When to Spend Money on the Healthier Alternative

Over the last year or two I started searching for alternative products that contain less harsh chemicals and ingredients. I’ve started looking more diligently for sales on organic cleaners and started searching the grocery store for organic fruits, veggies and meats.

Most of the time the organic/healthier alternative is quite a bit more expensive, so if I find a great deal I really stock up. When Harris Teeter ran a special on Seventh Generation products last year I printed out a bunch of dollar off coupons and loaded up. I filled my cart with five bottles of laundry detergent, six bottles of dish washing soap, four bottles of dish washing liquid, four bottles of cleaners and a few boxes of dryer sheets. After coupons some items were free and the rest cost just a dollar or two.

While I’m not a fanatic I do try to buy the organic version of products that I think really make a difference.

Of course now that I’m pregnant I’m even more careful about how I clean and consume. I always paint my nails when springtime arrives, but after reading about all of the chemicals in nail polish I’ve been hesitant to buy any.

I came across a brand of nail polish called Zoya, which is highly recommended for the lack of harsh chemicals like toluene, camphor, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate (DBP), but each bottle costs $8 and that doesn’t include the cost of shipping.

While $8 certainly won’t break me, I find myself torn between the ‘price conscious’ part of me and the ‘environmentally conscious’ part of me. After all I can typically purchase a bottle of nail polish at the drug store on sale and with coupons for less than $1. Of course, in this case, one alternative is to do nothing at all. If I don’t want to paint my nails with toxic chemicals I can simply leave them unpainted, but I’m conflicted between leaving them unpainted or paying for the pricier alternative.

Nail polish is just one example. In fact, I find myself faced with this dilemma quite often. When presented with two items on the store shelf, I’m not always certain which to choose. Sometimes I pick the eco-friendly option and sometimes I opt for the cheaper price, but I almost always find myself hesitating before making my selection.

Am I the only one faced with this dilemma? How do you decide which product to choose and how often do you choose the healthier, more eco-friendly option?

5 thoughts on “When to Spend Money on the Healthier Alternative”

  1. I haven't painted my nails for at least a few years. I stopped because of the hassle of keeping them look nice and because of the chemicals. My nails look healthy and beautiful now that they have been polish-free for years!

  2. I can't comment on nail polish, because I don't usually wear it – but for the other stuff… I've started making my own where it's feasible. Deodorant, laundry soap, shampoo (or rather "no-poo"), toilet bowl cleaner, window spray etc. It's amazing what baking soda, vinegar and a few other things can make.

    It's MUCH cheaper and no harsh chemicals. I love not having to put a mask on when I clean the bathroom now.

  3. I find myself faced with the choice constantly and as I've gotten older I've chosen the healthy option more and more because I believe it to be the right thing to do for myself and my family and for the earth. There are areas where I'm willing to go without for the sake of my financial future but more and more I've decided that healthy food and products aren't one of them.

  4. I avoid toxins whenever I can. Like Leslie, I mostly do homemade stuff, and where I can't I suck it up and pay the higher price.

    My health is worth the investment.

  5. This is an interesting question! For me, it really depends.

    When the prices are comparable and the products are similar, I try and go with the organic/fair trade versions of most things. If the organic version is much more expensive, I need to think about how often I will use this product.

    If it's an everyday thing – like sunscreen – that I know I'll use up (and need to keep re-purchasing), then I'd go with a cheaper (and less natural) product. But if it's something I only use for special occasions (i.e. fancy lipstick, a hair product) I'd spend more money.


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