One way to increase your organic grocery budget is to lessen your other household costs. You may look around and think, “what else can I possibly cut?” When you starting adding up little savings here and there, by the end of the month, they can turn out to be lots of savings. For example, do you buy coffee every morning on your way to work? Even a $1.00 cup of joe from the convenience mart turns out to be over $20.00 per month. Honestly, we all know most of you aren’t buying your coffee THERE. Triple that cost.
Here are a few suggestions that may help you afford healthier foods:
- Eating Out: Do you know how much eating out you do each month? I bet it’s more than you think. Just for kicks, keep all of your receipts and add them up: restaurants, coffees, snacks, everything that is not included in your weekly groceries. I have found that once you make the decision to start eating more organic, you don’t WANT to eat out due to the lack of food quality. During the month of January, we ate out ONE time…ONE TIME…consisting of tacos my husband picked up at a little authentic Mexican place we’ve been wanting to try.
- Reduce Fuel Costs: First of all, eliminate unnecessary trips. Do you really need to go to the post office today or can it wait until tomorrow when you have to get groceries anyway? Make a conscious effort to combine your trips. I will typically mail letters, drive through the bank and return movies all on the way to my son’s piano lessons. Also, if the weather is nice enough, it’s free to walk or bike. With talk of gasoline hitting $4.00 per gallon, my bicycle is looking mighty nice about now.
- Save on household items: Try your best to save money on the items that you typically buy anyway. Use coupons and sales to get free toothpaste or discounted toilet paper. Household and personal hygiene items are the easiest products on which to save money. There are always coupons galore waiting to be clipped and used. If you are able, learn to play the “Drugstore Game” to get most of these items for pennies or free. Everyone is an initial skeptic, but I’ve been doing it for few years and it works…you just have to learn.
- Stretch your foods: With the cost of organic foods, you definitely don’t want any waste. Get creative and learn how to stretch your foods to the fullest extent. Baking a whole chicken tonight? If there are leftovers, turn the scraps into chicken pasta salad. After that, boil the carcass with some spices for an organic homemade chicken broth. Freeze it for another time or make soup. Now, you don’t have to buy the MSG ridden broth from the store and you just saved yourself some money.
- Check your bills: Are you able to go paperless and “green” with your bill statements? Some companies, like our cable company, will offer a discount if you will receive ebills. I have done this with almost all of our bills now. It’s so much easier too with no stress of paper clutter laying around. How about condensing your bills? Most insurance companies will give discounts for combining house and car insurance. Do you still need a land line phone? We got rid of ours years ago. With two cell phones, internet, etc., people know how to reach us. If you do still have a home phone, check your bill for third party additions. I had to call, remove and reverse charges on my work bill just this week. I don’t know how they are authorized to add extra services, but they do. Check your statements for services that you don’t use. Do I really need to pay $2 per month on my cell bill for an itemized call statement? I’ve never even looked at it before. Do you need the cable movie channel package when everyone watches Netflix movies anyway? How about that water bill? Make sure your faucets and toilets aren’t leaking, limit shower times or buy a rain barrel for summer watering. Bills can be sneaky. Sort through them one by one and see what you can do.
The entire Affording Organics series: