When I started in on my grocery shopping kick a couple of weeks ago, one of the original questions I posed was:
- Prefer organic food? Which ones?
Perhaps you expected that when we got to this question I would rant and rave about how costly and irresponsible purchasing organic food has become.
You: Pretty much.
Not going to happen.
You: So you bless people going into Whole Paycheck and spending $75 on four produce items?
Not quite. Like with all financial (and life) matters, the key is balance. Assuming you can afford it, you can clearly benefit from the demonstrated health benefits of certain organic foods. However, studies have also shown that the value of other organic foods is questionable at best, especially so after factoring in the increased cost.
Of course, the stores don’t make it clear which foods fall into the “worth it” and “it isn’t going to hurt you any but it is going to make us good money” categories. So you have to be the one to properly assess both your overall food budget and the importance of buying organic for each food type you purchase.
You: But how do I find out which foods are in either category?
A few years ago, we cut out a similar article to this one I’ve linked to and excerpted from below:
Organic items worth buying as often as possible: Apples, baby food, bell peppers, celery, cherries, dairy, eggs, imported grapes, meat, nectarines, peaches, pears, poultry, potatoes, red raspberries, spinach, and strawberries.
Organic items worth buying if money is no object: Asparagus, avocados, bananas, bread, broccoli, cauliflower, cereals, sweet corn, kiwi, mangos, oils, onions, papaya, pasta, pineapples, potato chips, and sweet peas. Also included are packaged products such as canned vegetables and dried fruit.
Organic items not worth buying: Seafood and cosmetics.
We use these lists as our guiding light when determining which organic products to buy. Yet, there are still some fairly negative implications of shopping so responsibly.
You: Ugh. Such as?
Such as when my oldest daughter eats $3.00 of blueberries before I can take a bite of my 15-cent bowl of cereal in the morning and looks at me with those bug puppy dog eyes and says “Strawberries please Daddy?”
Sometimes, it isn’t easy (or cheap) being nutritionally responsible even when you’re being fiscally responsible. Of course, I suppose if we really couldn’t afford it, we’d be eating regular blueberries (like I did growing up) and everything would probably be just fine.
Sometimes I struggle with the organic vs. non-organic decision. Except with cauliflower. The reports suggest that vegetable isn’t worth spending the organic premium and, quite honestly, I don’t like cauliflower in the first place.
You’ll never live Beyond Paycheck to Paycheck if you’re spending money on stuff you don’t value. Even if they are vegetables.
To me, the organic vs. regular food decision isn’t an easy one. What about for you?