For The Greater Goods (sm)

Saving Money on Organic Foods: 10 Great Tips

Something I hear a lot is, “I would buy organic foods and products if they weren’t so expensive!”  This statement makessaving-money-on-organic-foods-tips me want to roll my eyes… and then roll them again. Really?  Too expensive?  I don’t think it’s more expensive than future medical costs you will incur if you continue to eat processed junk that can barely be called, “food”!  And while it’s probably obvious that this argument drives me up a wall, I have to remind myself that for a lot of people saving money on organic foods, and saving money in general, isn’t just a preference but it’s a necessity.  Not everyone has the luxury of buying all organic (I sure don’t), and some just don’t know where to start. This is where my heart gets soft, because I didn’t know either.  If someone would have informed me when I was younger I would have really appreciated that, not only knowing what foods I should be eating, but how to make an organic diet a sustainable one.  And so I’ve put together a few tips that I hope will make saving money on organic foods a little easier for you, and make your shopping trips more enjoyable.

Saving Money on Organic Foods

1. Did you know that you don’t have to buy all organic produce? There are some fruits and veggies that have less pesticides, making it okay to buy non-organic if you are in a pinch.  With my family of five, this has come in very handy.  Here is a good list to give you an idea of what you should buy organic and what is okay to buy conventional.  You’ll notice the fruit and veggies for which we eat the skin, we should always buy organic and most of the produce that has skin typically not for ingesting or have low pesticide ratings are okay to buy conventionally. Here are examples:

Produce that should be purchased organically:

  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Grapes
  • Hot peppers
  • Nectarines (imported)
  • Peaches
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Collards & kale
  • Summer squash & zucchini

Produce that is safe to purchase conventionally:

  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Cabbage
  • Cantaloupe
  • Corn
  • Eggplant
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwi
  • Mangoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Papayas
  • Pineapples
  • Sweet peas (frozen)
  • Sweet potatoes

2. The next best thing for saving money on organic foods is to buy locally. Some farmers cannot afford to have their farm be organic certified, so in the stores these will be labeled: “Locally Grown” or from local farmers.  Go to farmers markets and buy straight from the farmers where you can ask them questions on how they grow their food.

3. Get rid of the junk!  Buying fewer processed foods means less of your budget going towards junk and frees that money up for buying organic whole foods!

4. Next spring start your own organic garden.  My family did this and it helped lower the cost on produce for a good 6 months.  Plant the vegetables that you buy the most to help costs even more.  Plus it’s so rewarding to eat food that you grew in your back yard.

5. Buy in bulk. When you buy in bulk the upfront cost will be more, but you get more for your money and you will not have to buy those items for awhile.  This option is especially good for the items you use the most in your home like grains, nuts, seeds, flours, spices, beans and even household supplies. You can find a whole bunch of organic items to buy in bulk online.

6. Develop a meal plan.  I find that making a weekly or monthly meal plan helps in saving money on organic foods.  When you develop a meal plan you can make your shopping list very easy and you’ll know exactly what you have to buy and what ingredients you need to buy organic.  This helps on costs because you aren’t just buying things you might need, or might make and that helps not buying things that’ll just go to waste.

7. When you go to your grocery store, co-op or health food store look for the produce that is marked down because they are bruised or overly ripe. This is a good time to stock up. I like it when I get a ton of bananas and apples. I freeze the bananas and make applesauce and apple butter!

8. Go straight to the farm.  Usually when you go straight to the source you can get produce cheaper than the grocery stores and sometimes even a better deal than the farmers markets! You can check the web site Local Harvest for the markets that are in your area.

9. Buy organic foods that are in season. Out of season foods can cost more because of shipping costs, as well as the demand versus the availability of the item. Buying foods that are in season saves on the transport energy, and lowers the cost of the food.

10. Shop for organic foods and products online.  If you are in an area where you cannot get good organic food, and so saving money on organic foods isn’t the primary issue, shop online! It’s nice when you can have items delivered straight to your house and most places have deals for saving money on organic foods.

Have these tips helped you?  What tips can you share for saving money on organic foods?

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