What Suggestions Do You Have For Saving On Organics?

I received a great question last week from a reader, and wanted to share it with you all (and ask for suggestions!)  Here's the question:

 

 Eating organic is very important to us but our grocery budget is so high. It's been about $350 a week for a while now, even with that we still feel that we don't end up with a lot of food for the week. We shop at Earth Fare. Not everything we buy is organic but our meats and dairy have to come from the right farms and we don't do preservatives, food dyes, corn syrup etc… Also my husband is a celiac so he has some dietary needs as well. We are going to try to do this because we know we can at least save on toilet paper and paper towels, razors etc… I was just wondering if you had any advice as far as couponing goes in regards to the natural and organic food brands.

 
 

One of the biggest complaints I hear when teaching coupon classes is that coupon deals are only available for processed foods.  While I agree that there are loads of processed food coupons out there, there are also deals to be had on healthier, non-processed foods (you just have to work a little harder for the deals!)   Here are a few suggestions:

  • Shop for everything other than food using coupons: for example toiletries, cleaning supplies, paper products, etc.  Once you get really good at couponing, even try out drug store shopping to get many of those items for free.  While you're probably not going to cut your grocery budget as far as you'd like through that alone, you will see substantial savings on a portion of your grocery bill.
  • Be mindful of the best prices for your meat – whether you choose organic or non-organic.  When you see meat on sale at your target prices, stock up!!!  Also, consider checking out meat markdowns:  recently I purchased organic whole chickens at Publix for $.79/lb. because they were nearing their expiration date, so I ran home and cooked them right up! (Right now Publix has whole chickens on sale for $1.09/lb. and Organic Whole Chickens for $1.99/lb., which is probably a reasonable price for organic whole chicken.)
  • Eat fruits and veggies according to what's in season.  You'll find drastic savings on produce when you purchase it during it's peak season.  For the past month canteloupe has frequently on sale for $1.50, so our family will be eating canteloupe until the next fruit goes on sale!  And, if you're up for it, plant a garden!  My husband has a tiny garden in our back yard, and with just that little garden we hardly ever have to purchase store bought spaghetti sauces, or even items like green peppers or beans because we grow them in the summertime and freeze them for the winter.
  • Make the most of Earthfare Whole Foods, or other specialty grocers if you have them in your town.  Here in our area Earthfare has quite a few deals, and offers outstanding customer service.  Most Wednesdays Earthfare offers a coupon for a free item with purchase in addition to their store coupons, and you can even get a full complete meal (including whole chicken, veggies, and potatoes), when you sign up for their e-club!)  I'm not as familiar with Whole Foods, so if you anyone has more experience there, please chime in!
  • Amazon is a wonderful resource, especially for gluten free and organic foods.  I'm amazed at all the food items available from Amazon, and if you get start using  Swagbucks, you can use your “Swag money” to get Amazon items for free!  (It does get a little more difficult, but lately I've purchased all my peanut butter from Amazon using free gift cards from Swagbucks, and it's been shipped right to my door with free shipping and no tax!)  Check out this deal on Bob's Red Mill Organic Brown Rice Flour when you choose “subscribe and save”.  Get rice flour for just $2.22 per pouch!
  • Consider your dietary needs as you plan your budget.  My mother-in-law eats a gluten-free diet, and I'm often shocked at the price of her groceries.  So, recognizing that your budget may be different than someone else's, determine a realistic goal for your family.  Start by cutting out just $10-$20 a week, and slowly inch your way towards your larger savings.  (Remember, changing your grocery budget won't happen over night, but it can happen . . . I promise!)
  • Check out these blogs that focus on saving with organic deals:

Saving Naturally

Heavenly Homemakers

Organic Deals

Keeper of the Home

 
 

In our home we do try to limit the number of processed foods we eat, however I personally do not purchase organic foods.  (I have bought quite a few gluten-free-dairy-free-casein-free products for my mother-in-law though!)  I typically spend the bulk of my grocery money on meat and fresh produce, aiming to save on just about everything else.  Hopefully through saving on other purchases as well as the way you grocery shop, you'll free up a little cash to use towards the more expensive necessities on your list.

 

What other suggestions do you have for purchasing organic items or food for special dietary needs?  I know several people give up on couponing over this issue alone, but I believe there are still deals to be had .  . . you just may need to look a little harder to find them! 

 

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Comments

  1. Check out Mambo Spouts (http://www.mambosprouts.com/) They have lots of organic coupons.

    I have picked up ground chuck at Earthfare for 1.35 a lb before!!!!! If you buy 3 or more lbs at once, they knock off .30 cents / lb! so get to know your butcher! I don’t know if this is true for like the cheese section or not, but worth asking!

    Grow your own herbs! Herbs can be so expensive. I found an idea in a magazine and am trying it out right now. But basically, you can grow herbs fairly simply in soda bottles. We shall see!

    Garden and put up your veggies! I freeze most of my veggies for later in the year. I also make my own tomato products (speghetti, salsa, tomato sauce, etc.) I make my own jelly and jams as well. Once you make the initial investment in glass jars (I also use pop lid spaghetti jars), you can put up alot!

  2. I am not a purest, but we do buy organic dairy products. I work hard to save in other areas in order to keep organic milk, eggs and cheese on hand. We also don’t do totally organic in meat – but only buy perdue chicken because it is the only one with no added hormones or steroids – always and every time it is free of those. This is my way of eating relatively ‘organic’ meat – although my ‘purest’ friends disagree – I feel very comfortable with this for our family. I attended a conference once where the doctor presenting the material said if you will go organic on your cows and chickens you have conquered 90% of the battle. This is where we could find a happy medium – both in our spirits and in our budget. These are just my thoughts – but hopefully helpful. I scored alot of Perdue chicken this week at Publix for 1.50 a pound after coupons. I also rack up on milk BIG time at earthfare when they have a $5 dollar promotion. I buy a gallon of milk and a lemon which puts me over the $5 dollar limit and then I do it several times over those few days. I also watch for high fructose corn syrup and try to avoid it all costs – which is relatively easy to do in a regular grocery store. Hope this helps. Shopping organic and healthy is hard but we have kept our monthly budget for 4 people under $350 doing all of the things listed.

    • Thanks Hope for sharing – especially how much you spend! I have a friend who purchases quite a bit of organics and still coupons and I think she’s around $75-$100 per week . . . which is a pretty great grocery budget especially when considering organics 🙂

  3. Laurie- This email’s author is my neighbor. 🙂 I read it through and called her up and said “did you send PPP an email?” Small world.

    • It is a small world Tracy! 🙂 I just know it’s so much harder to save on organics, but it was a great question! (And I do think it can be done!)

  4. I am a very focused organic eater and this happened before it was popular. We have been eating organic for 11 years. I post organic coupons on my blog almost daily. I have huge posts geared just towards organic coupons as well.

    Here is what we have and continue to do. We buy grass-fed cows by the 1/4 or 1/2 so we never have to buy beef. We raise our own chickens for eggs and meat so we never have to buy eggs or chicken. Since we really don’t eat much pork, we have no need to try and buy or raise it, but if we did we would buy by the half.

    We also started our own co-op and had a semi come once a month for some time. Now we have a limited co-op based on UPS delivery.

    The biggest thing we do is plant a garden and can or freeze everything we are able to. This is a huge benefit for sure.

    Now I understand that not everyone can do this. I will soon blog on this and places you can get fresh food cheap. I can’t remember what it is called of my heard. CSA or something like that. Heehee, my old brain. Just google it.

    I sure hope this helped.

  5. Laurie,
    I have not had a chance to post about this on my website yet, but I plan on it. But for local readers, Dove Farm is a great place to get vegetables, beef, poultry & eggs. The website is : http://www.dovefarm.org/
    They don’t feed the animals organic food, but they do make sure the animals are fed all natural foods. All of the products are free of added hormones, antibiotics, and other harmful drugs and chemicals. If you sign up for the newsletter he will let you know when produce & meat are ready to purchase. The meat is not cheap, but we are really considering buying 1/2 a cow this year. Just an idea.

  6. Whole Foods has online printable coupons on their website and my Publix accepts them as a competitor. I try to match their coupons with a manufacturer’s coupon and purchase these items at Publix. Some items that I frequently buy this way are Udi’s gluten free bread items, Muir Glen Tomato products, Wolfgang Puck Soups, etc. Hth 🙂

  7. My friends and I have found a way of buying organic produce at a cheaper price: splitting. We buy organic food in bulk at wholesale prices and split the cost. Being in a group also gives us power to negotiate with suppliers and producers. We are using an online tool called SplitStuff (http://splitstuff.com) which makes splitting fast and easy. In fact, we buy other household items in bulk as well so we save money, time and energy.

  8. Crystal in Madison says

    Here’s an easy one: go to Kroger. I’ve often found their organic dairy on closeout/clearance as it nears a date. I freeze cheeses, milks, yogurts, butter, anything! I’ve also found that if I sign up for the company newsletters of manufacturers I like, it’s possible to get some coupons that way. Even Earthbound has some. You can have “unhealthy” friends sign up for you also and you guys can trade coupons!!

    Have you checked out the online coupon clippers? I’ve not done that, but it could work for many items.

  9. Crystal in Madison says

    Oh yeah, sometimes Kroger has organic produce as a loss leader (Organic Fujis were around $1.20/lb in Jan/Feb. timeframe). Could be worth it to you to hit up both the stores!

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