real food splurging and saving

July 14, 2013

real food splurging and saving money

Buying real food at times can be more expensive. There are real food items you may want to spend extra money on and other times you will find ways to save money on food.

I don't know about you, but sometimes when I read others' blogs, I feel inadequate thinking they always eat ideal. And although my regular readers, family, and friends know I am not "real food ideal" some may get the feeling that I always buy organic, local, etc.

One real food blogger I follow, Kitchen Stewardship, wrote a post not too long ago about what she splurges on and what she saves on. It was so great to read because it made me feel better about some of the things we buy that are not ideal. It inspired me to write a post as well on what I tend to splurge on and what I buy conventional. I also included some examples.


First thing I always look at for this is the EWG list of the Dirty Dozen vs the Clean 15. They have a great chart and also an app for your phone. Most times, if I see an item on the Dirty Dozen list, I will go organic or skip it. If I do not see it on that list, then I usually buy conventional. 

Avocados - Conventional - We love them and eat them a lot. They are luckily on the Clean 15 list. Which is great because they are expensive.

Strawberries - Organic- My little ones favorite fruit. They are a dirty dozen, so when they go on sale I will buy them, wash them and freeze them. Another option - I buy bags of organic frozen. 

I also just did a price comparison of my local grocery store vs. BJs. I can get a bag of organic mixed berries for ~10 cents cheaper/ounce at BJs vs. NON organic at the grocery store. Yep! The organic was significantly cheaper than regular. I was pleasantly surprised.

I also have my garden this year. We are skipping the CSA. I am going to attempt to grow some things, and possibly can them. I also plan on saving money by visiting local farms that sell direct and also going to farmer's markets.


I am really trying to buy more and more of our meat, poultry, and pork organic and/or grass-fed. So now regardless of what we "need" I scour the meat section for markdowns. Usually weekdays in the afternoon is when they discount these products. So when I see any, I snatch them up. If I need to buy something that is not marked down, I can't always justify the organic price tag. Our store does carry local chickens, so that is usually my go-to non organic brand.

One day I will convince #1 that we need invest in a deep freezer and buy a half a cow. But until then...

Discounted meats, local

Organic chicken and grass-fed beef for little one.


I can get raw milk across the border for about $4.99 a gallon. No, that is not a typo for those of you who know raw milk prices. Some people have to pay upwards of $14 a gallon! The only problem is that it is about a 35-40 minute drive. Not terrible, but not convenient. 

When I don't get raw milk, I will buy my store brand whole organic milk which is I think ~ 5.30 a gallon. 

I make my own homemade yogurt which is super easy and cheap. 

For cheese I usually buy conventional. I have heard that Tillamook is a great brand if you choose not to go organic. 

And for butter, sometimes I splurge on Kerrygold grass-fed butter. But just the other day I found organic butter at BJ's. It was a great price.

Raw milk, or store brand organic, BJs, homemade yogurt

Kerrygold when on sale


One day I will be successful and make homemade sour dough. Until then, I buy. Once again BJs had an amazing deal. Their organic sourdough boule was $1.00 cheaper than Non-organic at the grocery store. 

I don't buy a  lot of cereal, but I do buy organic O's cereal as a snack every once in a while for little one.  I read that one does not have to be overly concerned with oats and organic, so I will may buy conventional for those.


Snacks that are specific to little one. I choose to give her organic snacks almost always. I love the Happy Family brand of products. They have great ingredients for a processed snack. 

Snacks for us; snacks for a party

The other factor in buying organic vs non organic is the time in the month that I am grocery shopping. In the beginning of the month, it is the start of the new monthly budget, so I tend to spend more and feel justified in buying organic. If it is at the end of the month, I know how much I have already spent on food thus far and that is when I will more likely grab non-organic. 

I really hope this list helped. I feel like we are still in the process of eating more and more real food. If you are on a real food journey, don't feel pressure to be ideal all the time. Even using just a few more real ingredients can lead to a happy, healthy home.