How do you afford to eat organic? It’s so expensive! I could never do that!
I hear these laments over and over from friends and family about eating organic. And no, I don’t eat 100% organic ALL of the time either. But there ARE strategies and tips you can use to eat more organic food without spending more money!
But first — USE COUPONS. If you have a favorite organic brand, search the Coupon Database for it to see if there is a coupon. You can see how to use the Coupon Database to find Organic coupons here.
Case in point. I have three 16 oz bags of baby carrots:
- Organic (store brand) from Trader Joe’s – $1.69
- Organic (Earthbound farms brand) from Tops – $1.99
- Conventional from Tops — $1.79
Which one would you buy? The Organic ones from Trader Joe’s right? Nope. When you use this $1.00/2 Earthbound farm organic product coupon on the EB Farms carrots, it takes the price down to $1.49/lb. The organic carrots turn out to be the cheapest option. Even without coupons, though, the TJ’s organic carrots are still cheaper than the conventional ones.
Here are more extensive and specific strategies to save money on organics:
How to Save on Organic Meat
Organic meat usually stumps people from a money-saving perspective. Because if you’re perusing the meat section of your grocery store, you’re probably thinking, “I can’t afford organic meat” at a minimum of $5.49 per pound. And you know what? I can’t either. That’s why I nearly never purchase meat at the grocery store. And yet, my family eats meat at about 5 dinners per week. We buy in bulk from a local farmer. We know where our meat comes from, and we get a sizable discount for buying large quantities (sometimes 50 lbs at a time). Check out Eatwild.com for a thorough listing of meat farmers in your area.
If you don’t have room to store that much, there are local farms that have weekly delivery spots – much like a CSA — and you can order only what you need for the week. Overall, I spend an average of $4.00 per pouund for my organic meat.
In addition, I have written several posts showing how to save money on meat.
How to Save on Organic Produce
Know what’s on the Top 10 worst conventional produce list and buy organic for just those. Some of the worst fruits and vegetables for pesticides are:
- Sweet Bell Peppers
Buy these organic, if possible.
In addition, certain fruits and vegetables cost the nearly the SAME in both their conventional and organic versions. See the baby carrots example above. Celery is another product that is similarly priced.
Buy whole organic fruits and vegetables. You’ll automatically pay more for the convenience of having the store pre-chop and package them for you.
Check out warehouse stores like BJ’s or Sam’s. They are carrying more and more organics, and in many cases, the prices are better than grocery stores.
Join a CSA. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. You pay a fee upfront, then get weekly or biweekly deliveries of fresh produce to an agreed-upon pickup location. We have some wonderful organic CSAs in upstate NY. In fact, I’m SUCH a fan of CSA’s, I did a whole series on local CSA options last year. You can read my extensive review of several local CSA’s with additional information here.
Shop your local farmer’s markets. Talk with the farmers about how they grow their crops. Many use organic methods, but just haven’t paid to be certified organic. Make the decision as to whether or not to patronize those smaller farmers (I do, gladly). You can find local farmers at localharvest.org.
How to Save on Organic Dry Goods
How to Save on Organic Dairy
Dairy products are some of the most important items on your grocery list to choose organic. Yet organic dairy can be very expensive, especially organic milk. There are a few strategies I use to get around this:
Buy alternative organic milks.You can get Organic Soy Milk for $2.79 for 64 oz. 64 oz of Organic Dairy milk costs $3.49 (both store brands).
In addition, many organic brands come out with coupons. Stonyfield and Organic Valley are two brands who offer coupons on organic yogurt, cheese, and half and half. Mambo Sprouts is a great place to start looking for organic coupons. You can also look in my Coupon Database to find coupons for Applegate, Stonyfield, and more.
Finally, skip the processed, box, pre-prepared foods. Organic or not, you’re paying dearly for the “convenience” of having your food preserved and frozen. Prepare meals and snacks at home, using whole, nourishing ingredients, and you are on your way!
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