Buying Organic on a Budget

Where IAfter writing about how I’ve made the change to buying all organic foods, I’ve received lots of questions about how I’ve been able to make that happen within budget.  Purchasing all-organic groceries is only slightly more expensive than buying conventional and has also provided an extra cost-saving bonus: improving my nutrition with an organic diet has saved me money on healthcare costs too. Today, I’m sharing how I save money on organic groceries.

My 4 Grocery Shopping Rules:

  1. Don’t buy something just because it’s on sale. I’m a sucker for a good deal, so I have to resist temptation and be intentional about buying only what I need.  If I don’t follow this rule, I usually end up spending more than I planned.
  2. Check for coupons before you check-out. While I’m not much of a coupon-er, I do check for coupons at the store before I purchase. At Whole Foods, they have a wall of coupons to look through when you walk in the store. And many stores, like Sprouts and Natural Grocers, put their coupon ads on their website; I’ll look on my phone while in line or before I walk in the store. You can save even more by looking for coupons in the weekly mailed ads, especially if you create your grocery list around those deals. Most coupons are for processed foods, but I often find some for fresh items too at the stores I list below.
  3. Make a list and stick to it. Plan out your meals for the week and make a shopping list. Knowing what you need to buy keeps you from wandering throughout the store and buying things you don’t need. I also have a running list of always-needed items, like toiletries, coconut oil and dog food, that I look for regularly and buy when they’re on sale.
  4. Buy fresh. Processed and pre-prepared foods are always more expensive than the actual ingredients.  Stick to the edge of the store as you shop and load up with fresh items to cook at home.  The bulk of your cart should be filled with organic produce & meat, not cardboard or plastic packages.

Where I Shop for the Best Deals:

  • Whole Foods – This might come as a surprise with the common nickname “whole paycheck,” but Whole Foods has actually had to reduce its prices lately to compete.  I regularly shop at Whole Foods and find some great deals. The hardest part is staying away from all the yummy pre-prepared food they have available… just don’t go shopping hungry!
  • Natural Grocers – This store always has incredible sales throughout the store.  They get much of their produce directly from local farmers and since it doesn’t have to travel miles on a truck to get there, it’s usually cheaper. Plus, if you use your debit card, you can save 5% on your total purchase.
  • Sprouts – Sprouts coupons run Wednesday-Wednesday, which means that on Wednesdays, they have double the amount of deals available than any other day of the week.  If you happen to be shopping on a Wednesday, this is the place to save money.
  • Farmers Market – Buying direct from the source saves on overhead costs, which ultimately saves you money. The best bonus here is that you’re supporting local farmers and ranchers who are passionate about providing healthy food options to their community.
  • Thrive Market – Think Whole Foods meets Costco meets Amazon. It’s an online shop that offers wholesale pricing on non-perishable organic foods, toiletries, vitamins and more. And, you get free shipping on orders over $49. Thrive Market is also socially conscious: they use recyclable packaging and when you sign up as a member, Thrive will donate a membership to a low-income family so they too can have access to lower cost organic foods. Get a 30-day free trial membership and 15% off your first order by signing up here!
  • Instacart – If you have a hard time buying more than what’s on your list when you grocery shop (or just don’t have time/hate going to the store), you should check this site out.  Here’s the deal: You pick what you want online, an Instacart shopper does all the shopping for you and then delivers your groceries to your front door at the time slot you choose. Whole Foods is a store option and the prices are usually the same as in-store; the only extra cost is a delivery fee. Since this process let’s you see exactly how items are adding up as you shop, I feel like it keeps me to my exact shopping list and budget. PLUS, Instacart will shop at Cost-Co without you having a membership to shop there, so that gets you even more savings. Get $5 off your first order here!
  • Where do I not shop for organic foods? My regular local grocery store, HEB.  The organic items are always more expensive, sometimes even double the cost of a natural foods store. So, if you’ve been comparing prices and seeing how expensive that organic apple is compared to its conventional counterpart, consider that it may be the store you’re at.

Think you can make the switch to buying all organic groceries? Or have any tips to share? I’d love to hear from you!

Happy Shopping!

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2 thoughts on “Buying Organic on a Budget

  1. Pingback: A Recap of 2016

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