Organic! And on a Budget!

Almost 6 years ago, when I found out I was pregnant with Jeffrey, we decided I would stay home with our children. On one hand, this was not an easy decision, as we were giving up the larger salary (like most executives, I was overpaid for not much hard work)- but on the other hand, it was easy, because we inherently understood the importance of raising our own children. For the record, a dad staying home is just as good as a mom, but in our case, I wanted to be the one home, and my husband supported my desire.

There were trade-off’s. We no longer had much disposable income. We had to live on a budget, and sometimes, making ends meet was more than just a stretch. We haven’t taken a family vacation since before Jeffrey was born. We drive older cars and don’t go out to eat often. In order to buy a home, we had to move away from family to a more reasonabley priced area. All of these things we accept as consequences of our choices.

But there is one thing that has consistently bothered me about budgeting: the quality of food and goods available to families living on a budget. Back when we had double incomes, I did all of our grocery shopping in organic and natural markets- I love the idea of supporting local growers and pesticide free farming. The problem is, when your income is reduced in half, those sweet, green markets become outrageously expensive and out of your reach. But I still want to provide good, quality foods and renewable goods for my family. What do you do?

There is a certain snobery of sorts in the green-foods markets. They seems to like being elite and set apart from the everyday markets- but I have to wonder if that snobery is really furthering the aims of making organic and natural products available, at an affordable cost, to everyone.

So last night, when I ran into Waldemort (Yes, I go there sometimes- see the aforementioned “living on a budget”) to grab a few things for our upcoming airplane trip, I was pleased to see that Waldemort, the big, evil empire that it is, is embracing Organic. Not only in the produce section, but in the clothing department, too. There were many things to choose from, including a large selection of very cute, very stylish and trendy tee’s that teens and young women tend to like. All 100% organic. And made in Canada. For $10.

This seems like an important step; like it or not, Waldemort has the big-bucks bargaining power to help drive the organic market even more, and if they get the ball rolling, other big retailers are bound to follow suit. So even if you hate Wal-Mart and the things it stands for, you have to love that organics might be getting a big boost. If you still insist on being a snob and saying you should only buy your organics from small local markets and independents, well, you don’t have three kids and one income. Or, you really aren’t about organics at all, but about elite consumerism as opposed to an open market.

I for one, am tickled pink that I can buy organic t-shirts, socks and even bedding for my kids without having to sell a kidney to do so. This seems like a good thing to this mama.

10 thoughts on “Organic! And on a Budget!

  1. I hate going there, but I have to go there on occasion because they are the best place to buy things for a young, on-a-budget, single income family! Especially if you’re buying diapers! But I too have struggled with wanting to provide my family with a healthy lifestyle which IS the more expensive alternative! I sure hope that my fav organic stores start catching on soon! They are still nicer to walk into then Wal-Mart! We’re always told and lectured about how everyone should be living more healthy but for everyone to do that they really, really need to accomodate and help with that! Leave it to Wal-Mart to find the solution! Dang it!

  2. I hate it there too, seriously. I hate the huge parking lot, I hate the ineptness of the employees when you ask them to help you with ANYTHING (and the fact that you have to pass out in an aisle before they’ll give you the time of day), I hate that you can buy a Happy Meal while you’re in line. I mean, let’s fatten up the kiddies without the slightest effort at all.

    BUT. We spend quite a bit of time there too. Someday when we have more money, we’ll probably shop there still. It’s the bane and blessing of mankind.

  3. I have to admit that I really do like Wal-Mart. I love the one stop shopping of it all and being a student I really love the price that I can do it at. I also love that Wal-Mart is stepping up to try out renewable energy. See this article if you are interested: http://www.tompaine.com/articles/2006/08/08/walmarts_green_makeover.php

    I am glad that Wal-Mart is becoming more socially conscious and taking notice that the environment is important. I have also heard that they are going to starting selling more organic products, including food items.

  4. TMM, yup, that’s home… headed there on Wednesday, with a song in my heart…

    Heather- I thought of you after I posted, and hoped it wouldn’t be in bad taste! 😉

  5. T—let me a comment when you are here…we would love to see you…..

    I heard a big piece on NPR about WMart going organic and I thought the same thing…FINALLY a better option. I do have to say that I think Trader Joes’ is still my fave low priced organic store….. 🙂

  6. Oh, for a Trader Joes…. I’ve been writing them letters, so they know I’m here!

    Bek- I’m wide open for the week of the 21st… I’ll e-mail you with my cell number!

  7. I’m a firm believer in free trade and capitalism, so seeing Wal Mart embrace organic and responsible for a change can only mean that they notice when we make decisions with our wallets. And I say good for them, because even Safeway’s line of organic comes with (to us) a hefty price tag. And shopping at Huckleberry’s?! Forget it!
    The commissary has just started expanding their organics selection, and since I have my own garden now we don’t have to buy EVERYTHING at the farmers market.
    What do you say we go get a box of peaches together next month?

  8. Hanging my head in shame. I like walmart. Having never having any sort of money in my entire adult life I could actually get cereal not of the malt 0 meal variety, get fruit, and something other than mac and cheese when I get to go to walmart. I haven’t even made it to the organic faze yet where I’d like to feed my kids that. Right now I don’t care. I think I’d like to get there though. Sounds healthy. 🙂

Comments are closed.