How to Buy Organic Foods on a Budget

Buying organic foods may protect you from harmful pesticides, but are they worth their price?

The answer is yes. Grocery shopping on a budget is a bit trickier when you're looking for healthy, organic options, but it is still a viable option. Learn what organic foods are and how to save money when shopping for them in our guide to buying organic on a budget.

What are organic foods?

Organic foods in the United States feature a USDA organic seal, which indicates that the food was grown, harvested and processed according to the national standards. Certified organic foods contain fewer man-made pesticides, hormones and antibiotics than non-organic foods. Some studies have also found that organic produce is more nutritious.

Organic foods do often cost more than other options, but it is possible to spend money on organic foods without breaking the bank.

How to Save Money on Organic Foods

Kelly Hancock, author of Saving Savvy: Smart and Easy Ways to Cut Your Spending in Half, and Raise Your Standard of Living ... and Giving! says, "Organic eating is becoming less of a trend and more of a lifestyle. As a money-saving expert, I'm often asked if it's possible to save money while pursuing a healthier, organic menu. My answer to that is a resounding 'Yes.' You can save money and even use coupons when shopping for organic options. Admittedly, saving is a bit trickier when choosing natural foods, but it is still doable."

Hancock advises avoiding pre-packaged foods and cooking from scratch, saying "I think that we shy away from cooking from scratch because we think it is going to take longer than it actually does. I love to cook, but I really love the savings I get when I make my own healthier alternatives to the convenient, pre-packaged foods that are readily available."

She also advocates growing your own garden, if you can, as a great alternative to paying for pricey organic food. "If the concept of planting a full garden is daunting or expensive, try this neat little trick to get you motivated: If you don't use the white ends of your green onions, plant just that part in dirt or a glass of water. The green ends will re-grow — fast! In my experience, it has been at least an inch a day! I always have them on hand, and at $1 a bunch, I'm also saving money. No green thumb required."

You can also save money while buying organic foods when you follow these tips:

  1. Check organic food brands' websites for coupons and special promotions.

  2. Plan out your meals for the week according to which organic foods are on sale.

  3. Buy frozen foods. Organic frozen produce at the store is often cheaper than organic fresh produce.

  4. Buy in bulk. Take advantage of sales and try freezing foods for later use.

  5. Make choices about what you need and don't need to buy organic.

Ready to get started? Learn which produce you really should be buying organicin the slideshow above.

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