"Pay the farmer now or pay the doctor later"
That is the motto my friends and family hear me say all the time when I am asked why I would want to buy only organic food. The question I am asked the most is; how can you afford to buy only organic and free range food? Here is how my family of 6, with an average income, can afford to eat almost completely organic food.
1) Cooking from scratch and eliminating processed foods from our diet has dramatically decreased our need to go visit the doctor. This saves us on co-payments for the doctor and medication. No one in my family is dependent on medication for illnesses due to poor diet such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes etc.
2) By shopping in bulk, the perimeter of the store, and avoiding processed foods, our grocery bill has not gone up and in fact I have noticed a decrease in our food spending. While cooking all of my own foods may take more preparation and planning than buying a frozen dinner, it is healthier, more cost effective and I know exactly what ingredients my family is eating.
3) Making my own laundry detergent and home cleaning products. While this saves us money, it also is better for our health and the environment. Making detergent is also quick to make, my 12 year old can make it in 5 minutes. If you are interested in making your own, I would be happy to share which products we use to make our laundry detergent.
4) Living a zero waste lifestyle we are very conscious of buying second hand items whenever possible. This is a huge money saver which allows us to manipulate more money into our food budget if needed.
5) "Couponing" has helped our family get the products we need at acceptable prices and often times even free. I started couponing a few years ago and it has dramatically changed the way we shop and helped us save hundreds of dollars on shopping expenses. While most food coupons are for processed foods, there are still some great coupons out there for the organic section at my local supermarket. Couponing doesn't only help us save money when it comes to buying groceries, either. It also helps us save on other expenses as well, for example: shampoo and conditioner, shaving cream and razors, feminine products, toothbrushes, and more. The best part is that with our advanced technology we can still cut back on waste by uploading the coupon to our smart phone and scanning our phone at the register, rather than printing out so many coupons and wasting paper.
Eating organic does not need to break the bank. It depends on how you budget your money and what is important to you. For us, eating food without pesticides, antibiotics, hormones and cage free is our priority. If eating healthier and being healthier is important to you, then these changes will become easier over time and you should start noticing a positive difference with your health and not your wallet.