Five Favorites: Crunchy, on a budget.

Diving right in to my favorite things.  {Cue the Sound of Music soundtrack.} {Or maybe this 70’s paraphrase: Won’t you take me down… to Crunchytown?  Won’t you take me down… to Cruuuuuuuunchytown?}

No?  Okay, sorry.

crunchy on a budget

1. Frontier Buyers Club

Okay all of you budget-minded crunchy people.  It’s time to stop shopping at Whole Foods and high-end “natural” retailers.  Get a group of like-minded families together and form a Frontier Buyers Club. What is it, you ask?  Simple.  Frontier is a supplier of natural bulk and care products.  They supply health food stores across the country.  Then you and I go to those stores and spend retail prices.  But you don’t HAVE to!

Here’s the lowdown: if you form a club, you get to shop the wholesale prices.  If your group orders more than $250 worth of stuff (not difficult if you only order every few months and you have a few families in your club) shipping is free.  At the end of the fiscal year, you also get a check with your club’s dividends.  Nice little bonus there, eh?

As an example, I just ordered some organic Mothers Milk tea (Traditional Medicinals) from Frontier.  Amazon has them for nearly $7 per box (and you ALWAYS have to order them in sets of 2 or more boxes) while Frontier had them for $3.83, minimum of 1 measly box.  No kidding, folks.  They have canning goods, bulk baking goods, herbs and spices, and most of what you find in the bath and body/medicinal section of Whole Foods.  For more info: CLICK AQUI!

(I received no money for this endorsement.  Although I should.  Because hey-o, that was a hard sell rightthere.)

2. Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists

Back before I cared about not spending a gazillion dollars on groceries, I used to purchase evvvvvverrrryything organic.  If there was an organic option, I bought it, if only to make a statement.  Well, a couple kids later, my statement has changed to, “I’d really like to feed my family healthy stuff, and I’m not rich.”  Enter the EWG Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists.  The EWG has tested the top 48 produce items and rated them based on their residual toxicity.  So now I can, without worrying, buy conventional avocadoes and cabbage, and save my pennies for organic apples and lettuce.

If you go to the EWG website, and sign up for their mailing list, you receive a free PDF of both lists which I totally did not just link to right back there.  Nope.

3. Beware of “green-washing”

Maybe you’re more savvy than I was as a young mom, but it took me awhile to figure out that many product labels are completely unregulated.  So virtually anything can say “natural” even if it’s full of junk.  It didn’t take long for mainstream America to jump on the green-washing bandwagon, as is evidenced by this “99% natural cleaning product” made by… Clorox.

green works

Sorry, Clorox.  Not buying it.  (Although I have in the past, so hey, no judgement from me!)  Save your money and read the next fave for alternative suggestions.

4. Better Basics for the Home

So what does a crunchy girl clean with, you ask?

This book: Better Basics for the Home: Simple Solutions for Less Toxic Living has been a lifesaver over the years.  It has everything from ant killer and cleaning supply recipes, to soap and perfume concoctions.  I haven’t used even close to all the recipes in the book, but the ones I’ve used I’ve been very very impressed with.

5. When All Else Fails: Don’t Believe the Hype

Perhaps this is cheating as it’s not really a favorite.  Or a thing, even.  But I wish someone had told me this 9 years ago, so I’m going to tell you now:

Don’t believe all the hype.  About pretty much anything, but especially about natural stuff.  I think I officially fell off the insane crunchy bandwagon when I found myself researching $2,000 organic mattresses at 2 a.m. one night.  I had just left my job, was 8 months pregnant, and the bills had yet to be paid that month, but goshadarnit I was NOT going to sleep on toxic chemicals anymore!

I realized then that you can only do what you can do, and you have to let go of the rest.  So you buy second-hand stuff instead of the new top of the line “natural” thing?  So you buy a used car instead of a new Prius?  Don’t sweat it.  In fact, you (and the environment) are probably better off.


That’s all for this week, folks.  Go visit Jenna @ Call Her Happy for more 5 Favorites.


  1. I love all of this, especially #5. It’s easy to fall into the organic trap… all the anxiety and stress that goes along with the fear of chemicals. But we must not live in fear! Do the best we can until we know better. And then when we know better, we do better. Great post.

  2. Love this and that number one!??? I am definitely going to look into it. We aren’t crazy spenders nor uber duber crunchy but do try here and there when we can. Also, we are recently trying to get a budget going so I know once that is done any little bit will help! Love this post! 🙂 Thank you for sharing!!
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  3. Yay, a measured take (or takes) on crunchy living! These are all good, thank you for sharing them!
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  4. Loving that book recommendation – thanks!! I am trying to find my happy medium.