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Does anyone manage to buy organic/free-range/local etc. on a budget?

(16 Posts)
1789 Tue 19-Feb-13 17:27:53

As the saying goes, pay for real food now or pay your doctor later (or pay with your health). There are 4 of us and quite a tight budget, but we eat pretty much all organic, using cheaper cuts of meat etc (lots of stews and slow cooking) and I've had to learn to love the taste of liver (my one year old thinks its great and I'm hoping he doesn't change his mind anytime soon)!

I haven't been to a supermarket in over a year - I source everything from local organic butcher, veg box schemes, farmers markets and ethical for things like rice, nuts, peanut butter, sponges, laundry soap etc and I constantly ask questions about provencance, pasture, what the animals eat, how much room they have etc. It takes a bit more time, but I really enjoy getting to know everybody and I felt very smug when the horsemeat scandal broke out!

Also, definitely cloth nappies for night - super easy (although if your child isn't used to them, you might have to sneak them on when they're sleeping) and white vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice for cleaning the house!

jenduck Tue 19-Feb-13 10:48:39

We have a very small food budget & manage to buy a fair amount of food locally.

Visit any farm shops that are near you. Quite often they are cheaper & some may even have animals for your 3 year old to look at!

As the weather gets a little better, places like car boot sales often have fruit & veg sellers.

Contact farms/farmers direct for whole animals to freeze. We got a whole lamb (butchered into the various cuts) for £90 from a farm about 2 miles away from us. It was great as we got everything including heart, kidneys etc. There was a total of about 25 meals for 2 adults & 2 small DC (4 & 1)

In the summer, maybe ask around local allotments if anybody wants to sell excess crops.

Again in summer/autumn, forage! We have a park nearby that produces apples, blackberries, elderberries & plums.

Grow your own!

For organic or free-range, check out supermarkets at reduction times. Our dinner last night included a pack of outdoor bred pork mince, which was reduced to 44p at Tesco when I went in at 7pm last Friday.

bekind Fri 15-Feb-13 16:00:18

Well done for giving it a go. I do some of these things very well and some....not so. I'm a planning more packed lunches for the kids because of concerns about the quality of some school lunches so will be paying better attention to budget, quality and sourcing of food. Although expensive (at about £12) I buy an organic chicken once a week - we roast it and have with veg n spuds for one meal, I strip the carcass and we have the meat either in sandwiches or on top of salad for another meal, make stock for soup ( we grow our own potatoes and leeks amongst other stuff so usually have something to make soup with). So, yes, expensive but also good value and tastes flipping excellent. My other tip would be to use your freezer to stock up when things you use are on offer, or when they're discounted eg some veg freezes well, bread does too.

VirtualAssistant2011 Thu 14-Feb-13 14:24:08

I have decided to give it a go, I went to my nearest butcher today and got 5 sausages and 5 slices of bacon for just under £5.00. And a lovely loaf of bread and potatoes from the local farm shop. Lets hope I can keep to £60 by the end of the week!

Hoaz Wed 13-Feb-13 11:07:19

We spend about £80, but there are four of us including a bottomless teenager. I think it should be possible for 2 adults and a small child (not sure about pull-ups)

I get a fortnightly veg box, around £15 from Riverford

I buy organic meats from High Hacknell. It is undoubtedly expensive, but a freezer full lasts ages, I only buy about twice a year.

I haven't been able to find anywhere locally that makes this possible on a budget.

My basic feeding the family plan is a joint on a Sunday which will then make 2 further meals with the addition of lots of veg. e.g this week was beef, followed by stirfry and spag bol. Next week will be chicken, followed by chicken biryani and chicken noodle soup (with sweetcorn and greens)

For other meals we will have tinned or frozen fish (not organic), eggs or vegetarian with probably only one other meaty meal (sausages or mince from the meat box)

Lentils are your friend, you can make mince or left overs go twice as far, no-one notices they're there and you can buy for pennies (I admit mine aren't organic)

We have a lot of porridge and I bake a lot.

I never buy, breakfast cereals, cakes, crisps, anything individually wrapped. I do buy cheap biscuits but never anything fancy. (no-one goes without, but they'll be homemade)

For cleaning products I use only washing up liquid, vinegar, economy bleach for the toilet blush and Lidl washing liquid for clothes.

Toiletries all come from Lidl, so not organic, but you have to make some choices. Lovely "Pantene" shampoo 75p and perfectly good shower gel c.38p. I always got nappies from Lidl too and found them excellent, but no recent experience.

I find that actually buying "food" i.e. things that make a meal is a small proportion of most people's weekly shopping bill. It's the extras that we don't really need and which aren't good for us anyway that make it all add up.

Wallison Wed 13-Feb-13 10:48:26

I find that for some things, shopping locally is cheaper than going to a supermarket but then we have a brilliant market in town where I can pick things up in my lunch break. Sometimes the price difference can be quite astonishing. For eg I love samphire and usually when I'm buying fish, will get a couple of generous handfuls of it from the fish stall for 25p. I saw some in Tesco the other day and it was £1.50 for about a quarter of what I get! I always buy organic meat and free range eggs, but I'm afraid that for me sticking to a budget is more important than getting organic fruit and veg, especially when the stuff on the market often comes from local producers - there is one stall where they only sell their own produce.

VirtualAssistant2011 Wed 13-Feb-13 10:46:05

* grate not great lol!

VirtualAssistant2011 Wed 13-Feb-13 10:44:54

Buying free range or organic dairy and meat and the veg locally I think sounds like what I am looking to achieve. And maybe keep aldi for the basics like baked beans, tinned tomatoes etc. The meat and veg is so cheap in aldi though I am just worried if I try local this week I will go totally over budget (I did an organic shop in tesco last year as I wanted to start buying all organic and spent 2 weeks budget in one week which was a disaster!!).

I just worked out I spend about £10 a week on cheese!!!! And quite a bit on yoghurts. Maybe I should look at a yoghurt maker and bread maker? It is a shame they do not do cheese makers!! My DD loves cheese and so do I! Maybe I should start greating it to go further..... I buy a lot of mozzerella and feta too I guess I could great those too. I like DD eating it though as she does not like milk.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 13-Feb-13 10:35:31

No.... I buy organic dairy products and free-range eggs but that's where it ends. Generally, I think it's more important to buy seasonal (because it's cheaper and hasn't travelled so far) than be slavishly organic and, if money is tight, conventionally produced food is perfectly safe and acceptable.

VirtualAssistant2011 Wed 13-Feb-13 10:34:58

That blog sounds helpful, I will take a look now....

I will check out the frugal cleaning threads, I get through a lot of cleaning stuff so that sounds interesting.


gingerpinz Wed 13-Feb-13 10:15:54

It could be done, but depends a bit on what shops/markets etc you have available. Have you seen this blog? A family of 3 shop locally for £50 a week.

dinkystinky Wed 13-Feb-13 10:14:33

There are certain fruits/vegetables which are more important to have as organic - eg. those where you eat the skins. If you peel them, then no need to have organic.

You could scale back with cleaning products - white wine vinegar, soda crystals/powder are amazing cleaning agents and v cheap. Take a look at the frugality threads.

Personally I would buy organic meat where possible, free range eggs, certain organic fruit and veg (maybe look into veg box deliveries - may work out cheaper if you get a veg box once a fortnight) and stick with your non-organic basics elsewhere. And if you can, try making your own bread - it does indeed save alot in the long run.

VirtualAssistant2011 Wed 13-Feb-13 10:08:17

At the moment, we do not eat that much meat, one chicken a week, a pack of bacon and a pack of ham. We buy quite a lot of cheese, yoghurts and milk but these are all the cheap ones. We also eat fish twice a week but it is just the cheap aldi frozen plain ones. Maybe I will have to cut this back further, at the moment we have 3 vegetarian nights a week. Lunch is either left over chicken, ham or cheese with a salad for DP and in a sandwich for me and DD.

VirtualAssistant2011 Wed 13-Feb-13 10:04:44

I usually buy branded pull ups at £5.50 per 12 but have found some in lidyl for about £3.00 I think for 18 so that will make a bit of a saving. Where is the best place to get cheap cleaning products from? At the moment I get them all from aldi.

Wishihadabs Wed 13-Feb-13 09:48:11

I think it is possible, but you may have to cut back elsewhere (? Cheaper nappies ? Unbranded cleaner) You will probably have to eat less meat as well.

VirtualAssistant2011 Wed 13-Feb-13 09:42:47

I have a budget of £60 a week for two adults and a 3 year old. This includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for all 3 of us plus cleaning products, baby wipes and night time pull ups. I really want to start avoiding any packet food and cook everything from scratch (not sure if that is a bit ambitious with DC2 on the way?). I also want to start buying either local, free range or organic (or if poss all 3!). Is this possible on such a tight budget?

At the moment I buy free range eggs and chicken from aldi, but just basic ham, cheese, milk, yoghurts, veg etc.

If anyone can advise me if they buy local etc. on a tight budget I would be very grateful if you could advise me on how to do it!

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