Eating organic seems like the best options these days. With all the different chemicals and pesticides, we never know what we are truly putting into our bodies these days. Whether you are becoming more aware of what you eat, or you are sensitive to other foods, shopping for organic food can become expensive. If you want to start eating organic on a budget, here are a few tips to save the most money:
- Pick the organic foods you eat
- Scavenge deals
- Get paid to eat healthy
- Grow your own food
- Shop and compare
- Work for perks
- Buy local
Why Choose Eating Organic?
Organic eating comes with different benefits. Organic farming methods lower the impact it has on the environment. They tend to taste better, as well. Those who farm organically also have stricter guidelines to follow put in place by the US Department of Agriculture: no synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, or “sewage sludge”. Although, it does mean pricier, but there are ways around the high price.
1. Pick the Organic Foods You Eat
Certain conventionally grown foods can be passed over instead of spending more money for the organic label (bananas, avocados, etc.). If you’re not sure which foods are worth it compared to others, there are resources you can check to be sure like WebMD and the Environmental Working Group.
Be careful of “natural” versus “organic”. Natural foods are not regulated nearly as much as organic foods.
2. Scavenge Deals
While coupons are scarce for organic foods, there are ways that you can find them:
- Manufacturers – Many manufacturers have coupons on their websites that you can download: Organic Valley, Amy’s Kitchen, Eden Foods, Newman’s Own Organics, Bob’s Red Mill, Simply Organic. Look on their site and social media.
- Grocery Store – Grocery stores place flyers at the front of their stores. You can even find coupons in the aisles or on product packages. Combine them with the manufacturer coupons and you will save even more.
- Coupon sites – While coupon sites don’t have organic food coupons often, you can occasionally find them on sites like Organicdeals.com or Mambo Sprouts.
- Health-focused magazines – Even more rare than coupons, if you are subscribed to a health magazine or know someone who is, you can potentially find coupons within the pages for specific organic brands or items.
3. Get Paid to Eat Healthy
Depending on the health insurance you have, you may have an offer for a preventive health program. They may help reimburse some of the organic groceries or a portion. Check with your insurer or your HR department.
Another idea is joining the CSA. When you become a member, you purchase a share of vegetables from a farmer in your region. Weekly or bi-weekly, your farmer will deliver that share of produce to a location in your neighborhood. You typically pay for an entire season where you’ll receive about 7-10 types of vegetables that provide enough for a family of 2-3 people. You can buy different shares or split it between you and another close family.
4. Grow Your Own Food
It may not sound very appealing to those who aren’t savvy or who don’t have a green thumb, but it could save you money in the long term. If you need help or advice, check with the Organic Consumers Association.
A plant set may set you back a couple of dollars but the more organic veggies you buy, the more money it can cost you than growing your own food.
5. Shop and Compare
Organic food can vary quite a bit from one store to the next, which is why you should compare the food and places you will be shopping.
- SuperTarget – They have been expanding their quantity of organic foods from produce, snacks, and frozen goods.
- Costco – While they may require a membership and only offer bulk, they’re another store that’s been offering more organic options.
- Trader Joe’s – Trader Joe’s has many organic options and even though their brand may be considered “generic”, you are still getting great organic food for a reasonable price.
- Whole Foods – It may seem like Whole Foods requires an arm and a leg of your paycheck but going armed with coupons can actually save you a lot.
6. Work for Perks
One of the benefits when working for a food retailer is the employee discounts. Not only to mention that, but you can earn a paycheck or extra cash while taking advantage of discounts. Some food places can offer from 10% off to 20% or more!
7. Buy Local
There’s nothing wrong with scouting your local farmers market. You can check the local lists of farms, farmers markets, food co-ops, and fruit stands to see who sells locally and for a good price. Make sure you still compare the prices of these locations to those that you already shop at to make sure you’re still getting the good deal and not paying more.