Money Saving Tips for Stocking an Organic Kitchen
Organic food is an important cornerstone to any whole food diet and environmentally-conscious lifestyle. By definition, organic fruits and veggies are plants grown without chemicals and harmful additives like GMOs. Also, organic animal products are meat and dairy that is free from hormones, antibiotics, and is sustainably and humanely raised.
All of these things sound pretty great and tend to be really important to people trying to live an eco-friendly life. But, organic produce and animal products can be almost double the price of their chemical-laden counterparts. If you’re on a budget, eating organic can be really tricky. Don’t lose hope though; you can eat sustainably without breaking the bank. Let’s see how:
1. Use your Resources
To save big bucks, avoid trendy farmer’s markets that make a racket off of the “everything organic” fad. Instead, explore your town’s best kept secrets – farm stands and flea markets. In the growing seasons, farmers often set up stands at these local attractions to sell the surpluses of their harvest. You can get an entire week’s worth of organic, homegrown fruits and veggies for under $20. Just bring your own bags, be prepared to bargain, and watch the savings pour in!
2. Choose your Battles
When you’re on a strict budget, you probably won’t be able to buy everything organic – and that’s ok. Instead of breaking the bank just for the sake of the organic label, know what you don’t really need to buy organic. You’ve probably heard of the “dirty dozen” – produce like apples, strawberries, peaches, spinach, peppers, tomatoes, etc. that usually have really high amounts of added chemicals and pesticides. Their thin skin, and the fact that you consume the skin, makes them important to buy organic.
In contrast, things like mangoes, kiwis, eggplants, cauliflower, and sweet potatoes are not as important to buy organic. They’re not usually treated with those heavy pesticides, making them safe for consumption. The conventional versions of these fruits and veggies can be half the price of their organic counterparts in some cases. You really can save a lot by skipping that organic cauliflower!
3. Look for Generic
As more people join the organic food movement, brands catch on too. You’d be hard-pressed to find a major grocery chain that does not have an organic label of their own. These stores want to appeal to the masses – since the masses are starting to consider organic products to be healthier, the stores want to capitalize on this. Store brand organic foods, especially packaged goods like granola or snacks, tend to be in-line with conventional brands in terms of price.
4. Watch Where you Shop
Half the battle of buying reasonably priced organic products is choosing the right stores to shop at. Whole Foods Markets are wonderful places and one of the very best resources for creating a totally organic lifestyle. But, Whole Foods is not cheap. Even it’s “cheaper” counterpart Wegmans can still be expensive.
Instead, opt for bargain markets. You can find plenty of packaged organic goods in places like Aldi. An even thriftier solution is to shop in bulk at big box stores like BJ’s. This bulk retailer is known for their commitment to providing organic options in meats, veggies, and even packaged goods. You’ll save more by stocking up for later.
5. Buy Local
One of the best things you can do in an effort to live a more sustainable life is to shop local. We already mentioned using farm stands and flea markets to your advantage. But, building relationship with small shops can help you save bucks. You can find high-quality, organic gourmet spices at local home goods stores. These won’t be as expensive as big brands at the grocery store. Your organic meals can have a sophisticated touch on a budget!