Recently on some message boards I have seen questions regarding the higher cost of organics and other natural products. I've heard many people say they buy inferior foods or other things because they are less expensive. The truth is that you have to be creative to save money and you definitely have to be creative while saving money AND going organic!
Right now we live off one income since I stay home with the baby. Ever since Olivia was born I have gone more and more in the natural route of things and this coincided with having a smaller income each month. Still, I have found that I can make wiser purchases without breaking the bank. We have some big steps left toward being at our ultimate green goal but I think every little bit counts. There are different categories and most of them are geared towards baby goods:
First and foremost is organic foods. Whole Food is not the best place for shopping for real food on a budget. I have found that places such as Henry's and Trader Joe's have the same or similar versions of stuff sold at Whole Foods for a significantly smaller price. Local farmer's markets are great places to buy produce and even organic baked goods that are cheaper and more fresh than supermarkets. Organic baby foods in jars costs A LOT more than just making a whole batch of baby food once a week and storing it in glass jars yourself.
Baby clothes, toys, etc.-
Olivia does not have a million toys because I am very picky about them. I hate the colored plastic ones because everything goes straight to her mouth. Many of them are so full of chemicals I am shocked they are even still in production. I would rather her have a select few wooden or cloth toys that may cost more but are better quality. Many people choose not to shop at Walmart, which I understand, but they sell adorable organic pajamas for babies for around $7. The quality is good and you cannot beat that price. Other than Walmart, I also shop sales at Target and online for clothes. Even Baby Gap sells organic pieces- plus lots of good sales and their clothing really lasts. Munchkin brand sells great glass bottles. They are BPA-free but the nipples are not great. I just buy the BPA-free Dr. Brown's nipples and it is still cheaper than other glass bottle brands that I do not think are any better.
Bath and body-
Henry's and Trader Joe's sell natural bath and body products for great prices. For Olivia I use a small capful of Burt's Baby Bees in her tub and wash her with a Weleda baby bar. The bar has lasted for quite a while and her skin is soft and clear. Extra virgin coconut oil works as a moisturizer, rash ointment, and (if you actually do this...) cooking!!! Some people forgo shampoo altogether and instead use homemade solutions for hair cleaning. I am not sure I am ready to ditch the suds yet.
Trade and share-
A good friend let Olivia borrow her son's bumbo chair and I am so glad because I was about to buy one. Luckily, I got to try it first and realized we wouldn't get a whole lot of use out of it. The pea is so curious she leans forward too much and tries to get out and she cannot be in it without constant supervision. So glad I did not spend the money on yet another baby product that ends up in storage or unused before long. Trading and sharing with fellow mamas is a great way of trying new stuff and also finding new homes for yours!
Make Your Own-
Making your own alternatives is a great option and some projects involve minimal sewing skills. You can make your own cloth wipes, unpaper towels, reusable storage bags, fleece/recycled wool diaper covers, etc. Just search Google and you will be amazed at all you can find! Trust me, if I made my own wipes and burp cloths so can you!
Also, cloth diapering and breastfeeding free up a lot of income for other things. I am so glad we cloth diaper but just recently I stopped feeling nauseated every time I have to buy more formula.
Hopefully I will be able to add more tricks toward going organic in the near future! Please share any tips or suggestions you have! I have learned so much from other women online.