Eating Better on a Budget

This post is written by Katy Smith who is a contributor to the blog.

For many years, I never read a food label.  I didn’t really care what I was eating, as long as it tasted good.  When I started MamaTone nearly a year ago, I started Weight Watchers and began reading the nutritional information (mainly to discover how many points each item was.)  Then I attended Tracie Hittman’s nutrition talk offered to Dustin’s clients.  That changed EVERYTHING!  I now look at the ingredients in every item before placing it in my cart.  If it has an ingredient I don’t recognize, or if the word “artificial” appears, I don’t buy it.  This is mainly what led me to shop organic.  It wasn’t really my intention, but most items with the least ingredients are organic.  Go figure!

I have a family of 5 to feed, and shopping organic can be a little pricey.  I knew if I wanted to make this lifestyle change I would have to find a way to make it fit our one-income budget.  I started with some basic research, and decided when it came to fresh fruits and vegetables, I would follow the dirty dozen list (see picture).  I also discovered that many popular organic companies offer coupons on their website.  Stonyfield has excellent coupons that I print out before my weekly grocery trip.  Many other companies offer coupons on their website, or you can sign up to receive them in the mail.  Chobani, Organic Valley, Horizon and Cascadian Farms are just a few I’ve found.

Another resource is buying in bulk. has an amazing organic foods section!  I usually purchase all of my kids “on the go” snacks in bulk.  They are really fond of the Envirokidz Bars, and you can usually get 6 boxes for a decent price.   

Finally, if you don’t shop at Costco, get a membership!  Their house brand, Kirkland, offers a lot of organic foods at a cheaper price then the name brands.  They also have an wonderful produce section with a large container of Organic Spring Greens for under $5.

Do you have any cost-saving tips for the health conscious buyer? 

Please share them below!


  1. Great info! Thanks Katy, I’ll be using your suggestions. When you buy local (Madison) where do you head for produce usually? Have you found anyplace better for quality and/or price?

  2. Hi Carrie,
    YES! Check out the Dane County Farmers’ Market every Saturday morning on the square (I actually think they move indoors at the Monona Terrace next weekend.) Tons of locally grown produce at very reasonable prices.

  3. Great money savings ideas Carrie! Thanks for all the suggestions.

  4. Very practical advice. I too am struggling with eating right but not breaking the bank. I will definitely be checking out your coupon suggestions. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Who would have thought Amazon had food??!! Great ideas! I just found a little store here in the Mpls. area that has discounted items-just have to watch the expiration dates; right now I have been buying 24 count cases of infant, organic, 4 oz. yogurt from Stonyfield for $1.99….comes to 8 cents each! Maybe google to find similar stores in your area….there is also an outlet bakery with artisan breads for $1, sourdough, multigrains, etc.

  6. Great tip about Costco! We just joined a few weeks ago, but haven’t had the chance to do much shopping there yet, I will definitely be checking out the organic stuff there. I’m off now to check out the Chobani website for coupons:)

  7. Suzanne,
    Try using Stevia or Truvia instead of sugar when baking. These are natural sweetners. I also use a lot of natural applesauce, honey, or pure maple syrup to sweeten things up.

  8. Love the idea, but these stores are not available in small rural areas. When you’re a “one grocery store” town, you have two choices. Take it or leave it! Vegetable gardens are popping up everywhere, and I’m digging out my pressure canner to prepare for winter.

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