I wrote a few weeks ago that I’d decided to switch to organic milk and butter. We upped our allotted food money in the monthly budget, and reduced amounts in other areas to make up for that. Because my milk comes in 1L glass bottles and we go through almost 12 per week, I took advantage of our local organic delivery service and now have a standing order of milk, eggs, and butter that comes each week.
This month I made my first purchase from a wholesale organic distributor I signed up with. I saved a bundle on organic spices, bought about 4 months worth of organic cheese (my friend has been using this service for a while now and swears their vaccuum packed cheese lasts for 4 months in the fridge before opening) and stocked up on fair trade organic tea, fair trade organic cane sugar, and other staples. And I now have enough laundry powder, dishwashing powder, and dish soap (the only household cleansers I buy, and all from Nature Clean) to last me for months. While the prices on most items were much cheaper than in the store, for other items the savings weren’t as significant as just not having to make a special trip to the upscale grocery store that carries them.
Well, I just updated our budget sheet for November and we are doing far better this month than we have been in the last little while. And although much of that can be attributed to less eating out (even small purchases add up over a month) it seems that overall we are just spending less on groceries, even though we’ve begun purchasing organic items that cost more than their conventional counterparts. I wanted to know what we did this month that was different than previous months.
Well, my friend pointed out the other day that one of the reasons she prefers to make her own bread is that when she doesn’t, she ends up having to go to the store for bread…and comes home with a whole bunch of other things. It then occurred to me that, with my new system, I’ve dramatically cut down on the number of trips to the grocery store, and I wondered if that was saving me money. I can’t say for certain as I haven’t tracked the items, but I know I fall victim to impulse buying as much as the next consumer, even if my impulsive selection is healthy and wholesome! So it makes sense to me.
Ideally I’d like to be in situation where I don’t have to go to the store much at all. I don’t enjoy being in grocery stores as they feel like churches filled with altars devoted to crappy food and lousy eating habits. The kids invariably want some kind of treat for their suffering, and leaving them home with their father so I can wheel a wobbly cart around a giant flourescent-lit warehouse seems like a pathetic way to grab some “me time”. It’s also really nice to be able to produce a healthy, well-balanced meal just from things lying around the house (or in the garden – my swiss chard is thriving in this chilly weather) rather than having to get in the car and drive (ah, suburbia!). Saving money by not having to go as often is definitely an added bonus!