How To… Save on Organic

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I wanted to write this post to show that there are ways to save on organic! But first let me start from the beginning, with the basics.

Why organic?

  • Various pesticides are used on produce to keep bugs from eating them. While these pesticides do serve a purpose, I still hate the thought of consuming these same pesticides. Furthermore, there are antibiotics and hormones added to meat to enhance growth. For example, many chickens are injected with hormones to plump up fuller and faster – why would I want these hormones in my body? Learn more from the movie, Food, Inc.
  • So why do I prefer organic? I feel it is important to honor the body God gave me. And considering the information above, eating more organic is really a personal decision that I have felt convicted towards. I realize that there is conflicting research in regards to the nutrition of organic food versus non-organic food; however, I want my food the way God created it to be. This is where my convictions have led me.
  • You may have other reasons, and if so, I want to hear about them! Comment please.

What to buy organic?

I have seen several articles on this, and honestly not all agree. If I could, I would buy all organic. But I don’t. Given that I’m frugal-minded, this is a constant area I battle in my budget and grocery shopping.

  • My general rule of thumb with produce is if the skin is thin or soft, such as with berries, apples, and even spinach leaves, I buy organic. With a thick skin, such as that on a banana or an orange, I buy non-organic.
  • As far as meats, organic is best because hormones are never used on these animals.
  • Additionally, organic dairy also makes a big difference. Just as I don’t want to eat a hormone-injected cow’s meat, I don’t want to drink their milk either.

Where to buy organic?

  • Whole Foods. They have a great selection of organic items. If there’s an organic item I can’t find elsewhere, I always go there. Also, I know Whole Foods gets a bad rep for being over-priced, but as far as organic goes, I am not convinced that their organic is always overpriced. Many times I find it to be priced better than Target even! Perhaps this is because they specialize in organic. Additionally, I buy my meat at Whole Foods because all of their meat is raised the same – “organic” or not. (Read this posting for more info on that.) Many times I buy “natural” chicken at Whole Foods, without the “organic” label. Sure it’s more expensive than the “natural” at Target or elsewhere, but I know Whole Foods meat policy. And it’s still not as expensive as the chicken, whose farmer paid for the “organic” label.
  • Super Target. Target sells tons of organic produce! And many times there are Target coupons for produce to make for a great deal. And unless they specify that you cannot use them on organic, you can! Their coupons can be found in the booklets that are sent out. (I’m sorry – it’s a mystery to me as to how you get on this mailing list.) These coupons also sometimes print at the register (called “catalina coupons”). Target coupons can also be printed online or accessed from your cell phone.
  • Sprouts. Sprouts often has organic milk and dairy on sale. And in my region, they sometimes have organic meat, as well as produce. Sprouts also carries organic breads and snacks. If you shop there on Double Ad Wednesdays, you can shop the deals from the previous week and the upcoming week to save even more.
  • CostCo. Surprisingly, CostCo does sell some organic. True, you have to buy it in bulk, but if you are trying to feed several mouths, this may not be a bad thing. They have organic snacks, dips, salads, meats, produce, and dairy! I cannot speak for all wholesale retailers, which is why I only mention the name “CostCo.” But I know for a fact that they sell many varieties of organic items at great prices. They are often one of the lowest prices on my mental price comparisons.

Where to find organic coupons?

  • Be sure to pick up the Whole Deal the next time that you are at Whole Foods. You can also print out many of these same coupons (though some are different) online. Plus, a great perk is that many Whole Foods locations will allow you to stack coupons – one Whole Foods coupon and one manufacturer’s coupon. (Because they do not have a set coupon policy, I cannot say this is the case everywhere, but I would encourage you to talk to your store’s customer service if you are having an issue stacking. Explain politely that with a Whole Foods coupon, they are allowing you to save, and with a manufacturer’s coupon, the manufacturer is allowing you to save and reimbursing Whole Foods for the value of the coupon. This tactic worked for me. I printed out an email I had confirming this from Whole Foods customer service and carry it in my coupon binder.)
  • Delicious Living.
  • Health e-Savers.
  • Mambo Sprouts. These coupon booklets can sometimes be found at Sprouts as well.
  • Be sure to check your favorite brands’ websites! Susan from Organic Deals has a long list of organic brands that contain coupons on their websites!
  • Coupons.com, SmartSource, and the Briefing are great sources for coupons as well. And while many are conventional, I have gradually found more and more organic coupons being added. Keep your eyes peeled!
  • Produce coupons come out rarely anyway, so many times organic or not, I don’t have coupons for the produce I buy. But when you find produce coupons, check to see if it specifies organic vs. non-organic. If it doesn’t say, you can use it on organic!

Other ways to save on organic.

  • As you can tell, organic coupons are becoming more popular, but there are still not nearly enough of them. I save a lot of money simply by making mental (or sometimes written) notes about the prices at different stores on organic items. This gives me a frame of reference for price comparisons. Then I shop at those stores, and especially sales, as often as possible.
  • Additionally, buying produce that is in season saves a lot too.

As a side note, if the organic produce is ever just unaffordable, I will buy non-organic. I still think that some nutrition is better than none at all.

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Comments

  1. Great information…thanks for passing it along!

    I agree with your convictions on eating food the way God created it and intended it to be. I go back and forth with my budget as well. I have found that buying mostly organic produce has not hurt our budget enough to worry about it. And I almost always buy meat that is w/o hormones…for some reason that bothers me even more than the thought of the pesticides. I know that when we have kiddos I want them to eat all organic (as much as our budget will allow)…so we are slowly transitioning to that ourselves. Just as anything else, you have to follow your convictions. You stated your convictions very nicely! :)

  2. st3phanini says:

    I really like your “general rule of thumb with produce is if the skin is thin or soft” very easy to remember … thank you for the info very useful.

  3. Thank you so much for the info and links!
    If it helps, the Environmental Working Group has an excellent list of the commercial fruits and veggies that show the most pesticide residue (as tested by the FDA), so they should be purchased as organic whenever possible…
    http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/list/
    nik recently posted..A Rare FindMy Profile

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