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Hunt and Gather Organic Foods on a Budget

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We are living in an organic world, and I am an organic girl — sing along if you know the words. However, most people would read this title and think that I have more money to spend on food than the average family does. I don't, I just shop savvy. I know how hard it is to feed a family wholesome foods in today's tough economy. We have a healthy vibrant brood of five children, and they all seem to demand meals consistently day to day. Not to mention the snacking kids can do — that hits hard on any budget but especially for those who want to live organically.

For instance, if I head to my local market place at a certain time of morning I can be sure to find marked-down produce, meats and dairy items for lower than generic prices. Usually the products marked down are the high priced organic foods most people cannot fit into a family budget as well. An example here, one day for my shopping trip I purchased 14 boxes of organic strawberry yogurt tubes. Each box had 12 tubes of strawberry flavored yogurt, which typically costs $3.69 a box. Pre-sale for those 14 boxes I would have paid $51.66. However, I paid just $14 for all $14 boxes — saving me $37.66! Yogurt tubes freeze wonderfully and make a nice afternoon snack or even a school snack which won't spoil before lunchtime. If you want to save even more on that yogurt deal, you can find coupons in healthy living style magazines which can be used on those products. So let's say I have coupons for $0.50 off per box–you can see how much more I would have saved! ($44.66 if you want me to do that math for you)

Another place to look is at the same marketplace but at the marked down dry goods area. It is usually in the same spot in most markets, some place outback near an exit or by a shadowed portion of the store we don't normally travel in. Yet, you will surely find me there looking over the boxes and bottles for a deal I cannot pass up. I have found organic cereal, sauces, dried fruits and even health and beauty aids marked down to almost 90% of the original asking price. That, my avid health lover, is a great deal!

Internet shopping! I love to look over the deals we can find on Amazon for organic food products. If you have tried to eat gluten free you know how pricey some organic flours can cost at specialty stores. Amazon runs clearance deals as well as package deals where buying one item saves on a different item as well. They also allow you to save 15% off a grocery item if you "subscribe" to that delivery. You can surf page after page of organic foods on their site; again, it just takes some time to find the right deals.

Another way to eat organic on a budget is to just use the home grown items we will soon see cropping up — pun intended — on road side stands in the next few months. A lot of the farms in my area do grow their foods organically and I stock up on them during the seasons they are here. You may can them, freeze them, dry them or even prepare them in meals to be eaten later. Last summer I was buying vegetables for $0.18 a pound. Organically grown fruit and vegetables for under 20 cents is a huge bargain for everyone. Not to mention the taste of freshly grown produce allowed to develop in clean soil under the love of the sun is far more appealing than the mass produced, grown under sun lamps and flash frozen foods we are used to eating all winter long.

While I know a lot of people don't consider the time I spend looking for food to be a good use of time it has saved us hundreds of dollars and has given us a chance to try some foods we would not normally validate spending the money on. I like to consider this the modern way we can hunt and gather to feed our family.

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About Maureen Jeanson

  • Lynne A

    I also like to hit the local odd-lots type store. Lots of times they have insane deals on organic canned and dry goods. (They also have a lot of the more exotic ingredients I can’t find elsewhere in this rural community.)