How in the world do you feed nine children!? AND organic foods at that? Prioritize. It really is that simple. Whether the children were planned or not, they’re here now, and beyond breastfeeding or formula, it’s now time to move them onto solids. Perhaps you’re one of those crunchy mommas who want nothing but the most naturally grown and chemical free foods to ever touch your child’s lips – or you’re just good with wholesome food, organic on occasion is fine. Either way, you really do want organic, but let’s be real. Organic foods are 40-100% MORE expensive than their conventional counterparts, so let’s set aside feeding one child organic, but NINE!? Yes, and with a budget, most families are on for a family of 4-6!
Would you spend around $750 a month on food for your family of four? According to The Simple Dollar, spending $770 per month on food for a family of four is actually on the low-cost end. A liberal amount for a family of four is around $1,195 per month. So what’s the difference? Some higher quality of certain items will bump up the price a bit, but not necessarily because it’s organic. Our family has an average food budget of $1,100 per month for our family of 11. And yes, it includes wine.
When you have a clan to feed, one of your most cost-effective solutions is to buy in bulk and buy way more than a dozen! For example, buying in bulk at your local grocery store isn’t feasible; that’s when you want to look into CSAs or bulk food delivery options. Azure Standard delivers natural and organic bulk foods across most of the United States. You have choices from produce to plastic bags to pet feed.
This is a goldmine for savings, not just for food, but also for everyday necessity items while being conscious of food choices and sustainable, recyclable, and non-toxic items for your home and family.
Buy from local farmers. A gallon of milk from your local farmer just may be cheaper than the organic milk from the store. Especially if you can find a small farm that happens to provide milk to only a few choice customers for a reasonable price and less for profit.
Buy the whole cow. Literally. You’re going to rack up a hefty bill within the first week of the month if you buy organically and sustainably grown meats by the pound for your hungry brood. If you have 5+ kids to feed, buy the beef whole, ½, or a ¼. On average, you’ll save around $4-5 per pound! Local farmers love to discount when you buy whole, and if you don’t need a whole beef, find someone who will split it with you so that you are paying whole beef costs (which are cheaper than the ½ or ¼ alone – but still better than by the pound meats from the stores).
Avoid big named grocery stores. When you shop at the big named organic stores, just hand over your pay check. Seriously, like have it automatically deposited there! Some places are just ridiculously expensive – however, if they happen to carry some of your favorite foods that you can’t seem to find locally, prioritize if it’s worth the extra bills. Choose what you don’t “want” in order to get what you “want” for the bigger price tag.
Stop snacking and eating out. What most people pay for snacks alone, you’d probably have enough for not only organic food, but you may even have some leftovers to buy organic meat by the pound.
Have you ever compared the price of a pound of organic potatoes versus potato chips? Now compare how much that would actually feed AND nourish you. Are you going to choose the more wholesome food that actually fills you up, or the can’t-eat-just-one and it’s gone food (and it only fed one person)?
Contemplate what else is really “snacky” other than the chips. Think sodas, juice boxes (yes, even the organic ones), cookies (you could easily make these at home with the organic ingredients you already have), grab and go foods, and prepared meals (the ones you pop into the microwave).
They may “seem” like cheap eats, but really, you could cook up one organic chicken that feeds your whole family for around $15 AND still get some leftovers and make a base for soup out of it.
When you buy local from farmer’s markets and from farmers, do some bartering. If my local farmer is raising chickens and most of their average customers are buying 2-3 for the month, consider this: as a large family, you can simply offer to buy upwards of 20 and ask for a lower by the pound price, or a buy 10 get 1 free deal. You are guaranteeing that farmer his broilers are being sold and he won’t have to “push” his chicken sales. Rarely will a farmer refuse to take that deal!
Buy in season. Organic can get stupid crazy expensive if items are being imported because they are out of season. Just wait, it’s really no big deal. Again, if you have to have it, prioritize your budget allocation so that you can buy the $9.99 quart of organic strawberries and ration it between the kids as a treat with their homemade yogurt!
Use your organic ingredients to MAKE what you would’ve bought. Do you have organic flour, eggs, butter, and sea salt? Okay then, make those cookies! No need to spend another $4-5 dollars on organic cookies. You don’t need to buy pre-made seasoning packets, just use what you bought, vegetables, herbs, and whatever else tickles your fancy and make your own meatloaf. Bypass the extra “packets” and pre-made foods to easily cut down the grocery bill and use that money to buy organic.
Feeling really feisty? Use that organic flour (or gluten-free options) and make your own bread too!
Remember, lots of kids also equals many hands that make light work. Use those kids to grow and tend to gardening. What better way to teach your children about food than to have them grow it?
Save the seeds from some of the easier fruits and vegetables you are already buying (like cucumbers, bell peppers, and tomatoes) and plant them. Use YouTube for great ideas and how-tos for harvesting seeds from the fruits and vegetables to properly prepare them for planting. Once again, think bulk buying. If you want seeds, think of bulk variety packs and get those kids dirty growing your own organic food.
Photo credits: AndiL., pixabay