Simla Somturk

Delicious Health LLC - Founder & Principal Coach
Ft Collins, CO

    Eating Organic on a Budget: Tips to Save & Savor (Part III of III)

    August 5, 2010

    In Part III of Eating Organic on a Budget, I wanted to give you a simple case study and comparison of organic vs. non-organic foods pricing to illustrate that eating organic does not always have to cost more.

    [If you missed the previous posts in this series, you can read Part I here and Part II here.]

    A mini case study:

    This is a really rough sketch of an example, but it may ring quite true to you. Let's say you have a busy job and a somewhat active social life. The likelihood is that you eat out or order in 6 days a week, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Conservatively, that calculates out to the following in a city like San Francisco:

    $6 breakfast + $12 lunch + $25 dinner = $43/day = $258/week = $1034/mo including 15% tips, not including delivery charges ~ and I'm not counting trips to Starbucks or snacks, or high quality organic foods - just your run-of-the-mill pastry/oatmeal/sandwich/salad/pad thai at decent restaurants - not McD's.

    At the other extreme, if you were to shop and cook exclusively at home for those six days a week, you'd probably spend about $180-250 a week in groceries shopping exclusively organics, exclusively at Whole Foods (been there). So, you could be saving about $8-78 a week, eating all organic.

    Then if you go a step further and follow the steps above, especially taking the CSA route, you'll be saving lots more! I've paid $25 for a large boxful ~ about 20 lbs ~ of organic, local, seasonal veggies from a local CSA before, and it comfortably lasted the two of us two weeks. $25!!! 20 pounds!!! TWO weeks!!! I probably shaved off another $80-100 off my grocery bill PER WEEK doing that. Try to achieve THAT at your conventional grocery.

    As a bonus, I've also provided the price comparison chart below for a selection of both organic and non-organic products across an "organic" supermarket and a more conventional supermarket chain. This chart was compiled by a client of mine in 2009.

    Item           $Conv. Store (organic) / $Conv. Store (non-organic) / $"Organic" Store
    1lb organic strawberries       5.99           4.99 (3.99 sale)       4.99
    4 oz carton organic blueberries       4.99         3.99                 4.99
    organic vine tomato                         3.99/lb        2.99/lb               1.99/lb
    organic Brauburn apples                   2.99/lb       1.99/lb                         2.49/lb
    organic cauliflower                          3.99 ea     2.49 ea                          4.99 ea
    organic bananas                              0.79/lb       0.59/lb                         0.79/lb
    organic steel cut oatmeal             not avail.   3.99 1lb box              3.39 1 lb box
    organic salsa                                  not avail.     2.99                                2.69
    Tilapia                                             7.99/lb           —-                           9.99/lb
    Halibut                                             not avail.      —-                               13.99/lb
    Evian water (1 liter)                         2 for $4 (on sale)                             1.89 ea (no sale)
    Whole wheat pasta                         1.99                            ----                      2.39
    Pasta sauce                 5.99             3.99                         2.39
    Organic chicken (3 breasts)          $8-10                             $8-11
    Organic beef (2 NY strips 1/2lb ea) $11.00        $10.00                           $10-12
    Organic grass fed beef                   not avail.      —-                          $15-18
    Organic milk                                   3.99               3.29
    Organic cage free eggs     3.99                                                 3.49

    Try it out for a couple of weeks. Write what you spend on food. Practice cooking at home using the tips I mentioned in the earlier posts, and compare it to your usual routine - whether you eat out or in, and see how it adds (or subtracts!) up.

    Happy organic eating!

    Read Simla's other blog entries >

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