How We Plan to Buy Organic Produce on a Budget

As I mentioned earlier today, we have a lot of debt to pay off.  However, I also have a great deal of weight to lose, and I want to do it in a healthy manner.

Recently we have been receiving organic produce delivered to our house for $56 a week.  (We get 25 pounds of produce, so it averages out to $2.25 a pound.  You can see a recent delivery here.)

When my husband and I looked at the budget last weekend, he expressed concern over weekly deliveries at a cost of $224 a month.  I understand his concern, but I also know that having this produce fill up our refrigerator motivates me to find new, healthy ways to cook so I make sure to use up the veggies and not waste them.  I would probably never buy this much produce at the grocery store, so we have been eating several more fruit and veggie servings a day than we used to.

To keep us both happy, I plan to have the organic produce delivered to our home 3 weeks of the month.  During those three weeks, I will freeze whatever extra I have.  (I received kale a few weeks ago, and half of it is in our freezer.  I also received broccoli this week, and I plan to blanch it and freeze it for future use.)  If I put a little aside in the freezer for each of the 3 weeks of delivery, I should have quite a bit for the off week when we don’t get a delivery.  Also, I can round out our veggie servings that week with cheap, non-organic frozen veggies.

In addition, I have just joined Costco and plan to bulk buy our rice, soy and almond milk purchase.  The prices for those milks are much lower at Costco.  So, I am hoping to spend $168 a month on the organic produce, $75-$100 a month on bulk supplies at Costco such as our milks and large bags of flour and yeast for homemade bread and oatmeal for breakfasts, and the remaining $100 to $130 for use at traditional grocery stores.  Hopefully, using this strategy I will be able to feed my family healthy, nourishing, homemade foods and drop our grocery bill a little.

Readers, what are your favorite ways to save on healthy staples and produce?

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Comments

  1. I’ve had varying success with freezing fruits and vegetables. For example, berries freeze great (for smoothies), and I freeze broccoli for broccoli soup. But we don’t freeze Green peppers (though I’m sure you could).

    • I love freezing berries and we also freeze red and green peppers. They are good to use in soups in the winter.

  2. Hey there! I saw this post tweeted and had to pop over and read it. I just recently (since Oct 2010) lost 40+ pounds pretty much doing simple things like you are mentioning in your post. My main strategy has been to prepare my foods ahead of time and freeze them (if need be). I ALWAYS buy in bulk cook up large batches of rice, bread, pizza dough, beans, meals, etc and freeze for future meals. Buying in bulk allows me to purchase more organic at cheaper prices.

    Having a plan is key to weight loss. And I also notice a decrease in our grocery bill because of this as well.

    Good luck to you and I look forward to reading about your progress.

    Tammy @ Skinny Mom’s Kitchen

  3. You might consider reducing your meat consumption in favor of beans. Healthy and cheap swap.

    Look into CSA farms in your area to see if you can find a cheaper alternative for your organic produce. A couple years ago we participated in a CSA and I believe our share was $450 for a 4 month season and it provided more produce than the two of us could possibly eat in one week even with 50-75% of our plates being veggies!

    Also, some produce items have a bigger difference between organic and non-organic than others. Maybe you can selectively reduce which items you buy organic to save a little. See: http://www.organic.org/articles/showarticle/article-214

    • Thanks, NoDebt MBA. I looked into CSA this year, but I did it a few weeks ago, and most were already full. I am going to look into them much earlier next year!

  4. wow ~ where do you find out if your city/area has organic produce delivery options? that would be wonderful for us!

    • We live in the suburbs of a large, metro area, so I am sure that helps. You might try typing in organic delivery and your city to see if you can find anything. I found this current company through a Mamapedia deal.

  5. I go to our local farmer’s market where I am able to purchase locally, organic grown produce for basically nothing. Last week I purchased peaches $1/lb and Oranges $2/ 6lbs.. We literally buy bags and bags full of fresh fruits and veggies for less than $50 a week. We are in California so I feel like fresh food is pretty readily available.

    We are also growing peppers, tomatoes, watermelon, various herbs, etc in our backyard garden.

    • Wow, that is terrific. I have heard that CA is great for produce. I went to our farmer’s market last year, and everything was very expensive. We also tried to grow some green peppers in our back yard last year and the year before, but they never really grow. We end up with about 10 peppers that are about two inches tall. Unfortunately, I am not exaggerating!

  6. We use farmer’s markets and Costco. We have become huge fans of salads, raw vegetables and fruits. I am not sure which came first the good tasting food or the healthy outlook. We have been doing this for a very long time,

  7. what a great idea, I would look at it this way: you will probably save yourself $200+ a month in health costs or a gym membership! There are some delivery options here but I haven’t considered them yet since I am running kids around all. the. time. I never thought about how it might help me force healthy meals on us though…good idea!

  8. I buy lots of organics @ Costco: frozen broccoli, bagged apples, even ground beef. And their Kirkland brand organic salsa is fantastic. We go through a ton of it.

  9. What a great idea, to skip the delivery one week and eat what you’ve frozen. Last year a neighbor and I shared a slightly larger weekly delivery of organic produce and that saved some money. The cost was about 25% more for the large box but it was plenty for both of us. Just a thought. Great post!

    • Good tip, Eliza. With 5 of us, we can go through most of the produce, but for smaller families, sharing would be perfect.

  10. I didn’t realize you could freeze kale. I made kale potato chips the other day. Just baked it with a little olive oil and season salt. :) Yum!

  11. Very good practice to freeze and preserve your produce for later consumption. Keeping it in the crisper might eventually lead to throwing some out due to spoilage.

    Our organic produce comes from the backyard garden. Unfortunately, farmers markets in our area are inconveniently located out of the way downtown or across the river.

  12. Sounds like a good plan. I agree with No Debt MBA. Reducing meat consumption is a great way to cut costs.
    We belong to a CSA and we grow our own veggies. Between the two we get quite a good supply of organic produce.

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