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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Organic On a Budget

For about a month now my family has been making some different choices at the grocery store. We've been buying SOME of our usual items organically and (here's the kicker) we are staying in our $65 a week budget.

Now, if you've checked the prices on organic products lately you know that choosing organic usually means paying MORE. That's why we've had to make some other tough decisions. In order to come in on budget we've had to decide what purchases were our highest priority. It turns out that these choices are actually better for us too! For instance, we've decided to buy as little prepackaged foods as possible and try to purchase more "ingredients." That means fewer boxed meals, boxed macaroni and cheese, muffin mixes, cake mixes, etc. Instead I am learning to make homemade and to have home-made things pre-made to have on hand for quick meals. Another thing we've cut back on is snack food. We've also been trying to lose a little weight so less snack food is a no-brainer any way. We haven't cut it out totally, but we're being more deliberate in the things we do purchase.

Now its confession time. Have I stuck with my cash budget of $65 a week? Well, I have to be totally honest and tell you that this week I spent this week's budget and next week's budget. At first I was totally bummed and thought I fell off the wagon. Then, I thought a little more about it and this is what I've determined: The reason I spent so much is this week was my bi-monthly trip to Earth Fare. I bought a lot of groceries that should last more than a few weeks. Since Earth Fare is a little over an hour from home I can only go every other week after work when I am already 40 minutes closer. Now, since I am pretty stocked up, if I stay out of the store this week I'll still be on budget. I just can't spend anything this week. And really, that is totally possible thanks to the huge pile of groceries I was able to bring home. Now that I know what my trips to EarthFare will look like, I can budget them in. I'll plan to save some of the prior week's grocery budget so that I will have more to spend at Earth Fare where I tend to do more of my stockpiling and stocking up.

So, what did I score with my two week's grocery budget?
Organic Oat & Nut loaf Bread (I'm planning to start experimenting making my own soon).
Organic Sharp Cheddar
Organic Cream Cheese
Gallon of 2% Organic Milk
Half Gallon of Whole Organic Milk (for Judah)
Organic Sour Cream
Organic AppleSauce
2 gallons of Organic Apple Juice (it was at rock bottom price so I bought 2)
Organic Cheddar Bunnies
Natural Cheese Puffs
2 Jars of Muir Glen Organic Tomato Sauce (I got 'em for $1 a jar with coupons!)
4 bags of Whole Wheat Pasta
Organic Peanut Butter
Natural Potato Chips
2 Organic Chocolate Sandwich Cookies (Daddy & Judah can't give up their cookies just yet)
Natural (no nitrate) Smoked Turkey lunch meat
3 lbs of Pink Lady Apples
3 Organic Avocados
Fresh Brussell Sprouts
1/2 pt of Organic Blueberries
4 Kiwi
5 lb. bag of Organic Russet Potatoes
3 lbs of Grass Fed Ground Chuck
1 Whole All Natural Chicken
Natural Tomato Sauce
4 Organic Canned Green Beans
2 Beef Broth
Organic Eggs
2 Pepperidge Farm Apple Turnovers
2 Jars of Organic Salsa
6 cans Organic Muir Glen Soup
2 cans of Cream of Chicken Soup
Honey Nut Cheerio
Vanilla Extract
Navel Oranges
3 boxes frozen sugar snaps
2 boxes frozen spinach
Grass fed Organic Chuck Roast (on sale at rock bottom price)
Total: $127.06
Saved: $29.87 in coupons!

So, you can STILL coupon when you buy organic! =)

To read past "Organic on a Budget" posts go HERE.


starline said...

You are an inspiration <3 I am pregnant and want to start feeding my family more organic food.

Miracle Pending said...

Wow, that's really good for a week. I spend way more than that. Where do you shop for your meat? Unfortunately I'm in a suburban area without many options. There isn't a price on health. One thing that struck a chord with me was hearing a farmer explain the importance of organic eggs. He said that people wince when hearing that they cost more than $3 a dozen but stroll straight to the soft drink aisle to purchase a 24 pack of Coke. Great to know others are trying to make changes as well.

tammyjh84 said...

I am trying to buy more organic for our family also and trying to get away from the processed, box mixes. Do you have an recipes for different type of flavored rice mixes. My kids really love them but would like to move away from them.

Denise Sawyer said...

miracle Pending & Tammyjh84,
I buy my meats at Ingles - they have good prices on organic meat but not a lot of choices. I also purchase meat at Earthfare - another place that has a good price but it is far away for me. Miracle Pending, I live in a suburban area as well and there aren't ANY organic/whole foods stores in my area. I have to drive to the nearest big city every other week to get to an Earth Fare. That means I have to purchase most of my organic groceries at the conventional stores. While it is doable, you have to really look and get a good idea of what is available.
Kroger and Publix also have decent prices on organic and natural meats but just a small selection.

I do not have any great rice mixes YET. I am also looking for replacements because we like them too! I will post some as I find some! =)


tammyjh84 said...

Thank you very much for taking the time to respond to my post. I look forward to some great rice mixes as I continue to read your "GREAT" blog. I will share some rice mixes when I found some.

leighannie said...

Do you know if EarthFare allows stacking? I picked up their Winter Savings coupon booklet and they have some great store coupons in there and I have manufacturer's coupons for those products as well. thanks!

Denise Sawyer said...

Your mileage will vary on the stacking. The coupons in the Earthfare booklet are mostly manufacturer's coupons (you can use them any where)-unless otherwise specified. However, last week the cashier was scanning my Muir Glen pasta sauce and the jars had $1/2 coupons on them. I had brought $1/1 coupons with me so I asked that she not use the ones on the jar so that I could use the higher value ones. She said "No problem, you can use them both!" They were both man. coupons so I'm not sure why she did this. I don't think this is their policy - that is why I say your mileage will vary.