12 Ways To Eat Organic On A Budget

Last Updated on Mar 21, 2024 by HappyDieter

As many of us scrutinize our cash and tight budget, it’s important to not overlook one of our most important investments, our health. Non-organic food often contains cancer-causing hormones, immunity-destroying drugs, and dangerous pesticides. Pesticides are poison and can kill us. So when given the choice, I don’t know why anyone could logically buy food with poison sprayed on it? In hopes of mitigating the initial money pains of shopping for organic cash, we want to share the top ways to eat organic on a budget that we’ve gathered for you.

Key Takeaways

  • Buy in bulk: Purchasing organic items in bulk can help save money in the long run and reduce individual item costs.

  • Start your organic garden: Growing your own organic produce at home can be cost-effective and ensures fresh, pesticide-free food.

  • Use your freezer: Preserve organic foods by freezing them to prevent spoilage and extend their shelf life.

  • Buy local: Support local farmers and markets for fresh, affordable organic produce while reducing transportation costs.

  • Find deals online: Explore online platforms for discounts and promotions on organic products to save money without compromising quality.

  • Don’t waste food: Practice mindful consumption to maximize the use of organic ingredients and minimize food waste.

Grocery Shopping
Photo by USDAgov

1. Buy in bulk

Take advantage of the ‘buy one get one free’ sales or buy one get the other product for a discounted price. You never know when that same product will go on sale again, so make sure to take advantage of it and store to use it later.

(This trick only works if you really love this food and it is a staple at your home, otherwise this will lead to wasted money). Always buy packaged products on sale. Look for smaller organic spice packets or jars, because old spices lose their medicinal qualities so it is smarter to buy in smaller packages.

Buy the whole animal and freeze the rest of it. Many people who are on a budget do this all the time. This is one of the effective ways to eat organic on a budget. It is also a good idea to contact your local farmer and then split the cost with a group. These strategies can help you maintain an organic diet without straining your budget.

dairy products with eggs
Photo by The Little Squirrel

2. Make smart choices

Meat & dairy (animal products like cheese, butter, yogurt, chicken, eggs, milk, etc.) are the most important to eat organic because of the combined risk of cancer-causing growth hormone, pesticide, and drug exposure.

Whatever you do, just don’t skimp here. If you cannot afford organic, reduce meat and dairy consumption. For instance, eat a green smoothie for breakfast with toast, and then a large salad with lentils at lunch, or a wrap made with hummus, and then at night choose high-quality meat in small amounts.

Reduce the amount of organic meat used by substituting half the portion with organic beans. Buy a whole organic animal for less per pound, vs. just the breast, legs, or wings which are more expensive per pound. Do not buy pre-washed and ready-to-eat fruits and veggies, as they can cost twice as much.

Take Back Your Health Conference 2015 Los Angeles
Photo by takebackyourhealthconference

3. Start your own organic garden

If there are no good cooperatives and the stores in your area aren’t very cheap, it is a great idea to start your own garden and see what you can grow yourself.

You’d be amazed at what you can grow with a little hard work and a lot of sunshine. Good plants for beginners are cucumbers, tomatoes, garlic, Swiss chard, strawberries, and all kinds of different herbs.

The most important thing is to have some good soil and a spot that gets the sun all afternoon. The biggest thing about gardening is that no one knows everything, so the best thing to try for yourself. Put some seeds in the ground and wait. If you get a good harvest, you can save a bundle on your organic grocery bill.

Freezer
Photo by stephycupcake

4. Use your freezer

The organic frozen produce at the store costs much less than fresh, especially if the fruit or vegetable is out of season. You should freeze all leftovers using inexpensive mason glass jars or silicone ice molds for smaller amounts.

Freeze your homemade cookie dough and other foods like almond freezer fudge, so you can have them ready to go in the appropriate portion size. Search for local produce when in season and freeze them to use out of season; for example in the spring and summer spread blueberries on a sheet pan freeze overnight and then store them in jars for later.

Double your recipes and freeze leftovers; this works great also with soups and stews. Freeze core kitchen staples like bread scraps, butter, cheese bread crumbs, or homemade croutons.

Groceries
Photo by USDAgov

5. Choose organic brands that save you money

Choose less expensive grocery store brand products.

Regardless of the brand, they all need to follow the same laws set forth by the USDA organic certification program if products have the USDA organic seal, and chances are that you won’t notice the difference between a brand name and a store brand.

Be a member of grocery store loyalty programs for discounts. Always use your rewards cards. Most convenience stores, drug stores, and grocery stores allow you to sign up for a savings card or rewards that will help you save your money on a few of your items at the checkout counter. Even if this time of purchase doesn’t contain organic food, you will save the extra money on your items and buy another time.

Copley Square Farmer’s Market
Photo by Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

6. Buy local

Local food can be significantly cheaper than food shipped from miles away. Find a farmers market near you and get to know your local farmers, create a personal relationship, and negotiate prices.

Ask your farmer about his farming methods. Some farmers don’t spray pesticides on their crops but they also do not seek USDA certification to keep prices lower. Try to be the last person to leave the farmer’s market.

They will certainly cut their prices at the end of the day, so they don’t have to take their food back to the farm. Try buying a share in a community-supported agriculture program. It’s nice to contribute to the operating expenses of a local farm while getting a weekly box of fresh organic fruits and vegetables.

Turkey travel
Photo by Minamie’s Photo

7. Travel with organic food

Remember, a pricey restaurant doesn’t equal organic or quality food – going to a grocery store and buying organic food will save you money and your health.

Bring your organic food with you in a cooler – even if you’re flying. Bring organic tea with you and ask for hot water. A cup of tea can cost up to 5 dollars, vs. 1 dollar you would tip the barista or server.

Wherever you go, bring filtered water with you in a reusable safe water bottle so you don’t have to have to buy expensive bottled water. Always carry your homemade snacks in your purse. At the movies, bring your own organic popcorn or snacks if you can’t buy them there. There is no reason to pay a premium for conventional food.

Grocery Day
Photo by Emily Carlin

8. Stay organized

Plan out your meals focusing on organic foods that are on sale or that you have coupons for. It is a good idea to write your weekly and monthly budget to help you keep track of both responsible spending and erratic spending.

This will allow you to see your spending habits and help you prioritize buying organic food within your budget. Rather than buy it, do it yourself. Be creative. Make your organic smoothies, granola bars, juices, and kale chips to replace store-bought with organic ones.

Learn how to portion and prioritize. It is a must to always buy organic dairy products and meats, and therefore, learn to portion your consumption of these foods each week. For instance, keep meat to 4 ounces or less per serving.

Loblaws Maple Leaf Gardens
Photo by Produce Retailer

9. Know what you’re paying for

If you’re going to pay for your food more, you have to make sure what you’re getting is better. Marketers will try to trick you at every turn with their “natural” labels.

But, even “hormone-free” and “free-range” are not the same as “organic” foods. These labels might be true, but they are also not regulated by law. So make sure you’re buying foods with a “100% organic” label, meaning that they don’t contain synthetic ingredients.

“Organic” is also really good, which means the product must have no less than 95% organic ingredients. “Made with Organic Ingredients” simply means that they contain at least 70% organic ingredients, but who knows what the other 30% is? Fruits and vegetables are where you should spend the most of your money because they’re the most likely to contain pesticides. Anything that kills bugs is probably not safe for you either.

Buying Online
Photo by VirginiaUS

10. Find deals online

More companies are starting to have spectacular online deals for organic foods and green products. Search online or check for postings in your local health food store for an opportunity to buy your organic foods online.

Online stores can offer better deals than their brick-and-mortar counterparts because their business expenses can be much lower. Many don’t have to pay rent on a storefront, for example, and they can run their business with fewer employees.

So because of that, organic sellers can often offer better deals on organic food than you’ll find at your neighborhood store. One downside of buying online is that shipping costs eat into your savings. So that’s why it is usually a better idea to buy in bulk.

Winter freshness.
Photo by Person Behind the Scenes

11. Don’t waste food!

Don’t wash organic dark leafy greens or berries until they are ready to eat. Turn sour cream, tahini, almond butter, yogurt, and cottage cheese containers upside down when stored in the fridge, because this creates a vacuum seal, keeping your food fresh longer.

Store herbs, asparagus, and spring onions, upright in a glass filled with water. Search for tips and recipes on how to use over-the-edge food. For instance, Panzanella with stale bread and banana bread with overripe bananas.

If you know you won’t have a chance to eat it, freeze your food before it goes bad. Try to eat less, use a smaller plate to help you control the amount of food you might eat and so avoid wasting. Compost all food waste to put nutrients back in your garden (you will spend less on fertilizer).

Market at Ag Heritage Park
Photo by Auburn Alumni Association

12. Purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables that are in season

By buying locally grown produce in season you not only save your money on the distribution costs, but you also will enjoy foods that are more nutritious and taste better.

If you have a farmer’s market in your area, you should visit it and meet the people who grow the organic food. Many may not offer foods that are labeled as organically grown (because of the expense of having their farm certified as organic) but may grow their produce using the same principles.

Also, you should look into whether there are any Community Supported Agriculture groups (CSAs) in your area. These groups are a way to support and buy organic foods directly from farmers; because you commit to buying for the growing season, it’s usually less expensive.

Conclusion

By implementing the strategies outlined in this guide, you can effectively incorporate organic foods into your diet without breaking the bank. Buying in bulk, making smart choices, and utilizing your freezer are just a few ways to eat organic on a budget. Starting a garden, buying local, and being mindful of what you purchase are also key factors in eating organically on a budget. Remember to seek out deals online and support local farmers for fresh, seasonal produce that won’t strain your wallet. These are some of the effective ways to eat organic on a budget.

Now that you have these practical tips at your disposal, take the first step towards a more sustainable and budget-friendly lifestyle. By making conscious decisions about the food you consume, you not only benefit your health but also support environmentally friendly practices and local communities. Start today and enjoy the rewards of a balanced diet that nourishes both you and the planet. These are the ways to eat organic on a budget that can lead to a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle.

FAQ

Is buying in bulk a cost-effective way to eat organic on a budget?

Yes, buying organic items in bulk can help you save money in the long run. You can often get discounts when purchasing larger quantities of organic products, reducing the overall cost per unit.

How can starting my organic garden help me eat organic on a budget?

Starting your own organic garden allows you to grow fresh produce at home, saving money on grocery bills. You have control over the growing process, ensuring that your food is free from harmful chemicals and pesticides.

Are there benefits to using my freezer for organic foods?

Using your freezer can help extend the shelf life of organic foods, preventing wastage and saving you money in the process. You can buy organic items in bulk or freeze leftovers for later consumption, maximizing your budget.

How can I find deals online for purchasing organic products?

You can find deals on organic products by subscribing to newsletters of organic brands, following them on social media for exclusive promotions, and checking out online marketplaces for discounted prices. Look out for seasonal sales and special offers to save money.

Why is it important to purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables that are in season?

Buying locally grown fruits and vegetables that are in season not only supports local farmers but also ensures that you get fresh produce at its peak flavor and nutritional value. This practice often leads to lower prices compared to out-of-season imports.