Many of us have turned to eating organic, and for good reason. Organic foods are defined as foods that don’t include the use of fertilizers, pesticides, industrial solvents, or additives, which all leads to benefits including ingesting fewer pesticides, fresher vegetables, and being better for the environment.
However, there seems to be one downside to eating organic, and that’s the price tag. Organic foods can cost upwards of 40% more than the same, non-organic foods. That’s why I’ve gathered these seven tips for eating organic, getting the nutrients you need, helping the environment, and keeping your wallet happy!
1. Shop store brands
Due to the increasing popularity of organic products, mass merchant retailers have produced organic store brands to give you more bang for your buck. Here’s a quick reference of a few major grocery chains and their organic store brands:
- Aldi: Simply Nature
- Walmart: Wild Oats
- Target: Simply Balanced
- Kroger: Simple Truth
- Albertson’s: Wild Harvest
- Food Lion: Nature’s Place
- Whole Foods: 365 Everyday Value
2. Shop from bulk dispensers
When you get through all the cardboard and plastics, you’ll find that you’re getting less for your money simply because of the packaging. Instead, shop bulk! Many stores sell spices, grains, and even snacks in bulk. They provide you with a thin plastic bag you can fill for a certain price per pound, and you’ll find that it’s cheaper than purchasing from the shelf.
3. Shop online
Photo by Julie Clopper
Online retailers have fewer expenses than brick and mortar stores, which means you have a better chance of finding good deals. Use online retailers to stock up on items that are cheaper than in the store. Amazon is a great source for organic goods, plus shipping is free for orders over $25.
Did you know you’ll always get free two-day shipping with an Amazon Prime account? Check out even more easy ways to save on expedited shipping, plus more reasons why you should sign up for Amazon Prime!
4. Shop farmer’s markets
Use LocalHarvest to find farmers in your area that sell organic goods. Inquire about their farming practices and procedures to find out what, if any, chemicals they use. To save some extra cash, shop stands late in the evening when they’re more inclined to reduce prices.
5. Buy only what you need
Shopping 100-percent organic is very expensive. You can save some money by purchasing organic goods that benefit you the most.
For example, according to the Environmental Working Group, there are 12 fruits and vegetables that are said to have the highest levels of pesticides: Apples, strawberries, nectarines, grapes, peaches, celery, spinach, bell peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, snap peas, and potatoes. Create a set of standards for what you’re looking for in organically grown foods and target that.
6. Look for sales & coupons
- Check Coupons.com for specific organic brand coupons, including Organic Prairie, Organic Valley, Nutiva, Earthbound Farm, and more.
- Frequently check the websites of your favorite organic retailers for coupons and special promotions. For example, Whole Foods has a special page for coupons in your area.
- Follow your favorite organic retailers’ social media sites for exclusive deals.
- Sign up for newsletters for special deals. If you sign up for Nutiva’s newsletter, you’ll receive special deals and new product alerts.
7. Grow it yourself
I bet you had no idea that deep inside you’re an organic farmer! Most home improvement chains like Lowe’s, Home Depot, and the garden center at Walmart sell a wide variety of fruits and vegetables that you can plant in the comfort of your own home. Seedlings are very affordable, and seeds are even cheaper.
If your home or apartment is spatially challenged, or you don’t think you have what it takes to grow your own organic goodies, search the web for patio gardens and start small. Once you’ve grown a large harvest of goods, freeze some and give some away to friends and family. The Organic Consumers Association has an essential guide for growing organic goods year round.