Monday, May 20, 2013

How to Save Money on Organic Food - More than 75 Tips & Tricks

3 years ago, even after we were convinced of the benefits of eating organic foods, our son was the only person in our family we felt that we could afford to feed organically. We've slowly transitioned to feeding our whole family a mostly organic diet and use mostly organic body care products like shampoo and soaps. All without a huge increase in cost from our conventional fare.

I've wanted to write an in-depth post about how to save money on organic food for a long time but The Food Babe beat me to it - and did such a great job that I'd rather send you her way to get more details on my 8 tips below.

My Top 8 Tips for Saving Money on Organics

  1. Grow your own - we have a large garden and choose which crops to grow based on which ones are the most expensive to buy organic. We grow a lot of tomatoes, squash and lettuce. Want to grow a garden? Start here.
  2. Shop sales - I am subscribed via e-mail to Whole Food's coupon and sale notification system. I get notified when new coupon books are out and about weekly sales. When something is a great deal I buy a lot and then freeze or can it.
  3. Buy a chest freezer  - we picked one up very affordably on Craig's List. This lets us stock up on things like meat and frozen veggies when they are on sale. It also lets me save scraps for things like making my own chicken and veggie stocks so I don't have to buy those any more.
  4. Learn how to can - I learned how to use a pressure canner to preserve excess garden produce (especially tomatoes) and produce bought on sale.
  5. Buy local  - I call around to different farms to find out when certain produce will be on sale, what the price it and if it is u-pick or already picked. Then I buy a lot. Sometimes they will give you a discount if you buy more than a certain amount - this is a great time to go in with a friend.
  6. Shop and eat seasonally - this one was admittedly one of the more difficult changes to make but if you can focus your meal planning on items that are in season (or that you canned when they were in season) you will save a lot of money. Organic tomatoes cost 3 times more in February than they do in July. Of course learning how to grow tomatoes can save you money as well.
  7. Go in with friends - you can often get discounts in bulk. Not just at local farms but places like Whole Foods often give discounts for buying a whole case of something. You can amp up your efforts by starting a local food co-op. I currently organize a food co-op that orders from Frontier Natural Products Co-Op and uses Food Club (a free, third party website) to organize our orders. This lets us order at wholesale prices and saves about 50% on things like organic shampoo, baby care products, spices, tea and more.
  8. Don't try to do it all - Especially at first. Give yourself permission to make this a gradual process. Pick one or two more things than you currently do to buy organic. Pick only one or two money saving methods to try at first. Once you have those down, add more. Not doing it gradually can cause you to burn out.
For more great tips, read Food Babe's article: How To Eat Organic On A Budget (Over 75 Tips!)

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