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Save more money on organic food

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
In another thread here we were talking about obesity as one cause of global warming and someone noted in a side issue that "I don't buy as much organic or natural food as I should because I have to stay on a budget and need to buy a lot of food." I didn't want to get totally off topic in that thread but it seemed like a good reason to look at the topic of how to afford more organic food on a limited budget. 

First of all I'd look at your overall spending when it comes to green products or organic food or anything. With some basic budget tweaks you can usually make room in your budget for a little bit more organic food.

However, if you can't tweak the budget, there are some other tactics you can use - below are things I've done to be able to afford more organics. PS I did this as a single mama and we're nowhere near rich in my opinion...

Only buy the most important organics. If you have leftover money buy other less essential organic foods. This of course depends on your definition of important organics, but in my opinion the best organics to buy would be the Dirty Dozen, dairy products, and meat. If all I can afford is some organics I always go for produce and dairy then buy other items if I can.

Eat less meat. Meat's super spendy in organic form so at my house we just don't eat any pork or red meat.

Grow your own vegetables if you have the space and time. This is an iffy tactic because organic gardening can be costly at start-up, but if you keep on keeping on you will see food costs go down.

Don't shop at Whole Foods. I hear a lot of folks say they don't buy organic because Whole Foods is too expensive. Whole Foods is not the only place for organics anymore - not by a long shot. Many basic grocery stores, like Safeway for example, even have their own store brand organics now. Co-ops and farmers markets are another good bet for lower cost organics.

Cook from scratch - almost always cheaper than buying prepackaged type organics. 

Buy in season vs. out of season.

Don't spend more on fake organics. Many foods that aren't worth their salt in terms of organics will try to trick consumers into buying them, and these cost more. Get to know your labels. A food labeled with "Contains some organics" or "Natural" or "Green" does not mean certified organic. People will say anything to get you to spend more, but it’s not always worth it.

Don't eat out much and don't buy junk. It's crazy when I go to someone's house and they say I can't afford organic apples but they do have soda and chips.

Use coupons. Ecobunga! is one site that features organic and eco-friendly coupons and deals. Also most organic food manufacturers offer coupons at their websites. Coupons are not always as good a deal as store brand organics sans coupon, but sometimes you can score a good deal. Also check Organic Grocery Deals .

Buy in bulk - most stores with a natural food section also have a bulk section and this is likely where I save the most money. You can get great deals on organic rice, baking goods, granola bars and more just by buying bulk. Plus you get to skip all that packaging. We use reusable bulk bags or we reuse lightweight containers.

Using the above techniques I'm usually able to afford most of the organics I want and my son is an eating machine. I'm sure other people here have more tips too...

How do you save on organic foods?
post #2 of 16
Hi Jennifer - you know my answer on this one but İ had to stick my nose in just for fun! 
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Ha, I wondered if you'd show up and say, "Buying zip organics save you the most money" ;)

I did think of another way to save though. If you buy local you can visit the actual farm or manufacturer and see if they're running a sustainable business. While it's smart to check labels of shipped goods, some local farms simply can't afford the mess of getting certified, but they could still be running a sustainable operation.
post #4 of 16
I'm so glad you caught that! I'm always looking for new tips on how to save.

I think my biggest problem is that I get in a hurry and I don't want to plan. Some months I do really good and plan my meals out, other months I go through the trouble of buying fresh, organic foods, and they all go rotten in the fridge...it's so frustrating and I have no one to blame but me!!!

Thanks for the tips!
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
I know a lot of thrifty websites recommend planning meals ahead to save, and in fact, I've done that before, but I find our money goes further if I buy in smaller loads - when we plan our meals out we tend to have more waste because maybe all week you just don't feel like a specific food. I can do that since we live right near a store with organics though. If I had to drive a long way, I'd prob go back to planning ahead.

We buy dry goods in bulk and ahead of time because stuff like rice and beans keeps forever and you can freeze organic chicken but for produce we buy weekly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by srj0385 View Post

I'm so glad you caught that! I'm always looking for new tips on how to save.

I think my biggest problem is that I get in a hurry and I don't want to plan. Some months I do really good and plan my meals out, other months I go through the trouble of buying fresh, organic foods, and they all go rotten in the fridge...it's so frustrating and I have no one to blame but me!!!

Thanks for the tips!
post #6 of 16
We go to the farmer's market every weekend - lots of cheap organic produce there.  Then after the farmer's market we head over to Safeway on the way home, which as you said has its own brand of organic products now.  All kinds of organic stuff, and not too expensive.  Yesterday I got some organic tofu and brown rice and bananas, for example.  Some Safeways have organic chicken too, but mine stopped carrying it.  Maybe I was the only one buying it because it was quite expensive - much more so than Nugget.
post #7 of 16
The local farmers market is certainly a good source for veggies - whether the purchase is organic or not.

At the grocery you are depending on the produce manager - if he is good and interested then the selections are top while if it is just a job to the guy then you get whatever is most cost effective or easiest for him.

Here the 'open market' is not really a farmers market but a road show where the vendors set up for Friday in one village and the next day in another. The same people every time though so you can gain a bit of confidence in their judgement as to what is good and what isn't. They are close to our home (3 km) every Saturday and Sunday. There is one even closer (1 km) on Wednesday but the number of vendors and selection is much less.
 
İ really agree there is no sense in going to the highest priced place (Whole Foods for example) when you can find the same thing cheaper elsewhere. Unless, of course, it is important to make a fashion statement while sharing coffee with the neighbor. İ still remember the 5 USD per pound tomatoes at Whole Foods! 
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
I don't live near a Safeway, well, not near enough to make it worth going anymore. Now I live near a Fred Meyers with a pretty good organic section. They just started carrying organic chicken and meat too, and it seems well priced. In New Mexico I lived right by a Wild Oats and they were my fave grocery store - their organic brand was well priced and extensive. I miss them :(

My boyfriend likes Trader Joes but I think they're too expensive and you're never sure what you'll find there - my Trader Joes that's close has almost no produce for example, it's very odd.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dana1981 View Post

We go to the farmer's market every weekend - lots of cheap organic produce there.  Then after the farmer's market we head over to Safeway on the way home, which as you said has its own brand of organic products now.  All kinds of organic stuff, and not too expensive.  Yesterday I got some organic tofu and brown rice and bananas, for example.  Some Safeways have organic chicken too, but mine stopped carrying it.  Maybe I was the only one buying it because it was quite expensive - much more so than Nugget.
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
I need to find a new Farmers Market I like. In Humboldt we had an AWESOME FM. We used to go every weekend. Here in PDX I haven't found a good one that's close. At the Humboldt market, there was not all certified organic, but many of the farmers used sustainable methods anyhow and you could score amazing deals on tons of produce. Plus it's fun. I miss Humboldt. If my son's dad wasn't here I'd move back stat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Russ View Post

The local farmers market is certainly a good source for veggies - whether the purchase is organic or not.
 
post #10 of 16

If we all start buying organic, the prices will go down...

post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 

Hey Amber, welcome to Green Options. I 100% agree. That's one of the biggest issues I think. Supply meets demand - also though we need MUCH better regulations. People don't trust organics, and I don't blame them. There's so much greenwashing going on.

post #12 of 16

I find coupons at certain websites like Organic Valley, Horizon and Stonyfield. I buy eggs from the farmers market or you can search on craigslist for people selling chicken eggs (make sure to visit the site). I also buy from the dirty dozen list, mentioned above. My daughter was eating like 2 apples a day so I was like, hmmm I better buy organic apples. Our priorities can get all twisted up. I was watching... I think it was called Food, Inc. and they had a family on their that was .. overweight. And their argument was that they cant afford to eat healthy. It shows them going through a drivethru, ordering 4 hamburgers, fries and ... SODA. What? You can't afford to eat healthy but you can spend a dollar on a 10oz soda?

 

I am JUST now learning all the lingo  of buying REAL organic food and not getting tricked into their lies and deceit. Gives me a headache everytime I go shopping.

And now I am going to head over to the makeup, and lotion sections of the forums and vent about that.. I just spent an hour looking for REAL organic, healthy makeup and shampoo for my hair.. UGH talk about frustrated!

post #13 of 16

Hi!

Now you have no more need to worry so much as there is a solution for saving money on organic food products. You can buy the Green Food Products online rather than going in the market it saves money as well as time and energy.

Thanks,

Runka

post #14 of 16

Here are my thoughts, and as I'm fairly new to organics and eating healthy produce, I welcome correction if you have more insight ...

 

Firstly, I have Crohn's disease.  So I've had to learn to be very careful about which products I use, thus - I've eliminated many dirty chemicals and foods.  This is perhaps, why this topic is important to me.

 

Local supermarkets in New Jersey and even farm stands have prices that are simply insane.  Yes - I've eliminated purchasing the junk food, 100%.  Ok, well, maybe 99% as once every couple of months I like a cheese steak or something totally outside of my dietary ideals.  For every day cooking, I don't mind paying supermarket prices.  However, to the benefit of my health condition, I have started juicing - and this has made digesting, consuming, and feeding myself nutrients so much easier.  This also means I also need a steady supply of produce at any given moment =)  (not a juice feast - I still eat cooked vegetables as raw vegetables can impose problems for me).

 

We have a local produce stand that is wholesale to the public.  It is not entirely local produce.  I've been told it's nitrogen packed (not sure what that means).  I do know that I have no clue how some of it is grown.  Usually, it is "ready to eat" - so if you're not juicing, you best be ready to freeze what you're not using immediately - or at least make homemade pickled goods, spreads (etc).

 

Through my researching juicing, I have read that simply washing vegetables does not eliminate the chemicals.  I've read that the vegetables must be soaked for a period of time until the water stinks, and at that point it is more safe to eat.  I'm also aware that there may be varying degrees of concern regarding the chemicals used on our health and our earth.  I would like to believe that the FDA has permissible fertilizers and pesticides to a safe level; however I'm not entirely sure.

 

So, if there was an outlet to purchase 100% organic foods - at a reasonable price - I would definitely do so.  However, the above method at the local wholesale produce stand is the best I can arrive at ... any thoughts are appreciated ...

 

Regards, 

 

MT

 

 

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JenniferChait View Post

In another thread here we were talking about obesity as one cause of global warming and someone noted in a side issue that "I don't buy as much organic or natural food as I should because I have to stay on a budget and need to buy a lot of food." I didn't want to get totally off topic in that thread but it seemed like a good reason to look at the topic of how to afford more organic food on a limited budget. 

First of all I'd look at your overall spending when it comes to green products or organic food or anything. With some basic budget tweaks you can usually make room in your budget for a little bit more organic food.

However, if you can't tweak the budget, there are some other tactics you can use - below are things I've done to be able to afford more organics. PS I did this as a single mama and we're nowhere near rich in my opinion...

Only buy the most important organics. If you have leftover money buy other less essential organic foods. This of course depends on your definition of important organics, but in my opinion the best organics to buy would be the Dirty Dozen, dairy products, and meat. If all I can afford is some organics I always go for produce and dairy then buy other items if I can.

Eat less meat. Meat's super spendy in organic form so at my house we just don't eat any pork or red meat.

Grow your own vegetables if you have the space and time. This is an iffy tactic because organic gardening can be costly at start-up, but if you keep on keeping on you will see food costs go down.

Don't shop at Whole Foods. I hear a lot of folks say they don't buy organic because Whole Foods is too expensive. Whole Foods is not the only place for organics anymore - not by a long shot. Many basic grocery stores, like Safeway for example, even have their own store brand organics now. Co-ops and farmers markets are another good bet for lower cost organics.

Cook from scratch - almost always cheaper than buying prepackaged type organics. 

Buy in season vs. out of season.

Don't spend more on fake organics. Many foods that aren't worth their salt in terms of organics will try to trick consumers into buying them, and these cost more. Get to know your labels. A food labeled with "Contains some organics" or "Natural" or "Green" does not mean certified organic. People will say anything to get you to spend more, but it’s not always worth it.

Don't eat out much and don't buy junk. It's crazy when I go to someone's house and they say I can't afford organic apples but they do have soda and chips.

Use coupons. Ecobunga! is one site that features organic and eco-friendly coupons and deals. Also most organic food manufacturers offer coupons at their websites. Coupons are not always as good a deal as store brand organics sans coupon, but sometimes you can score a good deal. Also check Organic Grocery Deals .

Buy in bulk - most stores with a natural food section also have a bulk section and this is likely where I save the most money. You can get great deals on organic rice, baking goods, granola bars and more just by buying bulk. Plus you get to skip all that packaging. We use reusable bulk bags or we reuse lightweight containers.

Using the above techniques I'm usually able to afford most of the organics I want and my son is an eating machine. I'm sure other people here have more tips too...

How do you save on organic foods?

 


 

post #15 of 16

Check out and share my new blog to book www.cheapernuggets.com

IT is all about eating farm fresh food for LESS than fast food! Has a lot of super budget friendly recipes, some under $10.
 

Hannah Harder

post #16 of 16

Check out my website <a href=http://www.cheapernuggets.com>www.cheapernuggets.com</a>. It is all about obtaining sustainable local food for less than fast food! :)

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