We all know that eating organic is better for you, better for the environment but definitely not better for your pocket. If you’ve done any comparison shopping, you’ll find that organic foods are typically at least 50% more than it’s non-organic counterpart, and can be up to three times the price. Here’s how to eat organic on a budget.
Shop in Season
A huge portion of my groceries is usually fruits and vegetables. They’re good for you and they can be cooked or eaten in so many different ways. Plus, I’ve cut back on my dairy and meat intake, so that really only leaves grains and produce. An amazing way to save on organic produce is by shopping for produce that is in season. The US Department of agriculture has a great guide to show you what’s in season here. Produce is easier to grow when it’s actually meant to be grown, which reflects in it’s cost. Buying organic strawberries in the dead of December can be a costly option, so save that delicious strawberry salad recipe for spring & summer.
PS: use Pinterest to find recipes that incorporate a fruit/vegetable that’s in season that you are unsure how to cook/use!
Search for Coupons
This is just a smart tip regardless of whether you want an organic product or not. Coupons can really save you some serious dough if you know how to utilize them properly. A lot of times, coupons apply to big purchases. This can be problematic if you aren’t going to be able to eat three pounds of apples before they go bad. You can approach this one of two ways.
The first way is to split the cost with someone you know. You’ll both be saving money, while not purchasing too much for your household. The second way is to batch make food and freeze it. Not everything tastes good once it’s reheated so approach with caution. Coupons are especially amazing for things that don’t go bad for a long time, or ever. Stocking up on organic toothpaste, all natural shampoos, all natural laundry detergents, etc. can be extremely cost-effective, and you know you’ll use it eventually.
Shop Where You Normally Do
When Boise finally got a Whole Foods, I went there once a week. I was in love. Everything was so healthy, organic and SO EXPENSIVE. I went broke and had to eat ramen for a week before I got paid again. Regular grocery stores carry organic foods and are usually much cheaper than Whole Foods or Trader Joes.
I do still shop at Whole Foods when they have something that most grocery stores don’t carry (like Acai packets), or I want the very best (like beautiful heirloom tomatoes).
Learn What’s Important
When it comes to produce, there are some fruits or veggies that get contaminated more when exposed to pesticides and other chemicals. They either absorb the chemicals more or are sprayed more often. These fruits/veggies are called the dirty dozen and should be purchased organic as often as possible. On the other hand, there are fifteen fruits/veggies (the clean fifteen), that don’t absorb chemicals as much or aren’t sprayed as much, so they are usually fine to be eaten non-organic. Especially when you’re on a budget, you have to delegate where you’re going to spend your money. If you want to eat more organic foods, start with buying only organic for the dirty dozen. You can get a free guide to the dirty dozen and clean fifteen below.
Participate in a Co-Op
A co-op is essentially a community-driven opportunity for fresh and organic produce. The way it works is a lot like the method I talked about earlier about splitting the cost of a large produce purchase with someone you know, but a co-op is usually an entire community splitting the cost of a large batch of produce. Co-ops usually feature a variety of fruits and veggies, and you never know what you’ll get until that day. The bountiful baskets co-op is one I’ve participated in and costs just $25 for a 100% organic basket. You usually get a week or two’s worth of fruits and veggies, and I found that the best part about a co-op was figuring out how I was going to use the fruits and veggies in my upcoming week’s meal plan. Creating new, delicious dishes that were organic and inexpensive was amazing! Bountiful Baskets has locations all over the country, so see if they have any near you and if not just google your city’s name & produce co-op.
Keep It Simple
When beginning a new diet, whether it’s eating more organic foods or just eating healthier in general, you can feel like you need to be making complex dishes every night that involve 10+ ingredients. While that can be fun and exciting, it gets expensive really fast. Learn to create simple dishes with few ingredients, and learn to make large portions that can be stored as leftovers for dinner or lunch the next day. You’ll find yourself saving a ton of money and still feeling full and happy.
Thanks for reading!