I was inspired by An Organic Wife as she wrote what is in her pantry. It occurred to me that many making the switch to organic, dont understand how to do it. They always tell me its expensive and they dont have the budget. What I do is simple, I take time to look around. Sometimes it takes months for me to find what I am looking for. Organic doesnt happen overnight. First you have to have a plan.
Meal Plans are the best way to save money. If you know exactly what you are going to eat, you wont be tempted to buy a bunch of other stuff. Get a large calendar, dry erase board, or piece of paper to hang on the fridge. Now go through your house and put together some meals out of what you already have. If you only have one meal that is fine, but most people have at least 3-4 meals they can make. Write them down, in no particular order. Now look at anything you have as a staple like pasta, rice, potatoes and make a few more meals that would require you to buy meat. Then start your grocery list. Your goal would be to at least have 7 meals planned ahead of time. Go simple. If you have a bag of potatoes, then do baked potatoes one night. It requires hardly anything and not having meat wont kill ya. Dont spend your money on bacon bits..just go without for one day. Just plop some butter and maybe sour cream and do broccoli or some veggie on top.
Got Pasta?? A can of cream of mushroom and pasta makes a great meal..no meat required. Use your imagination and scour the web for recipes that dont require meat..it takes time, so do it instead of being on facebook 😉 Meat is expensive and if you can go two meals a week without it, it will save you money. Dont forget to plan breakfast and lunches if your kids are home. Pancakes are easy to make from scratch, muffins can be made and frozen ahead of time, eggs are good. Dont buy cereal..ok weed them off cereal..it is junk full of sugar, highly processed, and expensive!! I make waffles and freeze them ahead of time. I also make muffins and freeze those. All can be done in a few hours on the weekend and are much healthier than cereal.
Ok got your list?? Now how much do you normally spend a week? $100, $200?? You will find that the more you plan and only buy what you will eat, you will save money. So lets say you are able to save $30 over what you normally spend. You’ve shopped your list..it came to $170..your budget is $200..now is when you look to buying bulk. Amish stores are great for this. Dont worry if it’s not organic to begin with..pasta, rice, beans all need to be bought in bulk. So your $30 can be spent on like 2 bags of pinto beans, a huge bag of rice, and 4 boxes of spagetti noodles. I dont know how much that really is but shop at walmart or a large chain store for now so you get really good prices. Actually you should be able to get what I just said for like $15..so if you buy that and there is still money left then go to the fruit isle and buy something organic..like apples. Rule of thumb if you eat the skin, buy organic! You may have to go to another store to buy organic, but the gas really isnt that much of a difference.
When you get home, put away all you bought on your list and leave out the other items so that you remember what you bought extra. Now since you have two bags of beans, put chili down as a meal for week 2,along with cheesy chicken rice, and spagetti. Now is the time to start your list for week 2. Write down what you need for those meals and make some other meals with that stuff also..if you dont want them all for week 2 then do a few for week 3 but buy all the supplies in week 2. For example. You want spagetti but not twice in one week, so buy what you need doubled week 2 and do it again week 3 because you will still have pasta left over. You keep doing this week after week. Look for what you have left and make meals that work with what you have. When you have money extra, buy bulk of items that go along way. If you buy a 5lb bag of rice, you wont need it again for a while. Subject your family to at least 3 rice dishes a week one week and then buy ground beef in bulk.
Always remember to use what money you saved for something organic. If you bought apples last week and you still have some, buy carrots this week. The goal is to have so much left in your house that you are only buying a few ingredients and more money is left for organics. It may not be much, but if you are eating one organic a week that is helpful. Apples, oranges, carrots, celery..they all can go multiple weeks..so buy those first when you start and then the next week you can buy something that doesnt last long, like broccoli, or kiwi.
I hope this has helped you start to transition to organics..the better deals you can find and the more you can buy in bulk of big staple items the more money you will save over the course of the month to buy organics. That is how I did it and you can do it too. It really just means cutting out buying “snack” foods that your buying because it looks good or you think your kids cant live without. Believe me..they can! Make as much from scratch as you can and become a Suzy Homemaker..it saves money!
Happy Homesteading!! 😀