How to Save Money on Organic Products
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How to Save Money on Organic Products

Posted on Friday, March 25th, 2011 at 6:17 am
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This is a special guest post by Mary Ann Romans who writes the Frugal Living blog at Families.com. She has a lot of good advice about buying organic without busting the budget. Thanks Mary Ann!

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Let’s face it, even the people who practice extreme couponing have difficulty saving money when it comes to organic food. There are very few deals for organic products, and I have yet to see an actual coupon for fresh organic produce. It just isn’t out there. Do we have to choose between saving money or feeding our family healthy organic food? Not necessarily.

When we first decided to incorporate as much organic food into our diet as possible, we quickly learned how expensive it can get. Overnight our grocery bill doubled, and we knew we had to find another way. We didn’t want to sacrifice the benefits of organic food, but nor did we want to take out a second mortgage in order to pay for it.

Since those first days, we have learned a few things that allows us to continue to provide organic food to our family while saving money.

Know Where to Shop

Knowing where to shop can be the first and easiest step to saving money on organic food. Do price comparisons in your local store. Get a notebook or use the note app on your favorite smart phone to record prices of everything organic that you are interested in, from milk to oranges. You’ll soon learn the best places to find the items that you need.

This doesn’t shopping at multiple stores each week. Instead just alternate stores and stock up. You can purchase bananas and milk at one store one week and chicken and apples at the next.

Alternatively, join a local organic community supported agriculture or co-op farm. You’ll usually have to pay a fee up front that then entitles you to a share of everything that the farm produces. It averages $15-20 a week for plenty of organic produce, which is a real bargain.

Be Selective

Educate yourself to find out which products you need to have in an organic form and which products can be purchased conventionally. One resource that can help is the dirty dozen, a list of the 12 fruits and vegetables that contain the most pesticides. Concentrate on those and put the expensive organic toilet paper back on the shelf (unless that is really important to you).

The other side of being selective is to not be too picky. If you do happen to find a coupon or deal on a product that is not your usual organic brand of a product you want, be willing to give it a chance. You’ll save money and may find a new favorite brand to love.

Save Elsewhere Else

One way to afford organic products is to do some of that extreme couponing in other areas. If you can get your regular grocery bill down on those non important areas using coupons and sales, you’ll have extra money in your budget for the organic products that you want.

For example, I don’t have a problem buying conventional toothpaste or laundry detergent. With coupons, sales and rebates, you can often get these items for free or almost free. Target recently issued a coupon that combined with a sale made a pair of jeans free. Take that $40 you might normally have spent on those jeans and use it to fund your organic eggs and yogurt.

Buy Online

While your grocery store may not give you a discount on most of the organic food that it sells, you can save money on organic products when shopping online. Take a look at both specialty shops and more general stores. You can save in one of two ways when shopping at Internet stores.

The first way to save is to buy your organic products in bulk to save. Even a store such as Amazon offers deals on bulk organic food.

The second way to save is to use coupon codes. These codes can save you anywhere from 10-70 percent and will often get you free products as well. This is especially true when it comes to organic health and beauty products.

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.