Organic on a Budget

When talking to people about an organic lifestyle, one of the main reasons why people say they do not buy organic is because it is too expensive. I will admit that it is more costly to buy organic, however, I am one of the tightest people when it comes to spending money, and I have found that it is totally doable on a budget. And think about it: conventional food is cheap, but it’s filled with artificial and chemical ingredients…wouldn’t you want to pay a little more for real food? And while it may be a little more, you could be saving yourself a lot in the future from potentially serious (and costly) health issues down the road.

The following are a few suggestions on how to cut down on costs when buying organic.

  • One of the first things I did when beginning this journey was start a price comparison book. I grabbed a notebook and my receipt from my first organic food shopping trip, and going down the receipt, designated one page in my notebook to each item on my receipt. I listed the price, the size, the store, and the date. I made this my routine for several months. As soon as I put my groceries away after a shopping trip, I would pull out my notebook and my receipt and go to work listing everything new. I did this until I saw where the cheapest prices were for certain items. I eventually got to the point where I could look over my list and know where I should go to get the best prices for what I needed that week. This may sound a little confusing, so the following is an example page from my notebook. (I’m sure you more techie people could do it a lot more easily in an excel spreadsheet or something similar.)

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  • Look for deals on health store websites. I made a list of websites to check out: Earth Fare, Trader Joe’s, The Fresh Market, Whole Foods. I even included Walmart and Target, and a few local grocery stores, and typed in organic in the search bar to see what would come up. Earth Fare is a great example of a store that if you take advantage of their deals, you can save a lot on good all-natural and organic food. Here are two coupons I printed from Earth Fare’s website. I was notified via e-mail because I signed up for their e-mail coupons. Seriously…I’ve gotten so many freebies this way! Some examples include: FREE pound of shrimp, FREE pound of salmon, 5 staple pantry items for $5, the list could go on.

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  • Earth Fare also has text coupons that I take advantage of frequently. Here are a few examples: FREE all-natural milk chocolate eggs with $10 purchase (before Easter), FREE all-natural cookie tub with $10 purchase, FREE ice cream with $5 purchase, $5 off honey-crusted ham, $3 off organic bacon, 20% off bulk coffee (to name a few).
  • Use in-store coupons from health stores. Many times you can find coupons right when you walk into the store. If you don’t see any up front, it never hurts to ask someone if there are any available. Also, pay attention to signs posted around the store that let you know of ways you can save. For example, Earth Fare has local organic milk and all-natural lemonade that comes in glass bottles, and if you return your bottles you get a deposit back. This lemonade was $1.99 and I got a $2 deposit back per bottle, so that made my lemonade completely free!
  • Make a grocery list and stick to it! Only buy what you need! I make a list on the weekend of what we need for the following week and make most of my shopping trips on Saturdays. I base my list on what is on sale and try to shop where I can get the best deals for what I need for that week. For example, if I know our week is going to be really busy and we may not have a lot of meals together, Trader Joe’s freezer section is my go-to.

I hope these tips are helpful if you are wanting to buy organic but are feeling overwhelmed with the prices. Trust me, I remember! And don’t get discouraged if you can’t always buy everything organic. Do the best you can with the budget you have, and the more you practice looking for deals and coupons and such, the easier it will get.   

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