Organic products are increasing in popularity, and it is understandable why. They are more natural and do not contain the types of potentially harmful chemicals which can be found in, for example, synthetically produced skincare products. Still, when we look at the shelves and compare the prices of the two types of products, we often grab the synthetic ones. After all, how on earth can a family on a budget afford expensive organic skincare products when there are so many other things to buy, like diapers, school books, new shoes, etc?
Organic on a Budget
Luckily, there are some all-natural products out there with reasonable prices that can fit into every family’s budget. And the great news here is that many family essentials can be bought or made on the cheap.
There’s no denying that organic foods often come with a higher price tag than non-organic, depending on where you do your grocery shopping. However, it is possible to buy organic on a budget, if you plan your meals and purchases well.
- Organic vegetables are far cheaper than meat, so try to base your diet on them and small amounts of meat. You can find much more affordable vegetables if you buy them directly from the farmers on the local markets. Bonus tip: Farmers are highly likely to lower the prices at the end of the day.
- Dairy products can also be bought at markets or in some of the stores selling organic products. One way to get the most of the organic milk, for instance, is by mixing it with a little water.
- Frozen fruits and vegetables are often cheaper than fresh ones, but they can be just as naturally produced.
- Consider growing your own fruits and veggies! That way you will know exactly what goes into the growing process 🙂
Editor’s note: We made the switch to a mostly-organic diet almost two years ago, when our daughter was born. We experienced a bit of sticker shock the first time we went shopping for organic meat! As Peter suggests, we compensated by decreasing the amount of meat that our family eats. I had read The Blue Zones around the same time, and was starting to be more and more convinced that our bodies were not necessarily meant to consume such a meat-heavy diet anyway. We now eat meat (organic) maybe once a week, which we feel is healthier for us over the long term!
Skincare and Makeup
Organic or naturally-produced skincare products often cost more than their non-organic counterparts. However, who says you have to pay top dollar? There are options here to consider, including making some of your own products.
By the way, if you are wondering how big a deal this really is, check out the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, which rates popular skin care and cosmetic items based on their potential toxicity. (Fair warning: My first visit to this site resulted in me throwing out every tube of sunscreen in our house).
- Consider making some of your own skincare products. Check out this article to get started.
- Shop around online. For example, after I literally threw away every single tube of sunscreen in our home last year, I first figured out from the Cosmetics Database which brand of sunscreen I DID want to buy. Then I got busy on Google and shopped around until I found the absolute cheapest place online to buy it.
- Skip the add-ons. For example, it is often said that many eye creams have nearly the exact same ingredients as a typical facial moisturizer. So do you really need it?
- Many moms have praised 100 Percent Pure’s organic guide for nourishing their skin during the winter months. You can also use the guide to discover ‘green’ essentials for skin and hair care.
Many conventionally produced cleaning products are filled with toxic ingredients. I became much more aware of this when our daughter was born in 2014, and have since then tried to make an effort to decrease the amount of chemicals in our home. My opinion is that if it’s not in the house, then it’s not around for little people to be exposed to or want to get into.
- Steam cleaners are a great investment, because you only buy them once and use many times, without spreading any dangerous chemicals
- Try baking soda for cleaning the rugs, tub, tile and grout (it does not get any cheaper!)
- Olive oil + white vinegar + lemon juice for polishing the furniture
- Here’s a great article to get you started on making other cleaning supplies
- Re-evaluate whether certain chemicals are even needed. For instance, I stopped using dishwasher detergent over a year ago. We pre-rinse our dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. I think the hot water and steam clean them sufficiently during the cycle. So far my dishes do not seem to care a bit. 🙂
Ideally, everything that comes in touch with our skin and the skin of our kids should be produced naturally to avoid any risk of the skin absorbing toxic chemicals over time.
- Organic cotton clothes can be found in small local businesses.
- Organic cotton can be found in stores selling different fabrics. The cheaper way sometimes can be to sew your own clothes.
- Many consignment stores have a lot of eco-friendly clothes, the only trick is that you may need to dig through the piles of other clothes to find what you need.
- Amazon also has a wide selection of organic clothes, and you can try with other online retailers.
The great news is that organic products are now starting to become more mainstream. As a result, many manufacturers and companies are realizing this and are starting to lower prices due to increased need and growing competition. My hope is that within the next few years there will be less and less of a price difference, as more and more families recognize the health benefits of organic and naturally-produced products.
Do you think organic products are worth the extra cost? What types of organic products are you using in your home? Can you think of other ways to go organic on a budget?
About the Author: Peter Minkoff is a lifestyle writer for My Voice Boks magazine. Some of his favorite topics to write about are family life, organic living, and homemaking.
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Rob @ Money Nomad says
Organic isn’t cheap! It’s one of those battles I constantly have – to pay double, or risk some sort of disease/cancer in the future. lol. Thanks for the tip about prices dropping later in the day, I’ll have to keep that in mind.
Glad you found it useful! Thanks for stopping by!
I agree that going organic can come with a HUGE sticker shock. That’s a great tip about farmer’s markets and expecially the idea to swing by at the end of the day. Makes total sense 🙂
I know, I love that tip too! I am totally trying that one out this summer!
a woman says
Buy less, use less. This give the chance to use organic products.
For food, there are some vegetable i can grow in containers, but there are eatble plants (weeds) that can find in the forests: these are fresh and organic and costs =0..
Last summer we began growing some of our own veggies, and it really helped with cost. Plus, it’s fun and a great way to get our young daughter outdoors playing in the dirt!
James Pollard says
I’m so thankful to live in area that has fresh, organic food. It wasn’t always that way – I used to be in what’s called a “food desert”. Aka nothing but fast food and junk food. it really is amazing to see the difference that real food makes with the way you feel. So much more energy!
I completely agree, James!
Jaime @ Jaime Donovan says
I switched to organic awhile back. You only get ONE body. If I ever have kids all they will know is an organic life. I even buy acetone-free polish remover and try to look for cruelty-free products (a whole other topic in itself). Granted there are times when you can’t always eat organic, but you can try as much as possible.
We have definitely found that it’s not always possible, but we try to as much as we can. I think this is easier in some parts of the US (and the world!) than others, though.
This is something that I constantly go back and forth with. I’ve settled upon working to find the root of the issue and . For example, if I’m concerned that eating beef isn’t great for my health or the environment, then I try to eat a lot less beef, rather than trying to tinker at the edges by going organic. My exception is eggs, which my fiancee has convinced me to go cage-free with. Given that cage-free is about 7 cents more per egg, the difference is something I’ll deal with 🙂
We try to eat strictly organic with meat, eggs, and dairy. Other things I will sometimes make an exception on, depending on how great the price difference is, or if I can even find an organic option for some things.
Kalen Bruce says
Yes! More veggies, less meat! This has been a huge help for our budget and our diet. I plan a very simple diet for my family that includes a lot of veggies, a decent but not large portion of meat, and a few carbs (usually brown rice, sweet potatoes, etc.). We try to buy as much organic as we can. It’s usually cheaper in Oklahoma to buy from framers markets for organic. Very thorough tips!
We live further north, so farmers markets only take place from probably June-October, but we take advantage of them as long as we can! I think there are huge benefits to buying local, and an added bonus is that it’s often organic!
Thias @It Pays Dividends says
We shopped around at different stores until we found one that had better prices than others. Sometimes we are even able to find organic vegetables for the same price as non-organic! We still don’t do it 100% but we do it a lot more now that we found a good store to purchase from.
But it is almost farmers market season so that is where we shine! haha
Love farmer’s market season!
Abigail @ipickuppennies says
When I do bother to clean, I mainly use vinegar or baking soda. Backing soda is also a decent face wash. Plus it’s a natural exfoliant. I’ve heard some people swear by coconut oil as a moisturizer.
I love using baking soda and vinegar to clean the garbage disposal. Super cheap and no chemicals! Plus it’s fun to watch it foam 🙂
Carey @wiserdollar.com says
Thanks for the post. One other thought is that when it comes to food items, Costco is carrying more and more organic products and they tend to be more reasonably priced then at health food stores.
Thanks for the tip! That’s an awesome option. I wish I lived in an area that has a Costco!!
Finance Solver says
Thank you for the tips! I went to Trader Joe’s and bought a lot of organic food there for a really great price. I ate half of what I usually eat and the organic foods filled me up a lot faster than other grocery stores I’ve tried.. I think I’m going to start getting hooked on organic!
Carey @wiserdollar.com says
Nice article Dee. An additional cost saving strategy is simply to shop at Costco, who carries a surprisingly large amount of organic products, and their prices are more economical than most health food stores.
I’ve heard that! I wish I lived in an area that had one. Lucky for those who do!
Just went more organic about a year ago, and man – talk about sticker shock! But now even Cosco, HEB, and others are stocking organic. I didn’t know about the “shopping later” tip though, a good one. We don’t have a farmer’s market real close by, and the one about 10 miles from home, must know they are the only one! WAY too expensive.
Although I grow most of my own veggies (gardened all my life), I’m just cutting back on a few things to be able to eat organically.
Same here, we reassessed our food priorities when we went mostly organic. For us that basically meant that we started eating more vegetarian meals since organic meat is crazy expensive. But that’s ok because we feel that we are eating much healthier now, in more ways than one!