LET’S DO THIS!

41 Ways to Save on Organic Food

41 Ways to Buy Organic on a Budget!

We’ve all heard it, right? “I want to buy organic food but it’s just so expensive!” Not so my friend.

Shauna is going to blow that excuse right out of the water with my Top Tips to Buying Organic Food (aka Real Food) on a Budget. That’s right. All 41 of them.

If you’re just starting to get into the organic world, don’t get overwhelmed. It’s not an overnight thing.

You need to find the best resources available in your area and start pounding the pavement. These tips are meant to help you out so you can find the best deals and save the most money.

And if you’re a #moneysavingrockstar, be sure to share you’re own money saving tips with us below. 

41 Tips To Buying Organic on a Budget

1. Shop OnlineAmazon, VitaCost, Thrive Market are all wonderful places to grab your organic foods and huge savings. What’s better than saving money and lighting up when your package arrives on your porch?! ;)

2. Sign Up For Savings – Find your fave stores and see if they’ve got newsletters that you can sign up for. Whole Foods, Costco, Sprouts and other major chains offer up coupons and sometimes you can even sign up for your fave brand newsletters. Nutiva offers a killer Tuesday deal for it’s newsletter subscribers. 

3. That’s What Friends Are For – Got some friends or family members that you can drag along to the store with you? Great! Save some cash and go halves on a lot of the items you buy. This is perfect to do at Costco (see #4). Who needs 10 pounds of sweet potatoes. But split that with a friend, and you’ll still reap the savings from buying in bulk but you only have just what you need and your friend will have the same. The same thing goes for 12 packs of canned tomatoes, bulk meats, etc.

4. Costco, Baby (warehouse stores) – I heart Costco. In fact, I’m in the midst of writing a brand new (super lengthy) blog post called, “Costco :: Buy This, Not That” and it’s almost ready to share. I cannot wait. For saving money now, grab your Costco membership (Sam’s Club is another one but I’m not familiar with it) and go get shopping. I’ve been a member since college and watching the organic selection grow over the years has been awesome. As with any store, you gotta watch out for the things you think are cheap that actually aren’t.

5. Love The Ugly Ducklings – Some stores have an ugly duckling section which is produce that might have spots, dents or just look funky that are deeply discounted. Ask your favorite stores (or farmer’s markets) if they’ve got these at their stores. If they do, grab them up. It might be stuff that’s about to go bad, but you can eat it up right away or pop in the freezer. Also check online for ugly produce box deals or delivery service. They can save you a ton of cash. 

6. Closing Time – A great time to get a smokin’ deal at the farmer’s market is at the end of their day. For me, we go about 30 minutes before closing and see what deals we can snatch up. Farmers usually drastically cut their prices at the end of the day just to make sure they get rid of as much produce as possible (and to not have to bring it back to the farms).

7. Just ask – This goes with #6 and #5. If you’re shopping at the farmer’s market, ask for a deal. The worst someone can say is no. It’s nothing personal. But, they might say yes. So go for it. It never hurts to ask. 

8. Buy Ingredients, Not Packages – Are you one of the 8 million people that say, “I can’t afford to eat healthy” but are so focused on the fact that you can’t afford organic or to eat more fresh fruits and veggies that you don’t realize pound for pound, produce is the most affordable thing on the planet? Eating a wide variety of fresh produce can deliver just about everything your body needs. Each time you buy a bag of chips, popcorn, cookies, twinkies, soda, sport waters, etc., you’re making a choice to feed your body crap and not what it actually needs. These types of “convenience foods” not only are completely unhealthy, they’re completely unnecessary and actually cost more per pound than real food does. Grabbing a “breakfast” for a family of 4 at McDonald’s costs around 25 bucks, but making a quick green smoothie or a quick sausage and egg breakfast sammie at home can run you under 10 bucks! And you might even have some leftovers. So, stick with real food and real ingredients and walk away from the packages.

9. Bulk Bins Rule – Need just a ½ cup of almond meal or a few nuts for a recipe? Check the bulk bins and save some money by buying only what you need. This reigns so true for spices! Have you ever followed a recipe then grabbed some foreign spice or sauce and 8 years later it’s in the back of your spice cabinet. Yea, me too! So, instead of wasting all that cash, grab just what you need if you KNOW it’s something that’s not in your normal routine and you won’t use more than a teaspoon. Hahah!

10. Let The Season Decide – Try letting the season (and, what’s on sale for that matter!) decide what’s for dinner instead of the other way around. This saves you time, money and gets you the freshest tasting food possible!

11. The Freezer Is Your Friend – If something’s about to go bad on you – freeze it! That’ll give you more time to deal with it instead of tossing it in the trash. Got greens that are about to turn south? Blend them up with a little water and freeze in ice cube trays. Then you can pop them into soups, stews sauces to bump up that green factor. I’ve even been known to toss a bag of greens straight into the freezer. Got meat that’s gonna turn south, pop in the freezer so you can thaw it another day once you’re ready to use it. Another tip, keep nuts, flours, and other items that you don’t use too often in the freezer to keep it from turning rancid (all nuts and nut flours have high fat content so they get rancid super fast). Stop that by storing them in a zip bag or a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid.

12. Shop The Freezer – Don’t think that because fruits and veggies are frozen they aren’t good for you. They’re absolutely essential for the money saving mama. They’re usually flash frozen right after being picked so you know they haven’t been sitting around on the shelf for who knows how long. Of course, nothing beats the taste of a summer ripe peach or tomato, but when you’re in the dead of winter, grab a few frozen peaches and toss them into a green smoothie or get a quality jar of tomatoes and make a huge pot of spaghetti. To freshen up the pot, add in fresh herbs like parsley, basil, thyme or scallions and a hit of fresh lemon juice to give your dish a POP and bring back that fresh flavor.

13. Simplicity Is Key – Ever grab a delicious looking recipe and check out the ingredients, only to find that yum recipe requires 20 different ingredients? Some of which you’ve never heard? To me, that’s not fun. Of course, when you have extra time on the weekend, more laborious recipes can work. But they’re not making my weekdays any simpler. Can ya feel me? So, that’s why rockin mom’s kitchen is focusing on Real Foods using minimal ingredients that still rock the plate and focus on the simple! Be sure to sign up for our 10 Day Real Foods Challenge to show you how you can ROCK the kitchen with simple home cooked meals that are all with 6 ingredients or less. THE BEST PART? They’re whipped up in just one pan and we never use cream of crap soup or artificial seasoning packets. #realfoodrules

14. Buy In Bulk – Grabbing big packages of protein and household dry staples (oatmeal, beans, flour, almond meal, jarred/canned tomatoes) are almost always cheaper when you buy in bulk. You gotta have space for these though, so don’t go buying a huge thing of ground beef if you’re already packed to the rim in the freezer!

15. Get Social – Check out your favorite brands social media pages for deals. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are good places to start.

16. Get Yo Groupon – There are several websites that offer deep discounts on anything and everything you can think of. I’ve found cookbooks, memberships to CSA’s (see #23), and meal planning services. I like Groupon best as their return policy rocks. Check it out. You never know what you’ll find.

17. Don’t Toss The Scraps – Got leftover onions, herb stems, ends of carrots or celery, peels from potatoes, bones from roasts and bbq’s. Don’t toss them in the trash! Instead, pop them in a zip bag and keep in the freezer. Once it’s full, place in a big pot of water with a couple tablespoons apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper and simmer all day. You’ve got your own KILLER homemade stock that tastes way better and is more affordable than that store bought stuff. Then, to save even more money and keep from wasting, pour into silicone muffin tins and freeze. That way, you’ll always have perfectly portioned stock “pucks” to toss into soups, sauces, stews, and just about anything to take the flavor to the next level. 

18. Reduce Meat And Dairy – When you’re on a budget, organic meat and dairy is one of the most expensive things at the grocery store. Go to Whole Foods and check out their meat department. Some meat can be upwards of $15 per pound! What we like to do is eat a little meat and a LOT of veggies. Let veggies be on the main stage and the meat part of the side show.

19. Choose “Cheap” Cuts Of Meat – Tougher and fattier cuts of meat like beef chuck roast and pork shoulder or “butt” are perfect cuts of meat that don’t break the bank. Filet mignon or ribeye will definitely cause sticker shock when you hit the register. We like splurging on those for holidays or when we’re having special guests over – it’s maybe a few times of year.

20. Invest In A Slow Cooker – Tough cuts of meat and slow cookers are a match made in heaven. The low and slow temperature turns fatty and tough cuts of meat into delicious, melt in your mouth goodness that doesn’t break the bank. Plus, you can fill up the slow cooker with tons of veggies and beans to stretch that one piece of meat even more. Here’s the one I’ve been using for 5 years and it’s still going strong. If you love your slow cooker as much as I do, check out our Slow Cooker Movement. It’s got killer recipes, easy to use shopping lists and weekly meal plans to make life easy. YES!

21. Make Big Batches – If you’re making a meal, try cooking one big pot of soup, marinara, big chunk of meat or pot of beans. That way, the hard work is already done and you’ve got something to use up for leftovers. Portion and freeze for another time.

22. #rockinremixes RULE – Making big batches of protein, like big roasts, cooking lots of ground meat, baking an entire butternut squash or two, doesn’t require any extra work – just possibly a bigger pan. Then you can recycle the leftovers, turning them into all new meals later on in the week. Tossing ground meat onto a huge salad, placing leftover stew meat onto a zucchini and baking, using up leftover rice to make a quick stir fry or serving on top of over easy eggs are just a few ways to make #rockinremixes and a lot of these recipes can be made in under 5 minutes!

23. Shop A CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) – Farm Fresh to You and Local Harvest are great websites that help get local and organic produce, eggs, honey and sometimes meat direct from farmers to you. You get the savings by cutting out the middle man (ie, the stores).

24. Buy Meat Online And In Bulk – You’ve got to have enough freezer space and also be ready to fork over $100 or more in one shot, but the savings per pound are incredible. Check out American Farmers Network and see what specials they’ve got. This is a great one to go in halves with a friend or family member. See #3.

25. Do Your Research – Pay attention to who’s got what and at what price. My Costco is the cheapest for many of the items we buy, but some things they aren’t! It’s a great idea to shop around, if that’s an option. My personal shopping week looks like Costco for the majority of our stuff (pantry staples, dairy, produce and some snacks) then I’ll hit up Whole Foods or a Farmers Market another day for fresh herbs, meat and specialty items. Do what works for you, your schedule and what’s within reasonable reach.

26. Shop Store Brands – Store brands can sometimes be a great way to save money. These brands usually have the same high-quality ingredients as the more expensive brands.

27. Get To Know Your Farmers – I LOVE this one! We have formed a great relationship with my berry farmer as well as my organic veggie farmer. Arturo and Sherry appreciate my business, hook me up most of the time and also give me the best and freshest produce they’ve got. A smile and some loyalty can go a long way.

28. Read Labels And Get Smart – Skip the shiz you can’t pronounce — additives, colors, chemicals, artificial flavors, msg, bht, the list is endless. The things you should be buying are ingredients (not packages!) but try to stick to items that are as minimally processed as possible and have the least amount of ingredients. 

29. Stay Out Of The Drive-Thru – This seems super obvious but eating fast food seems cheap, but the food quality is garbage which means it’s super unhealthy and not doing great things to your body. The same thing goes with the pizza man, the takeout box and any other fast food you can think of. Stick to real homemade food and take your kitchen back.

30. Grow Your Own Food – Google square foot gardening or windowsill gardening. You can grow some killer food, no matter the size of your kitchen, backyard, rooftop, or wherever you live! Perfect ones for beginners are fresh herbs, lettuces, radishes, sprouts, etc. 

31. Plan, Plan, Plan – Spend some time on the weekend or on your day off to plan your week’s meals. My life has been dramatically changed by making an effort and taking some time to meal plan. With three boys constantly pulling at my legs, my life runs way smoother at dinnertime when I’ve done a little planning in advance. If you think about it for 30 minutes or so on one day, you’ll crush the constant dilemma of “What’s for dinner?” and be ahead of the game.

32. Think Ahead – Traveling or running errands around town can be the perfect excuse to “grab a quick bite” or make unhealthy food choices like eating at the airport or running through that drive-thru. Eat like a rockstar and instead, pack your own snack! Always have fresh fruits, veggies, nuts/seeds, (this is where prepping your fruits and veggies comes in by having them easily accessible at all times!), jerky, etc. on hand to keep you feeling good and out of the drive-thru. :)

33. BYOB – Save the earth and bring your own bottle. Pick up a reusable bottle. I like Kleen Kanteen or BkR brands and to fill up when you’re on the go. Sports drinks, bottled water, iced teas, iced coffees, sodas, etc. are all unnecessary costs. Save your money and make your own at home or bring a water bottle and fill up when you’re out. 

34. Skip The Convenience – Convenient, snack-size packs are the biggest waste of money on the planet – plus they absolutely ruin the environment. Think about all the plastic bags/containers that end up in the trash at each and every school around the country. Notice the field when you pick your kids up next time. It’s littered with plastic bottles, individual size cookies, pirate booty, and sandwich baggies. Ahh! Grab reusable velcro baggies and send them off to school sans the plastic. Check out these, these, and these

35. Pack Homemade Lunches – Save money, the planet and your kids health by packing their lunches (and your own)! Even if it’s leftovers from last night’s dinner, pack that with some fresh fruit, veggies and nuts and maybe a piece of chocolate, you’r kids will love it and you won’t have to waste money buying those lunch boxes from school or the store that are filled with crap ingredients. We use these :: PlanetBox and Smart Lunches.

36. MYOTO – Make your own take out. Save money and your health by making your own take out. Things like fried rice, noodles, and stir-frys whip up in no time flat and are way healthier than anything out there. When you cook at home, you control the quality of ingredients – fat, msg, chemicals, flavors, etc. 

37. MYOA – Make your own ANYTHING! Dressing, mayo, salads, ketchup, burgers, chips, pita, hummus, guacamole, dips, pastas…..the list is never-ending. Making your own food saves time, money and your health!

38. Towels To The Rescue – Keep paper or microfiber towels in your crisper drawer to absorb any excess moisture which makes produce spoil faster. And, keeping a dry towel inside the bags of fresh greens, herbs and berries will keep them longer. You can also store fresh herbs in a small glass jar filled with water to keep them fresh, too.

39. Invest In Mason Jars – I love mason jars for anything salads, smoothies, storing beans, oatmeal, nuts, seeds — basically, any and all things pantry and storage. Grab some lids and you’ll be a money saving rockstar! Here’s the ones I use :: Wide Mouth Mason Jars & Wide Mouth Lids

40. Don’t Forget, BYOB 2 – Bring your own bags. Again, save your money and the planet from plastic by bringing reusable bulk bin bags and grocery store bags with you when you’re out shopping.

41. Stop Making Excuses – This one hurts and I’m sure I’m going to get a lot of shiz for this, but someone’s gotta say it. Make the health of you and your family a PRIORITY! We all have choices. We can support the companies and farmers that are devoted to supplying us with the best possible organic food out there or we can choose what’s easy and convenient and what’s cheap and fast. I’m not saying that we can’t eat out or run through the drive-thru on occasion. Heck. I’m definitely on the easy and fast train sometimes. But, committing to our health needs to be made at home in the kitchen. It’s laying the foundation of a healthy and happy home. If we have a solid base at home, we can grab a drink with our friends at a happenin’ spot, or go to Taco Tuesday every so often. Home is the base of our health. At each and every single meal, down to every single bite of food, we can make a difference. The more people that choose health and buy organic food, we’re sending a message to crappy food companies that we care about what’s in our food for the sake of our health, the health of our families and the health of the planet. 

Got any tips on saving money on organic food? If so, POST them BELOW!

If you buy some of these recommended products, I’ll receive a small commission. Please know that I only recommend products I personally use and love. 

1 comment

Leave a Comment

©2014 Shauna Bryant | Rockin' Moms Kitchen All Rights Reserved
Design by Rachel Pesso and Development by Brandi Bernoskie
Photography by In Her Image