9 Ways to Save Money on Organic Food
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Ten years ago, I had no idea what “organic” meant. I was an Extreme Coupon Queen. I could proudly rattle off the best ways to save tons of money on name brand beauty products, snacks, and a vast array of processed foods. All that came crashing down when I developed persistent eczema, and I set out on a mission to overhaul my entire lifestyle (and thus, CrunchyHippieLife was born!). But as it turns out, you can take the girl out of the coupons, but you can’t take the frugal out of the girl. So of course, I set out to figure out how to save money on organic food.
9 Amazing Ways to Save Money on Organic Food
Shopping at farmer’s markets has been such a great way for me to save money on produce. I love how fresh the produce is, I love that you can get to develop relationships with the people who grow your food (or at least, who source your food). It is easier to eat seasonally, which increases the variety of your diet and diversifies your nutrients.
Our local farmer’s market has a clearance section that I check every week, where everything is bagged up for $1 a bag. I have found bags of eggplant, several pounds of green beans, the most delicious sandwich bread I have ever tasted in my life, and tons of bananas – perfect for homemade vegan banana muffins (with and without walnuts), or vegan cacao nice cream, which may or may not knock your socks off.
My point is, spend 10 minutes doing a Google search for “farmers market (your town here)” or “produce stand (your town here)” and see what your options are. Read the reviews, and arrange your schedule to check them out.
Going to our local farmer’s market has become one of our favorite Saturday afternoon family activities, and it has the added benefit of making our boys more excited to eat real food!
You’ve probably heard about Thrive Market before. It’s basically the Costco version of Whole Foods, but in Amazon form. Sounds amazing, right?
I’ve priced out my favorite name-brand things, and it is definitely cheaper to order them from Thrive Market than anywhere else. They also have frequent sales for members, so there is always opportunity to save even more money.
Thrive Market is a great place to stock up on nonperishable organic items at a much lower price than you can buy in a store. A few basic pantry staples will add a lot of options, allowing you to save more money while eating a balanced, whole-food based diet.
Other things I love about them: The annual membership is just $59 (almost the same as a Sam’s Club or Costco), and your membership pays for not just a membership for you, but also a membership for a qualifying low-income family, student, teacher, veteran, or first responder. You can apply for a scholarship membership by clicking this link.
With food deserts and the increasing cost of food, I am a huge fan of supporting other people’s access to healthy food within their budget for themselves and their children.
Did you know that food waste is a huge issue – not just what your mom told you growing up “eat your food, there are starving children in (insert name of country here),” but also in the grocery store?
Did you know that grocery stores only want the “pretty” food? We have become such a visually stimulated culture that we only want fresh fruits and vegetables that look a certain way, and we throw away the perfectly good produce just because it looks a little different.
Imperfect Produce is able to offer a significant discount on produce because they buy the unwanted produce for a steep discount, and pass along those savings. Your kiwi might be curved, your carrots might have legs, and your tomatoes might have a wrinkle fold, but it still tastes the same and has the same nutritional value.
While they have both conventional and organic options, if you are wanting to commit to eating more organic produce, but are nervous about the price tag at most stores, shopping with Imperfect Produce is the perfect solution.
Boxes are customizable in several ways. Choose between small, medium, and large boxes. Choose between conventional and organic. Choose between fruit only or vegetable only. Choose between every week deliveries and every other week deliveries. And finally, choose the contents of your fully customizable boxes – or let it be a surprise!
I’ve written before about how much I love Brandless, the online store where brands aren’t allowed, so the brand tax doesn’t apply. This means that everything is so much more affordable.
Their organic products are the non-perishable items, and a great way to stock up on healthy vegan options. My personal favorite organic products are the granola, coconut oil, maple syrup, peanut butter (best peanut butter I’ve ever tasted, honestly), and salsa.
They also have plenty of cruelty-free, healthy self care products, including face wash, shampoo, and shower gel. Also, I am completely obsessed with their grapefruit dish soap. It smells heavenly.
They have tons of products now for your home and baby as well, including a monthly subscription service where you can have all your favorite products delivered every month – including their environmentally friendly disposable diapers, organic baby food pouches (a hit with my toddler!), and that beautiful dish soap.
Get $6 off your first order and discover the Brandless difference today.
Groupon – Green Bean Delivery
When I was single, I used Green Bean Delivery every other week for an easy delivery of organic produce straight to my door. Since getting married and cutting down our budget significantly, I have enjoyed the occasional delivery of Green Bean when they have a deal for their produce boxes on Groupon.
Green Bean is a delivery program that supplies boxes for either $20 or $35. It is a subscription box, delivered either each week or every other week, but you can cancel the subscription at any time, there are no contracts.
Each box is filled with a variety of 8-10 seasonally sourced fruits and vegetables. It is typically a mix of organic and conventionally grown produce. You can customize your box prior to each delivery, to ensure you get exactly what you want. Or, if you want to be truly creative, you can just let the standard box arrive and use it as a way to try new fruits and vegetables.
They also have several extras that you can add on, including baked goods, organic dairy, eggs, and grass-fed meats, if you’re into that.
If you have purchased Green Bean before, be sure to check the details section of the Groupon voucher before purchasing, to make sure enough time has lapsed between when you last ordered a box and now. At the time of this writing, your account could not be active within at least 3 months in order to redeem the voucher.
Before ordering your voucher, be sure to sign into Groupon through your Ebates account to save even more money. I was able to get a rebate of $0.28 on my voucher, just by using Groupon.
This means that I was able to get a $35 box of organic produce for less than $12 after the voucher and rebate.
Buy In Bulk and Split It With a Friend
Buying items in bulk is a well-known way to reduce excessive packaging and transportation waste, which in turn saves a significant amount of money.
Joining bulk co-ops like Azure Standard gets you amazing deals on everything from fresh produce to coconut oil to salt. No joke, I still have about half a 20 pound bag of pink himalayan sea salt I purchased from Azure Standard in our first few months of marriage.
I love their website not only for the sales pages with the amazing deals, but also the wealth of information and recipes. Their tagline is “standard of healthy and abundant living.”
Azure Standard has evolved quite a bit since I first started using them over 6 years ago, and now they carry everything from food to laundry detergent to clothing and bathing products.
Some of the produce comes in true bulk form – a 10 pound box of mushrooms, for example. I personally don’t know anyone who can consume that amount of fungi before it goes slimy, so this would be a good product to buy for the savings and split with a friend (or two).
My favorite items to purchase from them in bulk are their non-perishable items like sea salt, coconut oil, raw nuts, and chia seeds.
While it used to be you had to meet the giant semi truck during a very specific drop off time at that area’s designated drop-off, now they offer the option to have it directly shipped to your house (for a small shipping fee, of course). Otherwise, if you’re down with meeting other frugally minded, health-conscious people, your products are free to pick up at the drop-off station.
Buy In Season and Preserve
Another classic tip from your grandma, buying food when it is in season means that the prices are the lowest, and the products are the most naturally fresh. Nutrient density is higher as well, making eating seasonally the best recommendation for a plant-based diet.
However, sometimes we don’t want to only eat green beans or blueberries only during the season they are naturally harvested in, and so we stock up at the lowest price and preserve them.
There are a few popular ways you can preserve fruits and veggies: freezing, canning, and dehydrating. We have been focusing on stocking up on a variety of berries each week and freezing them for smoothies. I have made and canned apple butter after going apple picking. I bought a cookbook about raw food that has several tempting recipes using a dehydrator (or an oven, if you don’t have a dehydrator).
Homesteading coach Sarah Howard (you might remember her from this post about creating a garden in your apartment) offers an entire course on this topic of preserving your food for year-round enjoyment. You can find more information on that course on her Facebook group.
Grow Your Own
Speaking of Sarah, her post about creative ways to grow your own food, even if you live in a small space, was so insightful and inspiring! Looking back, I think we would have been able to at least grow spinach in our windowsill in our tiny apartment. We had literally no outdoor space, but I do feel like I could have done more and taken better advantage of the space.
Be sure to also check out the Urban Gardening Wish List, which are all of my favorite gardening accessories to help you create the tiny (or large) garden of your dreams. The cycle in which you nurture the soil, grow food, return the scraps of that food to the soil via homemade compost, and begin again is just such a beautiful and grounding experience (no pun intended!), that I want to help everyone make the process as simple as possible.
Our garden is just flourishing this year and it brings me such joy to feed my family foods that I have carefully grown and cultivated. I am already planning for next year’s upgrades!
Earn Gift Cards to Amazon Pantry
I wrote this post about how we bought organic products for free a few years ago. If you use websites like Swagbucks (which pay you in gift cards to places like Amazon), you can use those Amazon gift cards to fill up an Amazon Pantry box. Shipping is just $4.99 and the box has plenty of room.
I remember one time we had a $50 gift card for answering a survey, and we were able to purchase toilet paper, gum, cereal, baking supplies, and everything in between. I still remember looking at everything piled high on the kitchen table and feeling like we had won the lottery, since we had worked the total amount to include the $4.99 and didn’t have to pay anything out of pocket.
Amazon Pantry has tons of brand name items you are used to seeing in your regular grocery store, but for at least 10% off the regular price, if not more.
Amazon Fresh is a newer off-shoot, but they cover the fresh produce side of food delivery and have tons of organic options as well. They are a separate monthly subscription that includes unlimited deliveries of fresh produce, but you do receive a reduced rate on your Amazon Prime membership. Amazon Fresh is not yet available everywhere (mostly just near the coasts), but Amazon Pantry is available all over the USA.
You do have to be a member of Amazon Prime in order to use Amazon Pantry, but you can sign up for a free 30-day free trial here. Just be sure to cancel before the 30th day if it’s not something you want to continue paying for each month!
Wrapping it All Up
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to save money on organic food. I think my favorite part about this entire list is just seeing how many options there are available to anyone with a computer or smart phone. With customizable boxes and various monthly subscription opportunities, there are several discounts available for your organic groceries available at the click of a button and delivered right to your door.
It is so encouraging to see so many companies responding to the lack of resources they see for many people in the country. I am hopeful that we will see a shift away from people believing that healthy food is too expensive, and we will begin to see the mindset shift from “I can’t afford to eat healthy” to “healthy food is available to me and helps me succeed in life.”
That shift is what motivates me as a Responsible Living coach, because I know the power of healthy food!
For other tips on stretching your grocery budget as far as it will go, check out my free ebook, Dirt Cheap Nutrition. See how we ate on just $25 a week!
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