This is one of the first excuses I hear from people as to why they won’t eat organic. They say it’s too expensive and they could never afford to feed their families on organic food.
A lot of the times defenders of organic food will focus on the fact that eating organic is an investment for your health(which it is) and that people should think about the cost of getting major diseases like cancer and heart disease (which they should).
I think that is a valid argument (which is why I offered the evidence here) and people really should prioritize their health and the food they eat much higher in their lives.
But my question is:
Is the argument that people can’t afford organic even true?
How much do you spend going out to eat?
I always find this argument funny considering the way most people spend their money.
How often do you buy a cup of coffee?
Americans spend an average of $2.70 for a cup of coffee and usually tip the change which makes it around $3.
So that’s $21 a week, $84 a month, and $1,008 a year you spent ON COFFEE.
How often do you buy a meal for lunch at work? How often do you get fast food?
The average fast food meal is around $6 while the average lunch at a sit down restaurant averages at $10.
So let’s go with $8 (although most people spend more than that).
The average cost of eating out for lunch every work day is $4o a week, $160 a month, and $1,920 a year.
How often do you go out to dinner?
The statistics I looked at say that the average cost of eating out for dinner is around $40, although when I go out to dinner with 2 adults and 1 kid it ends up usually around $50 (not including tip).
So let’s be very conservative and say you go out to dinner once a week. That’s $50 a week, $200 a month, and $2400 a year.
So let’s combine the coffee, eating out for lunch everyday, and out to dinner once a week.
This comes out to $111 a week, $444 a month, and $5,328 a year.
These numbers don’t even include all the random stuff people buy at convenient stores like soda, candy, and other various snacks.
Making coffee at home, bringing lunch to work, and going out to dinner less often will save you a bunch of money right off the bat. The story doesn’t end there though.
How much does the average American spend on entertainment?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American spends $2,827 on entertainment a year and depending on the income bracket it could be higher.
So you can’t afford to eat organic food so that you and your family live healthier lives, but you can afford to spend almost $3,000 a year to entertain yourself with movies, video games, music, concerts, amusement parks, and TV shows to shut your mind off and dumb yourself down? (If you combine the money spent on entertainment with the money spent on eating out, you get over $8,000 a year)
I’m not saying you shouldn’t ever do anything fun, but you could look at how excessive your spending is in this area and find better, cheaper, and healthier alternatives.
Why not go hiking or biking on some local trails? Why not visit some local attractions that don’t cost any money? Why not go camping in the backyard? Why not get creative and make your own forms of entertainment?
Cutting down on entertainment spending is another easy step you can take to be able to afford organic food.
How do you grocery shop?
Another part of the answer depends on how you grocery shop.
If you go to the grocery store with no plan and just toss whatever items look tasty to you in the cart, chances are you will be spending more money than you should be on food that is terrible for you. You need to have a plan before you go shopping. This is very simple to do.
Make a list of meals you will be eating for the week. Some of you might think this is common sense, but there are many out there who don’t understand this. Planning out your meals will help you to save money by avoiding unnecessary purchases bought on a whim.
Think about exactly what you and your family will eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 7 days. Write down all the meals and then write down all the individual ingredients and products you will need to buy in order to make those meals.
After you get that list done, then you can think of any snacks you may want to get to fill in the gaps. This will prevent you from buying a bunch of random snacks and convenience foods that you don’t need.
So if you just go to the grocery store and stick to the list, you will see the money you saved from not buying a bunch of stuff you don’t need.
In addition to that, eating left overs from supper for lunch the next day will also save you money. There’s no reason why you should waste that food when you could use it for a cheaper and healthier lunch.
Sometimes organic products are more expensive, but sometimes they are not. Oftentimes conventional convenience foods are more expensive than an organic alternative. This is especially true if you make your own healthy alternative to a prepackaged lunch for kids. Preparing your own food is always going to be healthier and less expensive than buying processed food.
Is it really so much more convenient for you to get yogurt with artificial sweeteners and colors in a tube for your kid as opposed to getting a jar of organic yogurt, some fruit, and maple syrup?
Buy in bulk
Lastly there is another strategy you can use to save money and eat organic. Use Costco.
Costco actually does have quite a few organic products, but I am mainly referring to the frozen fruit and veggies. These are great to buy in bulk and throw in the freezer for smoothies.
They also have organic chicken, beef, and organic whole grain bread which you can stock your freezer with.
Now I wouldn’t buy every single thing labeled organic at Costco so make sure you read labels and check the ingredients. The organic items you can buy here, especially in bulk to stock your freezer with it, will save you a good chunk of change.
Shopping online is also another great way to find deals on organic food.
I will write another article about why organic can be more expensive sometimes, but for now if you want to know the answer to that question you can read this article about why organic is more expensive.
I hope you see now that you really can afford to eat organic if you are determined to do so and take the right steps. It is worth it and you will be helping yourself, your family, and the world we live in.