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So you’ve decided to go organic. Good for you! But, when you get to the grocery store panic sets in. How can you afford this stuff? I’m here to help with my top 10 tips for buying organic on a budget.
I dabbled with buying organic for years. But, when my husband was diagnosed with a chronic illness, I became serious about it.
Processing and filtering toxins, additives, and chemicals is taxing on your organs. Eliminating them from your diet puts less of a stress on your body.
Something I noticed, though, was our food bill costs almost doubled. I decided to find some solutions for making organic foods more affordable.
After all, buying groceries on a budget was something I’d accomplished when I became a stay-at-home mom 25 years ago. So, I had some experience with feeding a family on a budget.
Top 10 Tips for buying organic on a budget
Here are my 10 tips for buying organic. They are separated into categories: stores and online shopping, produce, grains, meat, and dairy.
At the Store or Online:
- Find a reliable, affordable grocery store that carries organic, non-perishables such as canned goods. Or check out online shopping. I use Walmart for online groceries because they have a lot of organic foods and for convenience. During the week, add items to my cart then schedule a convenient time or pick up. Online orders give me the ability to search and compare organic products right at home.
- Focus on buying produce that’s in season. It’s less expensive. Winter produce is perfect for making soups and roasting. Spring and summer produce is ideal for salads and sides.
- Buy in bulk, especially for staples like flour, coffee, nuts, oatmeal, and spices. Sprouts and Whole Foods have bulk bins that offer deeper savings on organic foods.
- Take advantage of grocery store’s weekly sales items. Especially those “loss-leaders” where items are heavily discounted. Check weekly sales and incorporate those items into your meal plan for the week. You’ll find the sales online and weekly sales ads in your mailbox.
Shop Small for Organic Produce:
- Shop Farmer’s Markets to get organic produce. Not only are you saving money by buying directly from the source, but you’re helping support family-owned businesses.
- Pick your own organic seasonal produce. Look online at Craigslist, Nextdoor.com, or local Facebook groups to find farms where you can pick your own.
- Look into CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) in your local area. By signing up for a share (usually around $15-$25) you get a fresh box of organic produce and goods weekly or bi-weekly. Learn more here https://www.localharvest.org/csa/, including how to find programs in your area.
Grow your Own Organic Produce:
- Grow your own vegetables. Growing your own is the least expensive method (unless you get them free) out there.
- Invest in canning supplies to preserve what you grow to have during the non-growing months. I love canning! And, seeing those beautiful glass jars makes me happy.
Here are some tips for organic on a budget, that came from my Instagram readers:
Start small, replacing what you can to still meet your budget. To get the best value for your money, check out EWG’s Dirty Dozen List for produce. It’s a great resource for where to start.
Check out the dollar stores for great organic bargains. In fact, some of the dollar stores (Dollar General comes to mine) have branched out in grocery stores, too.
Look online for groceries! There are some online retailers, besides Amazon, that offer groceries. I like Thrive Market.
Buying Organic Flours and Grains
What I have read about glyphosate really worries me.
Interestingly enough, several years ago I read an article about how pesticides might be the culprit with wheat intolerance, and not gluten. The article discussed how some people could tolerate pasta made in Italy better than that made in the USA.
But, the recent publicity regarding glyphosate (an ingredient in Roundup) was concerning. Enough so that I switched to organic flours and grains.
However, finding organic specialty flours like self-rising flours is challenging. See how I make my own here.
Buying Meat and Dairy
No doubt about it, “organic” meat and dairy (meant here as without antibiotics, steroids, and hormones) can be twice the cost.
One of my readers suggested cutting back on your meat and dairy consumption so that you can buy “better.” That is a good and healthy suggestion.
I select our beef and poultry carefully. For beef, we have a Ranch Club subscription with Felton Angus Beef and get quarterly deliveries to our door. Our poultry usually comes from the grocery store where I look for cage-free, all naturally feed poultry.
My best advice here is to choose carefully.
Do your research and weigh the pros and cons of buying organic meat and dairy. Especially if you are dealing with health issues.
Share your suggestions!
I know there are lots more ideas for buying organic on a budget. Share them below!
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