budget talk

Ways to Save Money on Organic Foods

I have to admit I’m a fan of organic foods, but as you know I also like to save money too. Here are some ways I’ve found to strike a happy balance between the two.

What’s Important to You?
What are some of your family’s favorite foods? What foods do you eat on a regular basis? If one particular food is on the top of the list, then maybe that’s the one you should think about buying in an organic version. Sticking with a food budget often means looking at what’s a priority for you. If eating more organic food is important, then rethink your budget. Maybe switch to a cheaper version of a non-food item and put the money you saved toward buying an organic product or two. (I do this by buying aluminum foil and plastic storage bags in the dollar aisle). Or maybe go with a vegetarian dish, something like organic vegetable curry rather than buying meat to make the same recipe.

Think Locally
The great news is farmers markets are open for business. They’re not only a great way to save money on summer’s bounty, but lots of organic farmers take their produce to markets. Another plus to shopping at a market is vendors will often give you a price break if you agree to buy all your produce from one farmer. Remember it never hurts to ask for a discount.

Search for Bargains
Just like everything else you buy, you have to do some homework and look for the bargains. Something I’ve discovered at my local supermarket is the organic section carries bagged produce by a company called Melissa’s. I’ve found it has some really competitive prices on things like organic kiwis and apples.

Check out the Warehouse Stores
More organic foods are finding their way into the warehouse stores. Three things I always buy there are organic milk, juice, and field greens because they have some of the most competitive prices. If you don’t have a membership, or the cost doesn’t fit into your budget, why not ask if any family, friends or co-workers are members. Ask to shop with them and perhaps buy them lunch in exchange for the favor.

Share the Cost with Friends and Neighbors
Lots of areas have nearby ‘pick your own produce’ farms. Many are organic, and a great way to spend a morning or afternoon is to head to one with some friends and stock up on things like organic strawberries or apples. And if you can’t eat everything within a week or so, turn them into jam or freeze some produce for winter dining.

Don’t just think Supermarket
Supermarkets aren’t the only places to buy organic foods these days. Spend an hour or so searching the Internet and you’ll sure to find lots of companies who sell organic and natural foods. Oftentimes these companies don’t have storefronts, just warehouses, so they can pass along their savings to you.
Another plus is they will often sell items by the caseload. Things like frozen burgers, vegetables, and canned soups. Buying by the caseload often qualifies you to purchase the product at wholesale prices, which is another way to save some money. And once again if you don’t think you can use that amount of food, or can’t fit it into your budget, why not start a buyer’s club with some neighbors or friends.

Trader Joe’s
Another store you might want to check out is Trader Joe’s. I’ve found some of the best prices on organic foods at their stores. Items like juice, peanut butter etc.

Supermarket Brands
Check out your supermarket’s own brand. With the increasing interest in organic foods I’m seeing more stores selling their own brand of organic produce.

Grow Your Own
One of the cheapest ways of getting organic produce is to grow it yourself. Most stores sell organic seeds now but if you have trouble finding them check out these two sites www.seedsofchange.com www.gardensalive.com.

Don’t Let It Go to Waste
Organic fruits and vegetables spoil a lot quicker than regular produce, so don’t buy more than you can eat within a couple of days or so. And finally organic or not, remember to wash your produce, even if it claims to be pre-washed. It’s not just pesticides that can make you sick.

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