How to Save Money While Eating Organic

 

Everyone wants to know if it is really necessary to buy organic food.  After all, it is considerably more expensive than non organic.  Well, the answer is, it depends.  It depends on the type of food we are talking about.  There are also tricks to stretching your dollar to get more bang for your buck.   Let’s look at the different types of foods.

 
1.  Meat and Dairy
This is where you will want to focus on spending a little (and, in some cases a lot) more money.  The reason you should always be buying meat and dairy organic is because of something called the Law of Bioaccumulation.  This means that they hold far more toxins.  For example, every time the cow is eating grains that have been sprayed with toxins those toxins are accumulating in their system.  When you drink the milk or eat the meat you may be ingesting years of accumulated toxins.
 
2. Produce
 
This is where the lines become a little blurred when it comes to healthy eating and saving a little in your pocketbook.  If you haven’t heard of the Environmental Working Group, they are a nonprofit organization that works tirelessly to find the most recent data to help protect humans, animals, and the environment.  They have endless information to help you protect yourself and your family from the constant barrage of potentially harmful substances.  One of my favorite resources they have is their Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists.   The two contrasting lists tell you where you want to put a little extra money into your produce and the produce that, if you are on a budget, you can skip the organic aisle and purchase regularly produced items.  I still try to buy all of my produce organically as this list just indicates that they have the least pesticides on them.  The farmer’s also may be spraying a large amount of pesticides onto their crops, and while we may be eating less ourselves, these pesticides may still be having a significant impact on the environment.
 

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 To print out a pdf version of these lists to bring with you when you go to the store go to http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/.
 
Best Practices for buying organic:
  • Shop at warehouse supermarkets like Costco or Sam’s club
    • Every time I go into Sam’s Club I am blown away by the quantity of organic options.  They have everything from organic chicken to spinach to local organic honey.
  • Buy in bulk
    • This brings me back to the first tip, but even if you are not able to get to a Costco you can still save some extra dough by purchasing a larger quantity.  For example, buying a bag of organic apples will be cheaper than buying a couple of loose apples.
  • Check out your farmer’s markets
    • This is not only a great way to buy organic foods, it’s also a great way to support your community.
    • Look for the produce that may be a little less aesthetically pleasing.  People have a tendency to look for the perfect looking fruit or vegetables and the odd shaped carrot may be shunned.  The vendors know this and, if you ask nicely especially toward the end of the day, they will usually give you a discount on them.
  • Make a budget
    • Budget the money you have to spend grocery shopping.  Make sure you set aside adequate money to get your organic dairy and meat first.  Then, if needed, look at your Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists to prioritize fruits and vegetables.  
    • Buy only what you have on your list.  We all end up throwing so much food away, let’s make sure we are not throwing away money by not using our organic foods.
  • Look for your favorite companies on social media.  A lot of times they will advertise their current specials or give away special offers.
  • Look through your grocer’s flyers for savings.  A lot of times grocers will also put coupons online.
  • DIY.  Protein bars, trail mix, smoothies, gluten free cookies can all be made at home to save money.
  • Invest in a quality water filtration system so you don’t have to keep buying plastic water bottles that have a huge negative impact on our environment.
  • Buy frozen organic produce.  In general frozen is cheaper than fresh.
  • Buy produce that is in season.  To increase the savings here, buy in season and freeze for future use.
  • Do not buy pre-washed anything, this will just add to your cost.
  • Cook at home.  This will not only save you money but it will ensure you know what you are eating is organic.
  • Buy a share in a community supported agriculture (CSA) program.  This money will go to supporting a local farm by offsetting operating expenses and you also get a weekly box of their goods.
  • Start your own garden or at least grow your own herbs.
 
What are your favorite money saving strategies when buying organic? ~Kris~

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