Spend less but still eat organic? Any suggestions?

(15 Posts)
princesschick Wed 09-Jan-13 15:09:48

So, for various reasons we try and eat organic where possible. It's mainly to do with the treatment of animals for meat and because we had a bit of a scare last year when we thought I couldn't have children and we were advised to eat fresh and organic where possible. The only problem is the cost! Whilst it's sustainable for 2 of us and we really do prioritise our food bill over lots of other things, we have a baby on the way and it's going to be tough to do it on DHs part time job and SMP. Plus I have debts to clear before baby arrives in June, so we're starting our economy drive now.

We are moving into our new house soon(ish), which has a garden so I will be "trying" to grow my own veggies and fruits to save some money but I don't think I can grow enough to negate the weekly shop. I'm also not that great at gardening so I would worry about having to rely on my own produce!!

I think we're going to go over to an organic veg and fruit box when we move (currently at in laws with limited space) as it would appear that we have some great local suppliers who are cheaper than the supermarkets for veg, fruit and eggs but I just wondered if any of you other lovely resourceful mum's had any tips / recipes / knowledge that you could impart?

Thanks in advance

p.s. our garden is no way big enough for live stock, so we won't be rearing our own pigs / chickens!!!

Jayne266 Wed 09-Jan-13 15:52:26

An gunna watch this with interest as this is something I want to do as well. I have looked into multiple companies for organic fruit and veg and found one that offers 3 veg and 2 fruit for £12.50 a week. An lucky at the min as my DS is weaning and I am getting Ella's kitchen for him but I am trying to sort it put soon.

AdoraBell Wed 09-Jan-13 17:44:40

I'm probably out of touch, live abroad and organic is shiny and new here. The only thing I can think of is to eat less meat, get creative with veggie meals and be strict re portions, random snacks etc. Replace meat in some meals with lentils/beans. Good luck.

LadyKooKoo Wed 09-Jan-13 18:26:23

Hit the supermarkets around reduction times as there is always organic stuff being reduced, 2 chicken breasts from £6 to £2 is a regular in our local Tesco. Also, grow your own veg, it is a lot easier than you think. I started a few years ago and we grow tomatoes, lettuce, grean beans, carrots, parsnips and strawberries. Our garden is tiny but we are moving soon and I cannot wait to have a big garden with a huge veggie patch smile

PolkadotCircus Wed 09-Jan-13 19:37:10

Sorry it isn't possible.We used to be 100% organic,had the Riverford boxes,meat, tea everything etc.

Then we had children and it all had to go and you know what we don't notice the difference at all bar the fact our bills are half the price.It's simply unaffordable and Dp is on an allegeded decent salary.Even buying everything Sainsbos Savers and Lidle I still struggle to get our practically meat free food shop below £120 a week.

I still buy Ecover and organic beef but only free range chicken. I don't buy non organic grapes as they are apparently the worse non organic thing you can buy- we just don't buy have them.

All 3 kids are uber healthy.

Binfullofresolutionsfor10thjan Wed 09-Jan-13 19:43:15

I would then try and decrease my meat consumption, and stick to purchasing organic meat, as this is probably an area you'd want to continue.

Bulk out foods with lentils and beans which you could buy dried but still organic.

I have read that if you can't always eat organic veg then ensure you wash your veg in water with a tablespoon of white wine vinegar.

I'll try and dig out the link or book I read it in op.

Binfullofresolutionsfor10thjan Wed 09-Jan-13 19:46:07
1stMrsFrugal Wed 09-Jan-13 20:11:13

I prefer organic and have made some careful compromises to maintain that as far as possible whilst I've tried to reduce our food bill recently.

I buy less meat and some of it is not organic - lamb and chicken I buy from a local farm which is not certified organic, but I know that animal welfare and sustainable farming is a priority. More veggie meals, pulses and beans and veg to make meat go further. Tinned tomatoes, rice, pasta, bread is not organic, but all veg is.

I always buy organic milk, but I buy whatever brand is on special offer that week. Same with butter and cheese and yogurt for DCs.

I have to say that I have cancelled our veg box as I find that careful meal planning and buying the veg from Ocado is cheaper. However, it's close.

If you are looking at overall household shopping you can probably make other savings e.g. on toiletries, cleaning products and 'treats' and these savings can help pay for the foods you prioritise.

I have let things go as the DCs got older, e.g. I ate only organic when bf, they ate only organic when weaning (btw, find out about Baby Led Weaning in plenty of time, sharing your food with baby is much cheaper than ready made organic baby food) but now at 3, I'm prepared let more stuff go.

Stase Wed 09-Jan-13 21:34:33

Some things are more important to have organic that others, although I'm starting to lose the organic faith personally. Carrots and other roots are better organic, apples are a frequently sprayed crop so worth buying organic, and assume pears the same. Brassicas worth buying organic and they are so attractive to pests so heavily sprayed. Bananas and anything else you routinely peel are less of a concern in terms of pesticide residue. There's a 'dirty dozen' on line somewhere, will try and find it.

strumpetpumpkin Wed 09-Jan-13 21:36:48

i would only bother buying organic if its something you dont peel.

Stase Wed 09-Jan-13 21:37:26

[[ http://www.plum-baby.co.uk/2012/10/10/shop-organic-budget-dirty-dozen-clean-fifteen/ here ]]
Although its American, but maybe still relevant?

Stase Wed 09-Jan-13 21:38:40
princesschick Thu 10-Jan-13 06:58:24

Wow, thanks for all of your tips ladies. I guess we may just have to prioritise a few bits and bobs rather than doing the whole lot but lots of food for thought here smile I've found a local organic food producer who do a large veg box (11 - 13 items) for £15. I'll keep the dirty dozen in mind for fruit, I'll try and grow my own and I love the tip of padding out meat with pulses. We don't have snacks like crisps and biscuits and we're not big drinkers (well I'm tee total with baby on board but regularly go months without a glass of wine) so we save quite a bit there too. I didn't know supermarkets reduced the organic stuff bit chicken for £2 is amazing! Thanks all thanks

HearMyRoar Thu 10-Jan-13 14:15:13

If your planning a weekly box I would recommend getting a larger one every 2 weeks. It works out cheaper and because the fruit and veg is fresh it generally lasts well if you plan what you need to eat first. Also if you have a farmers market or good butchers near you then you can pick up cheap cuts of meat from local farmers which can work out much cheaper then buying in the supermarket. We generally spend about £10 on meat for 2.5 people for 2 weeks, which I think is pretty good.

I am currently more into buying from local producers and shops at the moment rather then focusing on organic but it does tend to overlap and also can prove more expensive then shopping at supermarkets (though not always!). I therefore try to buy less rather then cheaper and cook really efficiently.

MrsTwinks Thu 10-Jan-13 23:43:36

meat wise we use well hung and get a box monthly. Goes in the freezer fine and we dont buy any other meat really except the odd bit of bacon, we just occasionally get some game from the farmers market. I'm partial to rabbit as its so cheap! theres a jamie recipe that makes 20 portions of pasta sauce with one rabbit, and they only cost £3.50. We pretty much always have some of the box left at the end of the month.

Prioritise what you get organic in regards to pesticide levels etc. look into what its worth the extra for organic and think of that list when you can't get reduced items. I mainly get the meat/fish because its a quality thing, and some of stuff I don't bother get organic as the pesticides absorbed by some fruit and veg are minimal.

With the veg boxes if you can do check whats in the box each week and mix it up sometimes - alot of places do boxes that dont have potatos etc, and if like me you dont use them up every week they mount up, so keep an eye on that to minimise waste

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