Principles of the Frugal Oreganic: A Five-Part series

Part 1: Forget one-stop shopping.

Let’s face it; most women love to shop. That’s what we were made to do, in a certain sense (see Proverbs 31; that woman shops every day!). We were not made to buy junk or excess things, but we women were given the capacity to shop with discernment. One principal of the Oreganic Thrifty is to divide out your shopping throughout the week, if necessary, and shop at the stores where the best values can be found.

I know, you’re probably thinking what a waste of gas this can be. Not necessarily. Now if you live in the country, your options may be different than if you’re an urbanite. I live in the “burbs”, but within about 2 miles of most of the stores where I shop. Following are some tips to make your shopping more discerning and productive:

  • Plan your menus based on what you already have in your pantry. I try to abide by the principle Use what you have—buy things you’ll use. Stay tuned for my checklist for the “Thrifty Oreganic Kitchen” (move over, Rachel Ray!!!)

  • Think seasonally. Don’t try to make grilled chicken with papaya-mango salsa in the dead of winter. Focus on soups, squashes, sweet potatoes, kale, apples, etc. when you are in winter. Legumes and brown rice make a hearty meal, accented with a variety of spices (which can be purchased for pennies). Brown rice and legumes should always be cooked in homemade chicken broth (stay tuned for more on that) to bring out utmost nutrition and flavor.

  • Be discerning about buying in bulk. Bulk can be a value, but only when it’s something you know your family will use. I’m wary of Costco. Costco sells lots of bulk boxed junk food. The best things to buy in bulk, IMHO, are grains & legumes (spelt, rolled oats, brown rice, black beans, lentils, etc.) These items are very inexpensive anyway, and when purchased in bulk you can save a bundle. I must say I do like to buy Earthbound Organics produce at Costco (their spring mix and washed, cut spinach are a great value, I think). The best place I recommend for buying in bulk is Azure Standard (http://www.azurestandard.com/). Azure is a local Oregon company that supplies everything you’d ever buy from Whole Foods or Fred Meyer at about 30% of the price (often more!). They deliver to many states and ship anywhere.

  • Think outside the box. I will devote a whole post to this later, but suffice to say that when you try to buy as many items as possible in a “bag” rather than a box, you are going to save loads of money right there. Stay tuned for Trader Joe: Friend or Foe? Where I will elaborate on how to have discernment in one of America’s most fun, organic grocery stores!


spinaker said...

Just wanted to mention Bob's Red Mill. A local (milwaukie) based company that offers alot of bulk organic items. Our family favorites are their bag of rolled oats and 25lb bag of whole wheat flour. Seems like a lot, but we go through it quickly feeding 7! Here is a link to what organic items that they carry



Kelly said...

I just subscribed to your site, sounds like you're right up my alley! I'm going to put a link to your series in my "eating healthy on a budget" post at my site. (http://www.kellythekitchenkop.com/2008/01/eating-healthy-on-budget.html)

Thanks for some great info,

Local Nourishment said...

I loved my Azure Standard co-op when I lived near Bend, OR. The food was so high quality and inexpensive. Down where I'm living now there are organic departments at the grocery store, major "health food" chains and CSAs. There are only two small chain stores within 25 miles of me, and are sparsely stocked with well above market value prices.

If you live in Azure's service area, do take advantage!