So far, I have been slowing working towards my goal of saving tons o’ green (money, that is). As I’ve said earlier, I think that the two main areas of savings for us are groceries and utilities. Not that we have ever gone crazy with either one, but I think, nay, I KNOW, we can do better.
Unfortunately, a lot of us doing better on groceries is giving up our preference for organic and/or grass-fed foods. <sigh> This is a really hard one for me, because I’m breastfeeding, and I hate the thought that my beautiful little baby boy is ingesting nasty pesticides and chemicals in his little body. Especially since I know better: I have the “dirty dozen” of fruits and vegetables memorized; I’ve seen Food Inc. and other foodie-movement documentaries; read up on Michael Pollen and other food-industry books; and I have the unfortunate image of factory farms ingrained in my head whenever I walk past the meat section. (Not that I am a food purist – I’m not a vegetarian, and darn it if my favorite meal of all time is still a cheeseburger, fries, and shake).
Anyways, I really really want to go back to buying some organic foods, but the only way I can do is to go above and beyond. Multiple stores. Scouring the sales ads. Hitting up some bulk stores. Picking out what really matters, and letting other things slide. It may take a while, but my goal is to be back on 50% organic by the time Frankie starts solids (so, in about 2 months).
Last weekend, for the first time, my husband and I went to separate stores. He went to Valli, a locally-owned discount grocery store, and I strapped Frankie into a front carrier and set out for our local Jewel. Neither of us were looking out for organic foods, since I decided to start with a very small, albeit important goal: staying on budget.
Which we did! Under $100 for all the food we needed, and almost everything was fresh produce, meat, or good-for-you (like my greek yogurt). The frustrating part of moving from a natural store like Whole Foods to a traditional grocery store is that EVERYTHING around you is unhealthy. It took me 5 minutes to locate my fav greek yogurt, and the grass-fed organic meat that was supposed to be on sale? Gone. Not even available in that store.
And, just as Food, Inc. demonstrated, everything bad for you is super cheap and on sale. If I wanted the basis of my diet to be nothing but corn, I could have saved $50 easily. Or if I wanted to cook everything from the frozen section? Easily saved more money there. It makes me feel like I’m in battle against the corporations. Every purchase, every decision – does it have high fructose corn syrup? Is it on sale? Do I have a coupon? Where is it from? It’s enough to drive a woman batty.
In any case, at least we came in under budget, and had plenty of food to go around for the week. Next time, I want to focus more on trying to add organic onto the list, and I need to try other stores: Costco, Aldi maybe, Super Target. The battle continues…