Reader Question: How Do You Afford Organic Food?

How do you afford organic food? This is a tough reader questions, that I hope to answer for you.

Lisa emailed me the following question:

I am changing from crap food to organic and natural after discovering the toxins and other things in my body.
I need help in finding savings on my food bill so that we can afford this. Can you please help me with this?
Also best places to shop for these type of foods as I believe you shop organic as well.

That’s such a great question Lisa, and I think that many many of my readers feel the same way that you do. This is one of the harder questions to answer, because so much of saving on organic can vary by location.

First thing you gotta do if you want to save money on organic foods, is put your sleuthing cap on.

1. Put out a question to your local friends on how they save locally. You can do this through Facebook, Twitter, Email or a Meetup Group. If you have a local forum for your neck of the woods, that would be a great place to start a discussion.

2. Start searching for ways to save on organic fods everywhere you go; whether it’s through a farmer’s market, a local outlet or markdowns at the grocery store. This means going into a store you might not normally visit, and checking out what they have to offer. If you normally avoid that Big Lots down the street, it’s time to check it out. You’d be surprised how much organic food they carry.

3. Check Local Harvest to find farmers and local resources you may not have known about.

4. Use places like Amazon or Abe’s Market to save on groceries you can’t find a deal elsewhere on.

5. Check out the Natural and Organic Grocery Stores page on my site, to see a list of stores and coupon matches for organic groceries.

6. Always check the Coupon Database, to find coupons for organics. And you can also check my Organic Coupon resources page to find a list of ways to get organic coupons.

Still not helping? Let’s pose this question to my readers. How do you save money on your organic foods? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

27 Comments:
    • Great tip, Merissa! This is exactly what I have been thinking too, so I’ve been making a list of recipes that are basic and easy. We plan on making our breads and etc., which will require more time in the kitchen, but less money out of our pockets!

  1. IMHO, the opposite of the SAD isn’t a 100% organic one. I buy as much as I can but when it comes down to it, I understand that my money only goes so far and I think eating any produce is better than none.

    That being said, vitacost.com is a great place to stock up on goodies!

    Good luck in your quest.

  2. We are making this same exact change right now! And Crystal, everything you suggested above is exactly what I have been doing! You definitely have to shop all over. I made a price book for all organic items I am interested in buying and started looking all over. Costco, Amazon, co-ops, local farmers, etc. We live in the Tampa Bay area in Florida which is a very busy city, so I thought it would impossible to find good prices on organic. But it’s so not true! I may have to drive a bit farther to buy grass-fed beef and organic produce but it’s so going to be worth it!

    • I’ve stopped in a few times and have found organic canned tomatoes, pastas, horizons individual chocolate milks, teas, etc. It is a pretty random selection and what you see may not be there next time!

      • Thanks, my Big Lots is pretty small, but I’ll keep my eye more open in the food section next time.

  3. I buy my organic bulk foods from azure standard. I grow as much of my own veggies that I can. We also keep a flock of chickens that eat 100% organic diet, plus they get to live the life they are suppose to, out side running around in the sun and not in a cage.

  4. When we first started changing our diet, we would change 1 thing at a time so it wasn’t such a major financial draw and too overwhelming. We don’t do all organic. Many veggies such as broccoli & onions are safe grown conventionally.
    We also found a local butcher who sells locally grown all natural beef, guaranteed to be antibiotic free. This is what we can afford & is better than any factory meat sold at the local grocery stores.
    We also buy many items from a local buying club. Ours orders from UNFI & Frontier, getting near wholesale prices. There are other buying clubs through Azure standard and maybe others I’m not aware of.
    I almost always cook from scratch. Convenience foods are a huge waste of money and even organic packaged foods have additives like MSG.
    Invest in a slow cooker & use it often.
    Get to know all the farmers at the local farmers market & only use those you can trust. I’ve found some will buy produce off a truck & sell it as their own, claiming it’s organic. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s your health at stake.

    • Very wise advice, Shelly! I am soaking it all in, since we can’t afford to make the switch all at once. Definitely taking notes! :)

    • Ditto! I was going to say the exact same thing! While I don’t buy all things organic I do try. We live right down the street from Trader Joes and they have great prices, especially fruit. 3/lb bag of Organic Apples for $2.99! Plus they are the small ones which works well for the kids and not wasting it. I also think meal planning (or maybe just planning) play a big roll. You can eat Broccoli 4 times a night…just cook it different ways :)

  5. i don’t buy the processed stuff! just stick to produce, meats and dairy, you will be surprised at how much better you feel and how much less you will be spending! also, i shop at sunflower market… they have awesome prices on organic food, almost the same as non organic food at regular markets!

  6. I hear the arguement “I cant buy organic its too expensive” ALL the time…….stop buying prepackaged everything and start making things more from scratch (IF that is your situation that you have the time, some families I know its truly a stress saver just to buy prepackeged things ) but hey im not judging I have capri sun and oreos in my house right now……lol….hey I am trying ;)

  7. Oh and truth be told sometimes I do not get organic *ssshhhh* lol but usually do. I think its also something that if you REALLY want to replace somethings in your house with organic, make it a priority :) but start small, you dont have to run out and replace EVERYTHING all at once!! Ease it into your budget. Sometimes I find myself eating less because I know I cant buy the same said organic whatever until next shopping trip LOL gotta make it last!

  8. Earth Fare has been really good about giving things away FREE just for purchasing $5-$10 when you sign up for their newsletters and text messages. Also have FREE kids night on Thursday when the purchase of a adult meal.

  9. GOOD QUESTION!!!!!!! It’s SO dang pricey…nearly 1/2 grocery budget…which has now doubled.

  10. I only buy organic if it’s cheaper or the same price as what I would normally buy, but I make a lot of things from scratch because I can’t have all the sodium from pre packaged foods. That’s how I save money and still eat well. Plus I have 2 babies and I work 40 hrs a weeks on night shift while my husband works opposite shift on days. So those of you who ” don’t have time to cook from scratch” you do! You just have to find it. Meal plan and make as much as you can on your day off and freeze it!

  11. I only buy organic. I usually shop at Trader Joes and Whole Foods and our local farmers market. At the farmers market we get most of our produce and fresh bread and usually I’ll buy something there even if it’s not organic, BUT I make sure to ask if it’s pesticide free.
    When I shop at whole foods I normally use their store coupon stacked with a manufacturer coupon and I like to take advantage of their case discount which is 20% at my whole foods. I also buy beans, rice, and lentils from the bulk bins since its cheaper than the packaged ones.

  12. Buying organic is more expensive. There’s no question about it. We afford it by sacrificing in other areas in our budget (we don’t eat out much, we buy used toys and clothes, we opt for free or cheap entertainment options, etc.). We also prioritize what we buy organic. While we like to buy organic deodorant, toothpaste, etc. for ourselves, if we don’t have room in the budget, we’ll sacrifice and buy toxic items for ourselves. I also buy organic meats and produce that is on the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list (http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary/). And I try to stock up on items like toothbrushes, floss, etc. when they’re cheap at Walgreens, Walmart, etc.

    I think a lot of people would be shocked by the amount we spend on food, particularly since we live in a high-cost-of-living area, but to us it’s worth it.

  13. Making changes as you can is so important, but to address the making of things from scratch, particularly bread– I was fortunate enough several years ago to save up enough money, combined with my parents spoiling me on my birthday, that I purchased a Bosch mixer. It is AWESOME! I can mix up/knead 6 loaves of whole wheat breat at a time, it’s so powerful and it’s great for all kinds of breads, cakes, cookies, etc., etc. It saves a lot of time and makes it much easier to do everything I want to do. Although it’s a large investment to begin with, I know I’ve probably already paid for it in savings, not to mention that everything I make is healthier than store bought, of course. I always buy Bob’s Red Mill flour, which you can order online (bobsredmill.com I think) if there isn’t anyplace that sells it near you. I have gone to organic, but with them, even their non-organic is better than most other brands because of the way they grow it.

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