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The Ultimate Guide to Eating Organic Food on a Budget

1. Don’t buy produce out of season.

In a perfect world, we could buy a box of fresh, juicy strawberries year-round. Since this world exists only in our dreams, we can only buy delicious produce when it’s in-season. If you’re really craving strawberries in the dead of winter, buy them frozen. Buying produce out of season will be more expensive, and you’ll end up with a less quality product. 

2. Try frozen organic veggies.

Frozen vegetables are less expensive than fresh produce, yet they retain most of the nutrient due to an efficient flash-freeze process. 

3. Master the art of couponing.

Become a coupon queen or king. Your grocery store app may offer deals on organic goods, and you can also check out websites for organic supermarkets or brands. Whole Foods has a coupon page on their website, and there are websites like Organic Deals that are dedicated to collecting coupons on organic goods. 

4. GIY: Grow-it-yourself.

Put your green thumb to good use. Growing expensive produce, particularly herbs, can save you big bucks. A little bit of organic basil will cost more than buying a basil plant—and it’s much more expensive than planting the seeds yourself). For a few dollars, you have basil for months. When the season is coming to a close, you can preserve them and have that fresh flavor for the cold months. Just take an ice cube tray and fill each cube with diced herbs and olive oil. Pop the tray in the freezer and voila! 

5. Bulk up your pantry.

Most natural food stores and supermarkets have a bulk food section. You can find organic grains, spices, and oats in your bulk food aisle. Bulk food dispensers allow you to buy as much or as little as you need, and are typically cheaper than buying pre-packaged food.

6. Be an informed shopper.

Do you know which groceries are most likely to contain pesticides? The Environmental Working Group does. Every year, the EWG compiles two lists: the “dirty dozen” and the “clean fifteen”. Foods on the dirty dozen list are extremely likely to carry persistent pesticide residue, even after washing and peeling.  Buy organic alternatives whenever possible.

On the other hand, the clean fifteen fruits and veggies are least likely to have pesticide residue. When it comes to the clean fifteen, you can save money by opting for non-organic. 

7. Skipping convenience saves money.

If it saves time, it costs money. Salad that’s already washed, chopped and packaged for you is going to cost several dollars more than a head of lettuce. Those bottled smoothies that are jam-packed with real fruit costs about 5 bucks a bottle. You can buy organic milk and frozen fruit for about the same price; then you’ll have enough for several smoothies. 

8. Support your local farmers.

Your local farmers market is a great source for fresh, natural produce. You’ll know exactly where your food is coming from and you may be able to negotiate for better prices, too. Cutting out the middle man not only saves money, but helps the farmers in your community. 

9. Don’t snub generic brands.

Going organic on a budget is easier now than ever before. The prevalence of store-brand organic goods has increased over the years. You can find affordable, organic groceries at stores like Walmart and Costco. 

10. Shop the sales.

Natural grocers and big-name supermarkets alike have weekly sale flyers and free newsletters. Staying up-to-date on the week’s specials can really pay off. Many stores offer deals on both premium goods and their in-house organic label as well. Whether you get your flyer in the mail or subscribe to an e-newsletter, it doesn’t hurt to know what’s on sale.