,

      So hear you. 14 months ago I started a full-time, incredibly energy draining job after having been able to work part-time from home for almost a decade. All the mechanisms I’d put in place to keep us eating healthily and frugally went out the door because I was SO FREAKING TIRED all the time.

      But I do want to encourage you to try some little thing. I couldn’t put a garden in last year – just too tired – even though our homegrown produce had been a major part of our summer and fall food for the past 5 years. But I did buy a couple of tomato starts from a woman at work, got them planted eventually in late July, and managed to make half a dozen meals using them, plus stuck some bits and pieces in the freezer to throw in stew or pasta sauce over the winter. I’ll be using the last bucket of frozen bits in a stir-fry tonight.

      Did this make a huge difference to my family’s budget or health? Ha! Not at all. Do I think you should add a garden to your mile-long to-do list? No way. But those tiny steps gave such a boost to my confidence (Hey! I can commute to work and feed my family after all) that I tried re-incorporating a couple of other healthy steps that had seemed so easy when I wasn’t working full time. Plus – my kids are a year older and accustomed to the routine, so they help, too. Our situation is different, obviously, with a household of 7 vs your 2, and our challenges are different, but just wanted to send you some encouragement – every little step makes the next one easier. And the steps can be LITTLE. They add up just the same. Good luck!

    • Cindy says

      I was widowed with 4 children under the age of 7. I had no other family and worked full time and took care of 10 acres of land. Needless to say, I’m always exhausted, but I made healthy eating a top priority for my children. It CAN be done, if you follow some of the great tips listed here! Crockpot cooking and bulk cooking for the week ahead helps tremendously with time! :)

    • Jennifer says

      I know just how you feel!! I work a 9 hour day and I’m a single Mom. It breaks my heart to have to be away from my little four year old all day, so I try to squeeze in anything extra makes me want to cry.

      I definitely only have time to shop at one store, but I try to hit walgreens or cvs at least once a week on my way to/from work. I generally can get all of my household products free or almost free. We eat smoothies for breakfast in the car with muffins I make then put in the freezer. I also rely on my crockpot a lot! After I grocery shop (Aldi) I put ingredients into bags together for the crock pot (pineapple pork, for example) then I just put it in the crockpot frozen then make minute rice at home. The only thing I focus on is making breakfast items and bagging up those dinners! I make a fresh veggie every day with dinner, which doesn’t take much time at all. Often it’s just saute broccoli and fruit salad :)

      Focus on what you can do! I can throw together a batch of muffins and breakfast burritos fast on the weekend, so I do it. But I give myself grace and eat simple meals. I agree, it’s hard and I get tired too!

      • Dana says

        Jennifer-
        I think that you are doing such a good job! I find that when I get really tired (and I am not a single parent…I don’t know how single parents do it!) I just stick to Aldi!! Yes, it is not organic but they do have a ton of healthy choices that make putting a healthy, affordable meal on the table possible!

        I hope that we don’t confuse organic=healthy. You can eat healthfully without eating organic. Likewise, your diet can be filled with organic junk food! Just food for thought.

    • Andrea Q says

      Cooking for one adult and one child is challenging. I did it for seven years before getting married and it seemed like our grocery budget didn’t change much when I started feeding three people instead of just two.

      Two very easy things: raw baby carrots and hard boiled eggs. While the prices are a bit higher, it only takes a couple of minutes to wash a bag of carrots and only about 15 minutes to boil and peel eggs. If you can’t eat the whole bag of carrots in a week, you can slice them and freeze them, then cook them as a side later. A third thing is organic yogurt in single-serve cups.

    • Marissa P. says

      Chris,

      Like Crystal said, I too encourage you to concentrate on the things you can do. I am 23 and was recently diagnosed with fibromyalgia several months ago. Now while I don’t have children, I do have a husband to take care of and I am struggling to finish my degree. My condition leaves my constantly fatigued and in pain. Over a year ago I started with small changes to my diet to work towards a whole foods and almost organic diet. I am now a flexitarian meaning that I don’t eat any meat or dairy unless it was raised without antibiotics or hormones. I also eat very little processed foods and try to buy fruits and vegetables organic when possible. Saving money this way does mean more time in the kitchen, and more planning, both things that take a major toll on my condition. I had to find a new way on how to live my life after being diagnosed. I spend alot of time working in my kitchen but I do it in small spurts because I cannot stand for long periods of time. So I will work in my kitchen for 30-mintues to an hour then I will go do something else that I need or want to do. Also, my area does not have alot of options as far as organic options go. The only thing really offered to me is the weekend farmer’s market and a Whole Foods. Did you know that Whole Foods puts about 100 items on sale every week in its store unadvertised? Each week I use my camera phone and walk the aisles of whole foods and scan for the yellow tags. I snap a picture if its a good deal. This takes me about an hour to walk the store. I count this as my exercise for the day which is something we all need each day and I don’t have time to waste. That night or the next day while I am watching a movie with my husband I search for coupon matchups online, again no time wasted (if you think you would work faster with no distractions do it that way). When I go to the store for my grocery shopping on Fridays or Saturdays my shopping trip takes about 40 mins or less because I know exactly what I’m going in to get. I also take advantage of their one day sales they usually have on Fridays on meats, fish, and poultry since I don’t have a Costco. This is when I stockpile for a few months and keep it in a deep freezer. I encourage you to start off small because I believe we all have the power to do anything. Choose one thing right now you would like to buy organically or something you would like to starting making in your kitchen rather than buying it pre-made, once you’ve been doing that for a while and have become comfortable with it, then pick something else, and so on. I feel for you and I believe in you. It is possible in time with small steps. Good Luck!

    • Andrea Q says

      For everyone suffering from tiredness and unexplained health problems, have you considered trying a low-grain or grain-free diet? When I eat pasta or bread, I crash afterward and feel completely drained. Now that I’m only eating one or two servings of grain each day, I have more energy and my joints do not ache as much.

      Also, try getting some fresh air everyday, even if it is just sitting by an open window.

      • Wendy says

        I wouldn’t mind giving this a try. I’m still tired even though I try to get outside & exercise everyday. What would you suggest for meals/snacks, especially breakfast, if I’m not eating grain foods? I don’t like eggs or yogurt. Thanks.

        • Andrea Q says

          One thing I love is fruit salad with 1/3 cup of chopped nuts on top, but I often eat dinner leftovers for breakfast. Last week, I had a spinach salad with carrots, tomatoes, sunflower seeds and chicken for breakfast. Steak and steamed asparagus, or a burger with apple slices…really, whatever appeals to you! When I first started cutting back on grain, I tried to stop thinking about specific foods having to be eaten at certain times and that helped. It may take a couple of weeks to notice a change…Good luck!

    • jessica says

      I don’t think anyone here was implying that those who don’t eat all organic are lazy, or uneducated. I do want to encourage you to follow crystals suggestion though.

      I don’t have a child at home but I do work full time, go to school full time, and am single. A little extra here and there goes a long way. Plus, lets be honest, by the time I wait in a drive thru or go get take out or whatever, I could have cooked up something at home. As a single individual I only cook 2-3 different meals a week and eat off the leftovers. With only you and your daughter you might be able to do the same. Plus its a whole lot quicker to put some leftovers in the microwave then heat up a pizza, get take out or hit a drive thru.

      Also, while a lot of people can eat organic and still eat poor diets, a balanced diet with fruits and veggies goes a long way in providing energy for those long days.

    • Marie says

      And we are tired (partly) because we eat bad food– what a catch 22! I think the biggest problem is that those low paying jobs usually bring in the same amount that you are spending on – gas, childcare, convenience food, insurance on a second car, repairs and oil changes on a second car, career attire and the list goes ON and ON!

      For a lot of people it makes more financial sense to start a home business where you might make way less, but you would also spend way less. That is what we did four years ago, since we were getting NOWHERE with our low paying jobs and we were deep in debt. It was amazing how our expenses shrunk once we sold the second car. We slowly build our business each year, as well as trimming our budget lower each year by becoming skilled in DIY items like health care and cooking/growing food. Dave Ramsey helped a lot on that end. We are now at the point that we can give a lot and spend just a little each month on food and daily living. We were 30k in debt and now have paid it all off and have 15k in savings in five years. And we don’t make a lot of money!

  12. says

    Wonderful article!

    I think it’s important for some people to just start buying fresher ingredients in general if you don’t already. Give your children fresh snacks, bake more things from scratch, cook dinners from real ingredients instead of buying pre-packaged dinners or mixes. THEN when you know what your family loves and will really eat put a good portion of your budget towards those things in organic form when you can and stock up when they are on sale.

    Also, we buy our milk at Braums because they have a rgbh free milk that is close to organic without the organic price. My husband’s stomach hurts if we buy “non-organic” milk but does not hurt when we buy organice or Braums milk! I love that they have their own cows and a pledge on their site about their Braums family products :)

    • Andrea Q says

      I gave up my membership, in part because the Costco near me didn’t carry enough organic products to make it worth the drive. The chicken was significantly cheaper (still around $5/pound for boneless), but the ground beef was corn fed and the only stir-fry veggie mix they carried contained soy.

      Other stores carry a lot more variety, though. To really figure out if it is worth it, ask at the door if you can browse. Tell them that you’re considering a membership, but want to make sure it will be worth it.

        • Andrea Q says

          The gas definitely does make a big difference! The Costco here doesn’t have gas, so that was another strike against it.

  13. jessica evans says

    Thank you so much for this post, I will be sharing it with all of my friends and family! I keep trying to explain that it isn’t very expensive to do, and I spend LESS than you for a family of 6! (we eat less meat) I stock up on “snacky” foods from Azure Standard when there is a sale, even picking up some bargains (Red Mill organic oats!) on Amazon! It is SUPER easy to feed your family, extremely beneficial, and necessary! The French are so healthy to our processed nation, and alot of it is because the families spend twice the amount that we do on good foods! (8-12% to our 4-6%!) I appreciate this, very handy!

        • Andrea Q says

          Age might not matter much, as some kids eat like birds and others have voracious appetites.

          Though, if you’re feeding two teenage boys and two adults organic for $100/week, that’s quite an accomplishment!

        • says

          Stephanie,
          I have two boys, ages 8 and 10, and they out eat their father every night. When I cook, I actually cook for 6 people, although Crystal is right, I only have 4 in my family. I over cook to ensure everyone is full and leave left overs once in awhile.

          • says

            I know how 10 year old boys eat, I have one!! When he gets hungry, look out! I also have two girls, one is 13 and the other 17. My 13 year old eats like a bird but my 17 year can eat a ton (and still be as thin as a rail!)

            I just like to know the ages and how many children when people share their grocery budgets because it keeps it in perspective for me!

  14. Cathy says

    Great article! Sounds like we spend similarly. I spend a bit more but am feeding seven so proportionally a similar amount. That’s awesome that Costco sells organic meat! We don’t have Costco here but have been able to source some local organic or equivalent meats which works out for us. I would definitely agree that accomplishing this on a reasonable budget is much easier if you meal plan and use the crock pot…my crockpot works HARD around here. :D

  15. says

    My wife and I really do a great job of limiting our grocery spending but about 5 months ago we had a few health scares that made us reconsider what we eat each day.

    I’ll confirm that it IS cheaper to eat fresh produce and eat organic compared to some other meals. We were packing our lunches each day with a sandwich, chips, and some fresh fruits, but for the last couple of months we’ve been making wraps (with home-made hummus, green/red peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, and spinach) and that has allowed us to cut down on weekly grocery bill substantially!

    Of course it depends on what kind of deli meat you’re buying, but we avoid buying pre-packaged products/meats. They’re filled with tons of sodium and a ridiculous amount of preservatives. Yuck!

  16. Denise says

    I have always followed # 9 (Know Your Limitations), even when shopping for non-organic food, and it is a huge help. By jotting down prices as you go along you can keep track of what you are spending and not be surprised at the register. I have saw people ring up an entire order, only to realize that they do not have enough money to pay for everything and start digging through bags for things to put back. I vowed never to be one of *those* shoppers!

  17. says

    Very useful information. I find it helpful to have the dirty dozen list with me while shopping for produce. That way I can be sure what I can get away with not buying organic. You can always compare prices of fresh with frozen too as I’ve seen some great frozen veg/fruit coupons. Also with frozen you can take a little out for a recipe and put the rest back which creates less waste, but of course so does planning, create less waste. We’ve pledged to eat organic dairy and meat, but we are still using up some meat that isn’t because it is in the freezer and I refuse to waste it. :)

    • Andrea Q says

      One thing that really bothers me about the dirty dozen list is that it always includes corn. Non-organic corn is almost always GMO, which is something we avoid.

  18. chelsea says

    Don’t forget gardening! We live in a mild climate, so you can plant your garden in March and still be harvesting tomatoes through November. I agree about specialty stores- even combining coupons with sales, it isn’t reasonable for us to shop there on a weekly basis.

  19. says

    Love this post! It is absolutely possible to eat good on a budget. I spend around $300-350 a month for my family of 4. Not everything we eat is organic, we mainly try to aim for local and nutritious. Since quality meat is expensive, we do at least 2 meatless meals a week and try to treat meat as a ‘side’ to our meals. Wild caught fish is super nutritious, and can be very affordable depending on where you live. We only serve eggs or oatmeal for breakfast, both very cheap and I freeze small meals, such as homemade mac n cheese, for lunches. Keeping you own organic garden can do wonders for your budget if you base what you cook around what you grow. And don’t feel discouraged if you’re short on time, just a year ago my husband and I were both working 6o hours a week, on opposite schedules. We would dedicate Sundays to shopping and freezing crockpot ready meals so nobody felt too burnt-out at dinner time, and we never had to resort to processed foods. Dedicating as little as 4 hours a week to planning, shopping, and cooking will help your budget, as well as your health!

  20. says

    I agree that gardening is probably the cheapest way to go. If your kids are the right ages to put to work, you might not even have to get your hands dirty. : ) Additionally, you may have neighbors or friends who want to trade what they’ve grown too much of, for what you’ve grown too much of.

  21. Jessica Valentino says

    These are some great tips, and certainly challenge me to think out of the box about buying organic. For many people $100/week is a very reasonable budget and even a frugal one. However, many people reading money saving mom have a much lower budget. My family needs to get by on 40-50 a week to feed 2 adults and 3 kids. I honestly don’t think we can afford to buy organic on that budget. So, I try to focus on eating whole foods, making things from scratch, and having plenty of fruits and vegetables. You have to do what you can do with what you have.

    • Chris C says

      I am in the same boat! My budget is like yours. I have been cooking more from scratch too and may try a garden.

  22. Kate says

    The most important step in saving money on “organic” food as a general category is figuring out what characteristics matter to you and which labels cover those characteristics. “Natural”, for instance is not regulated in the US at all unless it is used on meat, and then the regulations are extremely loose. “Certified organic” on the other hand is very strictly regulated (there are even regulations as to whether a processed product can be labeled “organic cookies/pasta sauce/whatever” or “cookies/pasta sauce/whatever made with organic ingredients” based on what percent of the ingredients are certified organic). I’ve seen conflicting reports on whether these regulations apply to toiletries that use the term “organic.” Organic regulations have relatively little to do with how an animal was treated, however, and they don’t have anything to do with labor practices and whether the farmers and workers received fair prices and wages.

    Tests have shown that organic produce doesn’t have more vitamins, and there’s conflicting evidence on whether residues from pesticides and fertilizers on conventional produce are harmful to your health. There is, however, lots of evidence that large amounts are harmful both to the workers who apply them and to aquatic ecosystems. Generally, fruits and vegetables require more pesticides and fertilizers than grain crops. My own solution is to buy organic fruits and veggies when I can find them easily and not to worry about organic flour, sugar, etc. I also buy Fair Trade items where possible, since the Fair Trade system is supposed to ensure fair prices and good labor practices (though there was a recent article claiming that in at least some cases the program isn’t using enough oversight to prevent child slavery on farms.) I also buy Certified Humane meat and eggs rather than organic.

    The first two links discuss “natural” vs. “organic”; the third defines various animal welfare labels as they apply to eggs. The final link is the FDA’s page on Certified Organic, which has links to more details than you could ever want about what exactly “Certified Organic” means.
    http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/organic-food-is-natural-worth-the-extra-cost

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2009-07-10/business/chi-natural-foods-10-jul10_1_organic-food-cornucopia-institute-mark-kastel

    http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/confinement_farm/facts/guide_egg_labels.html

    http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/ams.fetchTemplateData.do?template=TemplateA&navID=NationalOrganicProgram&leftNav=NationalOrganicProgram&page=NOPNationalOrganicProgramHome&acct=AMSPW

  23. Sally says

    I loved all your tips and suggestions. I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind sharing some of your specific homemade snack and non-meat dinner recipes? In the snack department I’m in a bit of a popcorn and fruit rut. Regarding non-meat dinners, I’m completely open to new ideas, but I’ve yet to find an inventory of recipes we all like. Would love your specific suggestions. Thanks!

  24. says

    thanks for this list of how to’s but i cannot seem to figure this out. i MADE a meal plan. i MADE my grocery list. I chose items that were on sale this week. i had my coupons. and I spent $256 something. we are a family of 4. 2 of which are toddlers. so what in the WORLD am I doing wrong?????

    • says

      You’re doing nothing wrong, per se, you’re just new to this! It takes time to learn tricks and stock up on loss leaders and fill your freezer and pantry with stuff you’ve purchased for pennies on the dollar so that you have more inexpensive ingredients on hand to plan your menu around. Work on slowly whittling your grocery bill down by 1-3% every month and, over time, you’ll really start to see significant savings.

      If you’ve not done so, check out my 31 Days to a Better Grocery Budget series for more step-by-step help and then pick one or two things you’re going to do this month to help lower your grocery budget:
      http://moneysavingmom.com/31-days-to-a-better-budget-series

      Once you’ve gotten those two things down, pick two more… and so on. It will all really start adding up.

      You can do it! I’m cheering for you!

    • Diane says

      Heather, I’m not sure where you live, but that may be average based on the prices in your area. Last week I spent $130 and I’m feeding 15 & 12 year old boys with larger appetites. The only advice I’d have is check what your cooking for meals and see if the ingredients are expensive. I try to plan meals with a few cheap ingredients involved. But by shopping with what was on sale, you did save some :-)

    • shauna says

      We are a family of 3 at the moment going on family of 4 in June. I agree with you, I am spending 200 also. I shop at Whole foods, Target, and local grocery store.

    • Diane says

      It takes time and meal planning is great, but building up a stock pile when food hits low prices is even better (and that takes time to learn how low every price will go, but you will get the hang of it). I menu plan off my stockpile and only buy very low priced foods at the store so most of my grocery list is a large quantity of a few items, plus produce which I stick with mostly in season on sale items. I keep learning more and more, though and have been doing this for years.

  25. Rachael Waller says

    There have been a lot of comments about this is hard to do when you are a working mom. One tip I have is to be watchful of garden freebies at work! At every job I’ve had, there are usually a few people who LOVE to garden and often have an overabundance of onions, zuchinni, tomatoes, and apples. They often leave them out on tables for people to grab. I may just be lucky, but I take advantage of these. In return, I usually bake a batch of cookies or bars for everyone to enjoy.

  26. says

    Great article! I especially agree with #3, 4, and 10. For me, keeping it simple is essential for having time to both afford, and do it all.
    Also, There are things you can buy in bulk when they’re at their lowest price and store throughout the year. Sweet potatoes for instance will keep pretty much all year stored under beds. Ours look just as good today as they did the day they came out of the ground!

  27. shauna says

    I think this is a good article. I love Whole Foods and have been upset with expiration dates and fresh fruits not lasting very long at Stop and Shop. I think prices really depend upon the state you live. I always see Blog Moms getting great deals, but they usually do not live in NY or Long Island.
    I am excited that Whole Foods has their own brand foods that are less expensive. Some store brands I find not up to par. Organic chicken though is still more money, and organic steak is also pretty expensive. It does taste better, in my opinion. My son is a picky eater and so I have to buy what he will eat. So I usually can’t keep my bill under 100 a week.

    • says

      I know what you mean about prices depending on where you live! Here is the DC area Whole Foods is SO expensive, but there produce is so fresh and lasts forever in my fridge! If I have to throw something away then I really didn’t save any money.

  28. Lindsey Swinborne says

    Great post! I really appreciate it as I’m trying to move away from eating any processed foods and eat more organic foods. My challenge is feeding my family inexpensively as they are enormous eaters like their dad. My 4 young kids can eat a dozen hardboiled eggs for morning snack (and will still be begging for more) and 18 pieces of french toast (made with organic bread and farm-fresh eggs) for breakfast. So, just keeping any food in the house, organic or not, is a challenge. We don’t have a Costco in our state but I wish we did!

  29. Kristi says

    I haven’t read through all of the comments – so I’m sorry if this is a repeat…We live in Wichita and this year found (through word of mouth) a CSA. They are all about natural foods and family. I think their motto is “From our family to yours”. Anyways, from what I can tell – it seems like a great investment and we are thrilled to get started (next month). The link if you are interested is: http://thefiatfarm.blogspot.com/p/csa.html .

  30. Amy f;) says

    I was just going to sit down and figure out how to whittle down the food dollars more so this post is nice and timely! Thanks!!!

  31. says

    I TOTALLY agree! We have people tell us all the time that they can’t eat healthy because it is too expensive – we don’t buy all organics – but often times there great organic ‘loss leaders’ – we double up on those and menu plan around it! We found organic whole chickens for $1.59 and $1.99 lb at a couple stores and those go A LONG way!! We also stretch our organic budget a bit by growing a few of our own veggies organically – this will work at different levels for different people – but I dont mind paying a bit more for organic meat or milk during the summer than regular because so many of our fruits and veggies come from our community garden or from grandma & grandpa’s garden!

  32. says

    I strive to feed my family as much real food as possible. I quit buying prepackaged foods a few years ago and my grocery spending went down as well! I can feed my family of 2 adults and 1 toddler on about $60/week. We focus on organic meats and I buy organic produce when possible. I do spend a decent amount of time in the kitchen, but I enjoy it.

  33. Erica W says

    Good article, but I have to say that for some families, no matter how hard we try organic meat & dairy is just unaffordable… like someone said, the “organic” meat at Costco is corn fed… so what REALLY is the point to spending the extra money on CORN fed meat that is feed lot produced anyway?? Sure they CLAIM it is grown in healthy conditions, but is it really?!? Organic corn can & is often GM too… BT can & is often used on ORGANIC corn… it is a pesticide, but because of some loophole they consider BT “organic.” It is so sad! The organic chicken at Costco is at least double the cost of regular chicken too.

    We are a family of 5 (almost 6, & making payments on the 6th already for a homebirth- which our insurance won’t cover- as we pay cash for everything too & ONLY use credit cards to get rewards & pay them off when the bill comes) & we homeschool, so we are home all day long. We eat fruits, nuts, & veggies as snacks… I buy as much organic fruit & veggies as possible, which is our main source of snacking, but there are times when on the road & fruit may not always work because I didn’t remember to bring it with and/or we may have already eaten what we brought… I may not have planned to be out as late or whatever & we are STARVING so I keep gluten free chips, nuts, dried fruit, etc. in our vehicle as well, because we don’t have the luxury of hitting a drive-thru or eating from a box w/allergies to contend with.

    I would LOVE to hear from some gluten free & allergy contending mamas… their budgets, their shopping lists, their meals, their snacks, etc.

    Having to eat GF sure cramps a budget… especially a budget that has actually DECREASED because of health benefits rising & a DH who hasn’t gotten a raise in over 4+ years, while our family has grown by 2 blessings in that time. So we now have to feed 2 more family members, plus eat as much organic as possible, eat gluten free, AND try to maintain some simplicity in our family…

    I can tell you that eating w/allergies has sure been a learning experience… we can no longer run out w/out planning the next meal/snack as if we get held up, we need to know what we will be eating. I freezer cook as much as possible too, but it is honestly a daily struggle to just put the meals we eat at the time we need them right now because I am expecting & very sick w/hyperemesis. Each meal is a battle because I can barely drink water, so this meal planning & menu thing is BIG on my mind right now!

    I do use my crock pot several times a week, but right now the task of soaking beans, fermenting, etc. is so EXHAUSTING… & there are really no short cuts in eating GF… none that I have found yet anyway.. at least none that don’t consist of paying 6-8 times for an even SMALLER product amount just because it is GF & a “convenience” food. I so would love to pop a frozen pizza in the oven right now… I really would… I would so love to be able to make some toast… but each loaf of GF bread costs $4-6 & we can go through ONE loaf for ONE meal… I have made it in the past, but it falls apart, is way too thick for sandwiches, & goes bad in 2-3 days tops… so that is yet another undertaking… not to mention having to find the grains to mill myself for money savings & having enough money to buy them in bulk… it is so challenging when one needs 3-6 different grain/flour/starch components for 1 bread product.

    So when you talk about buying ONLY what you will eat THIS week, I laugh because when eating for allergies it is impossible to do that AND be able to save money because the only way to save money AND eat GF is bulk buying… it is a whole process to build up one’s pantry & GF staples.

    We DO have a garden, backyard chickens, bees, & DH just planted some fruit trees… but those things take time to grow & mature… I wish we could raise our chickens for meat too, but DH is not on board with that & to be honest, right now I could NOT kill our backyard critters… who would have thought one could LOVE chickens?!? Not me!! LOL

    I also echo the sentiments for all of those who feel sick & are eating processed foods… if you give them up you may be stunned at how awesome you feel! I was being tested for illness before going GF… I was always SOOO wiped out… after being GF I had my usual boundless energy (until I got pregnant ;0)… I would NEVER have believed it had I not experienced it 1st hand! But then, you may face the challenges I do as well w/budget, etc… but I keep reminding myself of how badly I felt while eating G & how my kids felt, & that keeps me going… even if we eat beans & rice several times a week… I would like to add more variety though!

    Anyway, I am sure this works for some of your readers, but there are many others who really struggle with this for various reasons… maybe you can have some guest bloggers on or do some more research into allergy friendly grocery budgets :0)!

    Keep up the great work… LOVE your site!!

      • says

        I also have not changed our budget much to eat GF. I do take advantage of Swagbucks to purchase GF items on Amazon. I also do surveys to fill my Paypal account, which I use to purchase GF food online, too.

        And sometimes, I go without bread because it doesn’t fit in the budget! (That’s about when my MIL comes through for me :) )

        I think it takes time to work out a budget that works for your family. Don’t give up, Erica!

  34. says

    We also love Costco’s organic meat. I grocery shop for meat only once a month, and the organic meat there already comes in portioned out packages. We usually get chicken breasts, chicken thighs, and ground beef. I bring it home and put most of it right into my deep freeze. Its gotten to the point where I hate the taste of regular grocery store brand poultry. Personally I would rather not eat meat than buy conventional meat.
    Also, I shop at my local Asian market for produce and it is really cheap. What really eats into my grocery bill is my daughter’s goat milk. At $7 per half gallon! But she loves it, so I splurge on it. And she doesn’t really drink that much so it lasts awhile.

  35. says

    Thanks for this post! I have been thinking about trying an organic diet! I’m glad to hear you can make it work on a $100/wk budget! Good for you!

  36. says

    As a mama of 12, I can attest that we do not eat organic, because we cannot afford it. We live on $400 without any processed foods.

  37. Lisa says

    If you are buying organic from Walmart some store like that , don’t believe it . It really isn’t organic. The organic brands themselves are questionable, as they are owned by companies such as Phillip Morris(cigarettes), Pepsi, Clorox owns Burt’s Bees & on & on. Organic can be good if you know personally where it comes from. I have known an organic farm that sells lamb or sheep products, but I wouldn’t buy from them as they had not put any kind of even organic fertilizer on there crops & there sheep were all infertile that year. That is not a good sign. It would in this case be better to buy from someone not labeled organic, but that gave there sheep the right supplements to eat, so there bodies could reproduce.

  38. Aileen says

    I totally understand the busy mom problem. I homeschool my children, one of which has significant special needs. He also doesnt require much sleep; therefore, we get little sleep. Lack of sleep leads to the desire to just get through the day. In spite of this, we make our health a priority. Even on days that I dont have the energy to shower much less cook, we grab basic items for a meal. The most nutritious snacks require no prep time. Fruit, dried fruits, veggies, nuts are so filling and their is no work involved. Almost everyone loves popcorn and it couldn’t be any easier to make. Preparing meals has been so much easier since we decided to eat healthier. We are just as happy with beans and rice or a hamburger patty with some cut up fruit/veggies as something I spent an hour putting together. Another decision we made was to limit eating out. The money you save on eating out can go towards simple healthy foods and if you are eating fast food, stopping will definitely improve your health. You can also save money on vitamins and medicine by eating healthier. If you are eating nutritiously, it’s probably not necessary to take multiple vitamins. Also, you are less like to have to spend money on digestive medicine (pepto, Pepcid etc…). I know it’s also often hard to convince your children to eat healthier if they are used to little Debbie cakes and boxed Mac and cheese. We have had to work through this and the main thing I tell my children is that I love them and want them to feel good and be healthy. They understand that I would never do anything to harm them, but allowing them to fill their bodies with stuff that that provides almost no nutrients would hurt them. They have become so understanding of this and are trying so many new things. Now, when we do eat something more processed, it just doesn’t appeal to us anymore. A papa johns pizza costs 3 times what I can make pizza for and it tastes so blah compared to homemade (you can spend 30 min making up several pizza crusts and freezing them for later use). This was an encouraging article and I hope it gets more people thinking about making healthier choices.

  39. Rachel says

    If you have a trader joes nearby and don’t think to shop it thinking the prices are too high, think again! I do all of my shopping for my family of 5 there. No coupons, usually, 80% organic, organic chicken and ground beef, wild fish, produce etc. I spend about 120/week buying all our food there and I buy convenience items too, so I could definitely get it under 100 if I wanted to. Trader joes does not carry products with MSG or GM items, so I feel good about what I buy being already vetted for safety. I hear from people all the time about them not shopping trader joes cause the prices are high etc. I don’t find that to be the case at all. I love spending my money with them. I even buy their toilet paper, I figure, it keeps me out of several stores and shopping trips which saves me TIME, and it probably saves me money on the impulse buys. I just bought all the kids Easter candy from them, and it’s no HFCS, no food dyes, natural, etc. I think it was 12 dollars. I probably could have got a bunch of commercial candy for less, or close to free with coupons, but I would be fretting over them eating all that crap come Sunday morning.
    Ps the ground beef there is 100% grass fed. Also a distinction, since a farmer could raise a cow on corn and “finish” it on grass, and still call it grass fed. I would rather get grass fed dairy than organic. But we only drink 1/2 gallon of milk a week. So I buy the organic. I get kerrygold butter, it’s grass fed.

  40. Marie says

    Wow great comments on a great article! My friend convinced me to try ALL organic a few months ago and although we were eating really healthy already, I knew it was time to try it. She said my ever present acne (I’m 31!) would go away. She was right! We have found ourselves saving a lot of money and it is bc we have all but stopped eating out, and she said that was the big tradeoff in terms of cost and it turned out to be true. We only eat Subway and that is only a few times a month (not that they are organic, but there is nothing else to eat in our small town).

    If you try to go organic and still eat out a lot, it could add up quickly. We also make from scratch: mayo, tortillas, green smoothies, peanut butter, hummus, salsa, almond milk. These things are more time consuming, but SO healthy and I love knowing exactly what I put in everything. I finally have my hypoglycemia under control, my thyroid disease went away, acne is gone, and my husband’s super horrible acid problems stopped as soon as we started eating green smoothies- that was our first step off the S.A.D. diet. For the first time in my life I don’t CRAVE sugar!

    I know this may turn out to be a controversial comment, but for those of you who are married and working full time— consider all the costs of your job– gas, childcare, convenience foods, insurance on a second car, repairs and oil changes on a second car, then subtract them from what you make, and you may find yourself making like $4 an hour! We made a decision a few years ago for me to work from home as I was able, we sold our other car, and we have been so much better off for it, in our family life as well as financially. Then I felt that even that was too much and that I needed to focus on our health and developing myself and our children spiritually. We are doing better than ever financially, and part of that is because we now DIY everything from health (would only go to a Dr if it was an emergency), to food condiments to cleaning products. We are saving left and right! I have about a dozen books on nutritional therapy and disease prevention and I used earthclinic a lot when kids or DH or I get sick. I love looking back at a few years ago and seeing how far we have come, health wise, as well as money wise. (Dave Ramsey helped too.)