“Eating organic is too expensive.”
We’ve all heard this complaint, but here is the good news- It doesn’t have to be! There are many ways to help keep your budget in check while still choosing fresh, organic foods. We have compiled a list of great ways to afford some organic produce in your shopping cart.
Take a look at our twelve tips:
Build your meal plans for the week around the sale flyer at your local grocery. These flyers may show up in your mailbox but you can also find them online. Be sure to watch for the weekly sale- these should be the staples of your weekly meal. In addition to saving money for the week this will also help you vary your diet by trying new produce when it goes on sale!
- Watch for coupons! Also watch those flyers for weekly coupons. You don’t have to go crazy about coupon clipping (since most coupons aren’t for organic produce) but do keep your eyes peeled for coupons when they are right in front of you.
- Comparison shop. Check various stores to see which typically have the best prices. Even a savings of 25 cents a pound on your produce will add up over time.
- Join loyalty clubs. Almost every grocery has a loyalty rewards program that gives you rewards based on money spent. Sign up for the free rewards program and let the grocery give you free perks in cash back or gas discounts.
- Eat seasonally. Buying produce that is out of season is much more expensive than buying produce that is in season. In addition to saving money you will also be following the natural course of nature and varying you diet. Find the information about what is in season here.
- Choose frozen when a particular produce is not in season. If you crave a certain type of produce that is not in season then look for it in the frozen section. Not only can you find almost all fruits and vegetables year-round in the freezer section but frozen can also be a much cheaper option.
- Shop local. Take advantage of your local Farmer’s Market in order to find good deals on produce. Not all vendors have USDA organic produce but don’t be afraid to talk to the farmer about how “clean” they keep their growing practices. Many farmers who sell at markets follow organic practices but are not certified organic since the certification is expensive. Shopping late in the day at the markets can score you even greater deals as many vendors will give extra savings so that they don’t have to pack up the produce at the end of the day.
- Prep your own- don’t buy precut. Convenience costs money. Buying precut fruit and vegetables is significantly more expensive than buying the whole produce. It only takes a few moments to chop vegetables and the savings of buying whole food can add up significantly. For example, a whole pineapple may cost $3 but the same amount of chopped can cost up to $10. Chop your own and save! (Also, this will save on packaging to the environment wins too!)
- Prioritize the Dirty Dozen. When the budget won’t stretch enough to cover making all your produce organic then be smart about what you choose. Choose conventional for “cleaner” produce and organic for the most pesticide tainted produce.
- Consider buying in bulk – split with a friend. Some stores or markets will give considerable discounts for buying in bulk. A 30 pound box of organic apples may cost under a dollar a pound while buying the apples one pound at a time may be up to three times as much. If buying in bulk is too much for your family then try to find a friend with whom to split a bulk box.
- Use your freezer. Some produce, such as peaches, can be easily stored in the freezer. So buy when they are on sale and store them chopped in half in your freezer. This will help you stretch the sale price for more than just a week and will also make your freezer more efficient (full freezers use less electricity than empty freezers so your electric bill will thank you).
- Eat leftovers- the average American wastes 1,400 calories worth of food daily. Wasting this much food can get very expensive so don’t let this be you. Make sure to use up all the food you buy in order to have more room in the budget for organic produce.
Try adding some organic produce to your weekly shopping. It may not be possible to go wholly organic but even small additions of organics to your diet will introduce health benefits. Take these shopping tips to the store with you and discover how much fresh, organic produce you can afford!