Ever since I was a kid I was brought up to be frugal and to save and budget money. * Disclaimer: I am not a financial planner.
How to Save Money on Organic Food
Use the dirty dozen list to help you decide what to buy organic and what to skip.
The dirty dozen is a list of 12 fruits and vegetables that have the highest pesticide residue. The clean 15 is a list of 15 fruits and vegetables that have the lowest pesticide residue. So, you can choose to buy organic or conventional as long as you stick with the clean 15. For example: apples, avocados and sweet bell peppers are all in the clean 15 category so you can buy them conventionally without feeling too bad about it!
Be aware of store brands.
One of the easiest ways to save money on organic food is to be aware of store brands. Store brands are often as good as name brands, and they can usually be found at a lower price point. Many store brand products have the same ingredients as their more expensive counterparts, and they also have similar nutritional value.
If you're not sure whether or not a certain store brand is right for you, do some research! You might find that the organic food options in your local grocery store aren't what you thought they were—or maybe you'll discover something new and exciting!
Remember BOGO deals.
- Get a BOGO deal on organics.
If you see a BOGO deal when you’re shopping, don't pass it up! Buy two of the same item and save money while also supporting an organic brand. If there isn’t a BOGO offer available on your favorite organic foods, then be sure to use this tip to get something else for free in the future!
- Use coupons and sales together to get even better deals on organic products.
Another way to save money is by using coupons in combination with sale prices (especially if both items are from the same store). For example: When I saw that my local Whole Foods had almond butter going on sale for $6 off per jar, I bought 6 jars instead of just one because I had coupons for each jar—and that's how we were able to afford organic peanut butter sandwiches instead of regular peanut butter at home!
Take advantage of sales.
If you're hoping to save money on organic food, it's important to keep an eye out for sales. Sales can be found in many places.
- Local stores: It may seem obvious, but one of the best ways to get organic foods at a discounted rate is by shopping at your local grocery store. Organics tend to be more expensive than non-organics, so if you look around and find that your favorite brand is on sale, grab as much of it as possible while it lasts!
- Farmers markets: Most farmers markets offer discounts or coupons on fresh produce during certain times of the year—the seasons change with each area's growing season. If there's one near you and they're having a sale right now, go check it out! It doesn't hurt anything to give them a try; who knows? You might really enjoy their selection!
- Amazon: You can find organic products on Amazon at any time of day or night; all that's required is an internet connection (or space travel). If you don't have access either way though then just head over here instead; there should be some sort of deal going on already today anyway so why not take advantage?
Join a CSA if you live near a farm.
A CSA is a Community-Supported Agriculture, which means that a farmer offers their produce to the community in exchange for money or labor. The produce can be bought in shares that are delivered throughout the year, or picked up at the farm on specific days of the week.
There are many benefits to buying locally grown food through a CSA: Farmers get paid early in the season, so they can invest in seeds and tools; you get access to fresh fruits and vegetables when they're at their best; you support local farmers and keep your dollars circulating closer to home; and it's just plain fun! Here's how you can find one near you:
- Check out localharvest.org/csa/. This website has an extensive database of CSAs across North America (and beyond!). You can search by region or by name of CSA organization. It also includes basic information about each organization (what kind of produce they offer) so that you know what kind of experience you're getting into before committing yourself financially.
- If there isn't anything available where you live yet but something similar has been tried elsewhere with success—maybe because it would be too difficult logistically—consider trying something like this out anyway! Give yourself some time first though; don't expect results overnight!
Buy in bulk when you can.
When you can afford it, buy in bulk.
If you're able to store what you buy, buy in bulk.
When you're sure that you'll use up a product before it expires, buy in bulk.
If buying in bulk saves money for your family (like when the organic price per pound is less than at another store), buy in bulk!
Don't be afraid to shop at thrift stores.
If you're thinking of taking the plunge into organic food but aren't sure where to start, don't be afraid of thrift stores.
You can find all sorts of organic products at thrift stores. For example, we found a box of certified organic black beans at Goodwill for $1.99—that's less than half the price they cost at Trader Joe's! And since they were packaged in BPA-free cans, even better! Thrift store staples like oatmeal and pasta will also often be sold as "organic" or "whole grain." What's more, if you buy any produce from a used grocery store or thrift shop that isn't packaged properly (such as loose bananas), just rinse it off before eating it. You'll still be helping the environment by reducing waste without sacrificing flavor or nutrition!
If you have some space, start your own small garden or farm.
If you have some space, start your own small garden or farm.
If you have a large backyard, consider starting an organic vegetable garden. If you live in a smaller space like an apartment or condo, look for community gardens in your area where growing is permitted and help maintain them. You can also purchase plants from places like Home Depot and take care of them yourself at home if the weather permits. This way, even if you don't have much space to grow our own vegetables and herbs, it's still possible to eat healthy food without spending extra money on organic foods!
You can still eat organic food on a budget
To start, you should know that organic food is not necessarily more expensive than non-organic. Organic produce can be substantially more expensive, but there are ways to save money on organic foods while still eating healthy and ethically.
First, don't be afraid of buying in bulk at Costco or Sam's Club if you have one nearby (or a warehouse club like BJs). While these stores tend to carry a limited selection of brands and products, many items are cheaper than those sold in traditional grocery stores—and the savings can be substantial when it comes to things like grains and other staples that you'll use regularly (in fact, according to NPR's Planet Money podcast, bulk buying could help single people save over $1 million dollars during their lifetime).
Second, don't be afraid of thrift stores or garage sales where prices might seem too good to be true—because they're probably either stolen goods or expired food from someone who didn't care about expiration dates! This is the perfect opportunity for some bargain shopping: most people donate items that are no longer useful simply because they don't want them taking up space anymore; so grab anything remotely interesting at a low price and try it out!
There you have it. We hope that you now feel more confident in your ability to save money on organic food, and that you can use these tips and tricks to make it happen!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2022 Shanon Sandquist