Wednesday, April 2, 2014

10 Tips For Cleaning + Eating Organically Without Going Broke

It seems like the very first thing anyone brings up when I say we only eat organic is money. Since I'm a stay at home mom with three little ones (another thing everyone always asks is how we can afford to have kids…that's a whole other post), and my husband is clearly not a millionaire, it's assumed that we are being absurd. I used to be an avid coupon shopper and get tons of junk food and chemical laden household items for free or very cheap. BUT, what do you do when the products you now WANT to buy are much more expensive than the products you could get coupon shopping but no longer feel comfortable using? Hopefully I'll be able to help answer those questions and let you see how you can still eat what you want, use the products you want, and not break the bank.

10 Tips For Cleaning + Eating Organically Without Going Broke

BUDGET + USE CASH OR DEBIT -- While this sounds silly, or maybe some of you only have a debit card, for those who frequently use credit cards, it's way too easy to overspend. When you purposefully use cash or a debit card knowing it's coming straight out of your account, you will spend more wisely, and believe me you'll think a little harder about what you're putting into your cart.

MEAL PLANNING -- Have you ever run to the store, grabbed a few things, and ended up leaving thinking; "what in the world did I buy that cost $125?" Then three days later you're running by the grocery store again because you're out of food & you need something for dinner? I've been there. More than once. Meal planning has saved my life. When you get your stores ad's, meal plan that day after you've looked through the flyer and seen what's on sale. By planning your meals around seasonal fresh fruits and veggies, you're always getting the best deal. Does it take more work? Yes. In the moment, it does, but think of the time you save not going out again and the money you save by utilizing your ingredients!

STICK TO YOUR LIST -- This falls in line with meal planning. When you know what you're making for dinner every single night, and you've got your list of ingredients to buy, you sweep past those pesky packaged cookies or frozen pizza's (but hey they were organic, right?) with ease knowing that you're only getting what's on the list. Abstain if it's not an absolute NECESSITY. I know it's sometimes hard to make the call because those fresh flowers are so pretty, or that organic hand soap smelled so good or you just don't feel like making dinner tonight….. We have all bought unnecessary items. When do you conclude that you don't absolutely need it if it wasn't on your list? Take a moment while shopping to put the item in question down. Finish up your shopping, and only return to that item if you still think that it's a must. I usually never make it back when I do this.

PREPARE IN ADVANCE -- When Friday rolls around and you peek at the calendar realizing that the weekend is all of the sudden PACKED with errands, sports & family fun, you are most assuredly not going to have time to make dinner! Even if you do get home in time, you just won't feel like preparing a meal. Use those days you ARE home with not much going on to prepare! Make a lasagna to stick in the fridge for Saturday night. Pre-cut a bunch of veggies and put them in ziplock bags as a quick snack to grab when you're on your way out the door. This will keep you from hitting the drive-thru. One meal eating out for my family is anywhere from $20-$30 on average. It adds up fast considering I could have gotten and entire day and a half of meals and snacks for that amount for my entire family had we used the money on groceries.

BEWARE OF THE LABLE "ORGANIC" WITH PROCESSED FOOD -- Why did I pay $4.79 for a bag of gluten free organic rice chips? Because our brains automatically think "healthy" when we see them. All of the sudden my cart is filling up with 4oz bags of snacks that promise they're good for you (but seem to disappear in one sitting), and three day's later the kids are begging for snacks because they're hungry. When you avoid processed food altogether (YES, EVEN ORGANIC!), you're INSTANTLY saving money. Instead, use the whole foods you've already purchased for your meals by creating snacks around them that are homemade, healthy and already available. Try Sweet + Salty Cinnamon "Kettle Corn", Zucchini Hummus + fresh veggies, Almond Pulp Cinnamon Raisin Crackers, Green Smoothie, Vegan Strawberry Milkshake, or Peanut Butter + Jelly Cookies to name a few. The possibilities are endless!

SHOP SALES AND STOCK UP WHEN IT'S ON SALE -- This may seem like a no brainer, but it's a huge part of how I save money. This can also be done with with cleaning supplies. Keep your eyes peeled for your favorite brands and take advantage when you see them on sale for a good price, even if you don't immediately need them. I've gotten killer deals on cleaning supplies by grabbing them when they're marked down so I don't have to pay full price when I run out. Did you know that a few times a year even stores like Whole Foods will have amazing deals on organic meats? I've gotten organic grass fed ground beef for $3.99-$4.99 a pound at my local Whole Foods & Sprouts. When it's that low, stock up! We made the decision to purchase a deep freezer last year so we always have room to utilize. It's been a fantastic investment for us and we've been able to store ground beef, whole chickens, roasts, steaks and all sorts of things when they're on sale! We also made the decision to purchase a quarter cow which has been amazing! It has and will continue to save us tons of money between sales so we aren't paying top dollar for organic meat while waiting for the next time the price is low.

MAKE NUTRIENT DENSE FOODS THAT GO A LONG WAY -- One big pot of my crock pot white beans makes our meals go a lot further! We eat them as a side dish with tacos, make white bean chili, have them with our eggs for breakfast & eat them for lunch when there aren't leftovers. Quinoa and long grain brown rice are other great staples that are cheap and readily available organic!

UTILIZE STORE COUPONS -- Did you know that most stores put out their own coupons? Even better is that most stores will also take a manufacturer coupon on top of their store coupon! This is a fantastic way to save extra money!  I really enjoyed this post How To Shop At Whole Foods Without Spending Your Whole Paycheck. Great tips and tricks for those of you who want to shop there or who haven't because you think it's too expensive! I myself shop there frequently because there are certain organic products that are actually cheaper than other places! They also do fantastic sales and one day deals that you can keep your eyes peeled for.

DIY -- I don't know if you've noticed, but DIY is kind of a big deal. While this seems like a lot of fun, and pinterest is literally exploding with DIY ideas, this is actually a most practical concept, and I hate to break it to you, but it's not new. I'm pretty sure before Target came into the world women were making their own laundry soap, toothpaste and deodorant. It's ok if you're not the Little House on the Prairie type, you can do it. I believe in you. Check out this post titled 25 Best Natural Cleaning Formula's, and this one called Make These 36 DIY Cleaning Products For Pennies. I use baking soda and vinegar for EVERYTHING!

COMPARISON SHOP -- While sometimes it's NOT worth driving to another store for a cheaper price, it most definitely can pay off when you plan accordingly. Don't make a special trip to a different store if the payoff is only $1. But if you have 10 items you know for a fact are much cheaper at a different store or that particular store is having a great sale that week, count the cost! If it's worth it, you are able to save a lot of money by using this method with groceries and cleaning + toiletry items alike.

Hopefully you feel empowered to get out there and save! Feel free to share any tips and tricks you use that have been helpful to you! xo

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