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.
CMF’s favorite FREE money management tools!
Some of the best online tools out there for money management are at Personal Capital, and the awesome news is that they are all FREE! Cash flow tracker, 401(k) fee analyzer, investment checkup, net worth monitoring, and many more! I’m a net worth junkie, so the net worth monitor is my favorite. Check out my Personal Capital review here, or click here to check out all the awesome tools for yourself!
Photo credit: Konstanttin/Depositphotos.com