10 Ways to Eat Organic Food on a Budget

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Our monthly food budget for our family of four is easily the second highest bill we pay but our food is real, mainly organic, and good for our bodies. Consuming fresh, non-processed food is important to keep our bodies healthy, especially for those little growing people.

Some days I go crazy and feel like I live in the kitchen prepping and cooking real food. But most days, I am happy that I can provide and prepare healthy, non-toxic food for the fam.

Food IS medicine.

What is the difference between organic and conventional foods?

Organic foods

The term “organic” refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed.  In the U.S., organic crops must be grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, sewage sludge-based fertilizers, petroleum-based fertilizers, and bioengineered genes (GMOs).

Animals grown on organic farms are fed organic feed, able to go outdoors, and are not given synthetic hormones or antibiotics. Disease is prevented and controlled with natural methods such as healthy diet, rotational grazing, and clean housing.

Conventionally grown foods

On the flip side, conventionally grown foods are sprayed with herbicides (weed control), pesticides (pest control) and given synthetic fertilizers to promote growth. Pesticides have been linked to breast, prostrate and other cancers, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, leukemia, infertility, convulsions, and endocrine disorders.

Livestock are given growth hormones continuously so they will grow larger, faster and can get to market more quickly. In order to prevent disease, the animals are given antibiotics and medications. Most of these animals do not have access to the outdoors and that is super sad. You can check out the Humane Society’s website here to learn how conventional egg laying chickens are treated. Warning: It will bum you out.

According to Prevention Magazine,

The National Academy of Sciences reports that 90% of the chemicals applied to foods have not been tested for long-term health effects before being deemed “safe.” Further, the FDA tests only 1% of foods for pesticide residue. The most dangerous and toxic pesticides require special testing methods, which are rarely if ever employed by the FDA.

Organic, non-GMO food often costs 30-50% more than the conventional equivalent making it nearly impossible for most families to afford. When starting my clean living journey, I didn’t know the tips and tricks to buy organic food on the cheap. The following tips will surely help you move to a more organic, clean menu for you and your family.

 

10 Ways to Save Money on Natural and Organic Food

 

1. Buy Local

When you buy local, you save money when you buy direct from the seller. That equals big savings for your wallet.

  • Farmer’s Markets – You save money on natural and organic food at Farmer’s Markets because you completely skip the middle man. Farmer’s Markets also have a larger assortment of produce and also offer meats, eggs and breads.  Supporting local farmers is super important because they often get pushed out by big corporate production farms. Find a farmer’s market near you through LocalHarvest.org.
  • CSA – CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Members sign up for a CSA by paying a predetermined amount before planting begins, and in return receive a weekly ‘share’ of fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses or farm-fresh products.  You can pick your share based on family and portion size.  Just like shopping at Farmer’s markets, the food is super fresh and full of vitamins and minerals.  To find a CSA near you, check out the Local Harvest Website.

2. Online Retailers

Several online retailers offer organic food for excellent prices.

  • Thrive Market – Thrive Market is an online shopping club that helps you save on everything from Paleo-friendly and gluten-free foods to eco-friendly home goods. You can shop the best-selling 4000 health and wellness products from the top 400 natural brands on the market in everyday sizes, always at 25-50% below traditional retail prices.  Right now, you can save 25% off your first order, plus a 30-day trial and free shipping when you sign up using this link
  • Amazon – Yes, even Amazon sells organic food at a discounted price and with a Prime membership, they are shipped to you in 2 days! That’s pretty awesome.  How are you going to spend all that time you save by not going to the grocery store?
  • Zaycon – I am so glad my good friend introduced me to Zaycon. Zaycon provides quality food at unbeatable value, direct from the farm to your family table. The food is sold by the case and completely skips the frozen truck ride across the country to your local grocery before you buy it.  You schedule the pick up in advance in an area that is convenient for you.  We are expecting a chicken pick up in June and I am beyond excited to get fresh, natural chicken breast for $1.89 a pound! What? Crazy.

3. Smartphone apps

You can really save money on natural and organic food by using your smart phone apps!

  • Ibotta. After you download the Ibotta app, you can “unlock” rebates by answering a 1 question survey or watching a 5 second video. Rebates range from $0.25 to $3.00 per item. The rebates are on foods you already buy like meat, vegetables and pantry staples. After accruing $25 in rebates (this takes me around 2 months), you cash out by having the money transferred to Paypal or a gift card. Super easy and a great way to save money.  For being so awesome, you can start off with $10.00 in your account by signing up for Ibotta through my affiliate link.
  • Ebates is another great app that can really save you money. Ebates pays members cash back every time they shop online as well as provide them with the best coupons and deals available online.  You can seriously earn up to 40% cash back at over 1,800 online retailers and places you already shop. Vitacost, Sams and Jet are three food retailers where you can shop and save money on organic and natural foods. Ebates will automatically put $10 in your ebates account when you sign up here. Who doesn’t like free money?

4. Grocery Stores Deals and Coupons

If you keep up with your local grocery store’s deals and weekly flyers, you can find organic and natural food at great prices.

  • Publix. If you have a Publix in your area, you can really score on their Buy One, Get One (BOGO) free sales. For example, the kids drink organic juice boxes with their school lunches.  When Publix has their BOGO on Apple and Eve juice boxes, I can buy an 8 pack of organic, natural juice boxes for $1.50. That’s a great deal! I stock up and buy 10 packs that will last until Publix runs the deal again. Publix ads run from Wednesday to Wednesday, so you can peruse the sale flyer to see what’s up for BOGO that week and stock up.
  • Loyalty Cards. Most grocery chains offer loyalty cards that will offer you deals on the items that are part of the weekly sale.  Even if the organics are not offered on that particular sale, then the money you save on conventional items can be used to purchase higher priced organics.
  • Shop store brands. Grocery chains now have in-house organic product lines using private label brands. These private labels offer prices up to 30% less than name brand. As long as the USDA organic seal is on the product, you are getting the same quality product….just much cheaper.  Couple the purchases with the store’s loyalty cards and ecoupons, you will get away with a steal. Here are a few of the most common retailer organic lines.
  1. Safeway/Albertsons – O Organics
  2. Target – Simply Balanced
  3. Kroger/Giant Eagle – Simple Truth
  4. Whole Foods – 365 Everyday Value
  5. Walmart – Wild Oats Marketplace
  6. H-E-B – HEB Organics
  7. Harris Teeter – Harris Teeter Organics
  • Stock up on sales When a product you use goes on sale, stock up! You can freeze breads, meats and fruit. Just like Publix BOGOs, most stores have sales on 10 week cycles, if you find an item that you love and use often, buy enough for 10 weeks.  Rinse and repeat.

5. Aldi

I heart Aldi. Like a lot. So it gets its own bullet point. Overall, shopping at Aldi will save you up to 50% on your grocery bill.  I go into detail about it here but long story short, Aldi’s organic line, Simply Nature is top-notch for seriously half the price of regular grocery stores.  I really hope you have an Aldi in your area!  If not, no worries, Aldi continues to expand and should be coming to a town near you soon.

6.Grow your own

Growing your own food will definitely save you money.  You don’t need a ton of room and if you don’t have a yard, grow some tomatoes in a pot on a balcony. Fresh herbs can be grown in your kitchen window. Your largest investment will be the organic, non-gmo seeds and that will only cost you a few dollars a pack. SeedsNow.com is my go to source for high quality seeds.  My goal is to grow ginger this growing season.  I like to juice it for ginger shots to help boost my immune system. Oh baby, it burns so good.

7. Organic Coupons

There are several online coupon sites for organic products.

  • Grocery Store ecoupons. Download your fave grocery store’s app and download their ecoupons.  Use your loyalty card at check out and the coupons will apply automatically!

8. Buy in Bulk

Bulk foods require less packaging and are easier to ship making it great for the environment and cheaper for you. According to Bulk is Green Council, bulk pantry staples like flour, rice, beans and lentils cost 80% less than the packaged versions.  Some stores will even give you a discount if you bring your own bags for the bulk bins.

Big box stores like Costco and Sams have slowly started selling organics. If you don’t go right home and freeze or prepare your bulk purchase, split it with a friend so none goes to waste.

9. Prioritize Purchases

If you grocery budget doesn’t allow for all organic, prioritize your purchases to at least include the Dirty Dozen and animal products.

  • The Dirty Dozen is a list of produce that contains the most residual pesticides. Pesticides cause some nasty diseases, so buying those particular foods organic is a good idea. For those non-organic purchases, you can wash most pesticides off with this DIY veggie and produce wash.
  • Animal products like meat, milk and eggs are important to buy organic because of the treatment of the animals before they are slaughtered and while they are producing. Just like what a mother eats directly changes her breast milk, the antibiotics and hormones given to livestock directly changes the food we eat.

10. Get Organized in the Kitchen

  • Make a food budget If you don’t have a budget mapped out, then you don’t know how much you spend or how much you could potentially save.
  • Meal Plan Take some time on the weekend to plan out your week’s meals.  Check your grocery store’s sale flyer and see what meals you can create with the weekly sales.
  • Cook Double and Freeze Half Nothing makes me feel more like a pioneer then when I have go-to meals in the freezer. When you find good deals at the store, buy extra, cook a double batch and freeze half. Just pull out the frozen meal the night before and just reheat at dinner time.

When moving to Organic, take it slow, make a few small changes. Skipping the chemicals, GMOs, antibiotics and hormones will help you and your family live a healthy and happy life.

Every time you buy organic, you encourage more farmers to grow organic. And that is a step to a more sustainable future for our kids and our planet.

Do you have tips for saving money on Organics?  I would love to hear them!

These are some of my fave posts about Organics.

 

 

 

 

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