Choosing organic options at the grocery store sounds like a wonderful idea…until you check the price tags. One of the biggest reasons that healthy and eco-conscious consumers fail to fully make the switch to organic products is cost, and it’s no secret that organic foods often cost more. Also remember that the real foods in a grocery store are located along the perimeter. The processed foods are in the center aisles. Try and shop the perimeters.
The health benefits of eating organic foods are undeniably positive since non-organic foods often contain pesticides and chemicals known to cause cancer, reduce immune system functioning, and alter hormones. Because of heavy pesticide use in conventional agricultural practices, these are some of the most important fruits and vegetables to buy organic:
- Bell Peppers
Fortunately, it’s entirely possible to eat organic even if you’re on a tight budget. Here are some budget-friendly tips for buying organic foods without breaking the bank.
Search for Organic Coupons
Keeping track of coupons (and remembering to use them!) might sound like a pain, but it can really save you some money at the grocery store. Your favorite local store may stock flyers, and chain stores often post coupons online. Here are some organic coupon resources to check out before your next shopping trip. Either print the coupons out at home or pull them up on your smartphone to scan at the register.
Plan Meals Ahead
Planning meals in advance may sound intimidating, but it’s a great way to avoid impulse purchases and control your expenses at the grocery store. Browse recipes and choose a couple for the week ahead, then make a list of all the ingredients you’ll need for those recipes. This way, you can decide which products are most important to you to buy organic and plan your budget accordingly.
Shop House Brands
Whole Foods may be the go-to destination for organic shoppers, but many popular chains have begun featuring house brands that are organic, sustainable, and affordable. For example, budget retailers, like Aldi and Walmart, carry organic foods that are more reasonably priced that most specialty stores. Aldi’s organic brand is Simply Nature, Walmart’s organic brand is Wild Oats Marketplace, and Target’s organic brand is Simply Balanced.
Buy in Bulk
Although many organic products are sold with quickly-approaching expiration dates, you can stock up on lots of items, such as organic rice, nuts, cereal, beans, and grains. Buying in bulk involves a larger price tag up-front but saves you money in the long run with larger quantities and less wasteful packaging. You might think that you don’t have a large enough family to shop at Costco, but that membership fee might be worth it if you have room to bulk up on organic staples with long shelf lives.
Seek Out Local Farmer’s Markets
A Saturday morning trip to the farmer’s market is a routine for many families because it’s a great way to eat fresh and support the local agricultural industry. Organic produce that’s grown in your area will likely be cheaper than organic produce shipped in from across the country too. One money-saving tip here is to stick around the farmer’s market just before closing time. Some farmers are willing to cut prices before they leave for the day so they don’t have to transport all that produce back to the farm.
Don’t Let Food Go to Waste
Especially in America, food waste is a huge problem. Carefully read the labels of products you buy to preserve them properly and monitor dates so they don’t expire before you’re ready to eat them. Simple tricks, like lining your refrigerator’s crisper drawers with paper towels to absorb moisture, can help produce last longer.
Grow a Garden
But by far, one of the most economical ways to eat organically is to grow your own food! If you were born without a green thumb or have limited yard space, start with an herb pot filled with basil, mint, and other herbs in your kitchen. Out in the garden, shop for non-GMO seeds and check out these growing tips from the Organic Consumers Association. An excellent resource for the do-it-yourself gardener is a blog called Loyalgardener.com.