While eating organic food is safer environmentally and health-wise, this choice might not be the most beneficial for your budget. Intuitively, organic groceries should cost less as their production doesn’t involve any expenses related to the chemicals, pesticides and antibiotics. However, the exemption of harsh chemicals, synthetic pest control practices and growth promoting compounds from the food production doesn’t really reduce the net cost of organic food. Therefore, people who want to eat organic need to prepare themselves to additional expenses and learn saving techniques.
The increased labor expenses, the lower harvest that takes longer to grow, the doubled costs of providing better living conditions to the cattle and livestock, certification requirements, lower supply of organic food compared to the market’s demand and a number of other factors make organic food from 20% to 100% more expensive. Not everyone willing to eat healthier and cleaner, as well as be more environmentally cautious in his food choices may afford eating organic.
However, there’re a few tricks and hacks you may put up your sleeve to eat organic on a budget. Let’s get to them right away.
Hacks for eating organic on a budget
1. Buy unprocessed
Processed organic foods are widely present on the grocery stores’ shelves, but they aren’t the most budget-friendly. Raw, unprocessed products are the least expensive organic options, and, luckily, they’re also the most beneficial for your body.
2. Plan your grocery shop trips
If you want to eat organic on a budget, you’ll quickly learn to plan your trips to the grocery stores wisely and buy only those ingredients you need to cook dishes on your weekly meal prep menu, fresh fruit and snack options. Wasting organic food is the luxury you can’t afford.
3. Organic coupons do exist
Coupons for organic foods are a bit harder to find, but there’re numerous apps you may use to collect them and use during the next grocery shopping trip.
4. Cook from scratch
It’s not only budget-friendly, but also a lot healthier for you. Cooking from scratch might sound quite complicated, but if you find quick and easy to make recipes and get the meal prepping part down, you’ll save a lot of money on buying organic processed foods and avoid consuming unwanted additives.
5. Grow your own food to eat organic
A lot of people who eat organic often fall into an idea of gardening. They start growing their own herbs and pot vegetables (like tomatoes) and transition to growing more supply for their families. If you want to get into gardening as well, but haven’t organized your growing space yet, make sure to leave a request to build vegetable beds for carpenters on HireRush.com and start your own organic garden this season.
6. Choose seasonal foods
Seasonal fruits and vegetables ultimately cost less, so the best time for buying organic produce in big batches and storing it for later if possible is the growing season. The prices are lower to begin with, and buying in bulk may save you even more.
7. Stock the freezer
If you decide to eat organic on a budget, you should probably go for a bigger freezer as well. Then, you’ll be able to buy less expensive organic berries, fruits, peas, and other foods while they’re in season and freeze those for winter. You’ll get to enjoy natural meals without spending extra money on groceries when the prices go up.
8. Eat more plant-based food
Meat is probably the most expensive thing to buy organic. As conventional meat is stuffed with growth hormones and chemicals that keep them in a marketable condition for a long time, you should not buy it if you choose to eat organic. Your only option is to consume less meat, eat more chicken and plant-based food.
9. Eat organic and local
Local organic food costs less than transported alternatives due to the obvious reasons (transportation expenses, which include preserving food in presentable condition during the travel time). To eat organic on a budget and support local businesses, shop for locally grown organic produce.
10. Buy in bulk
Buying in bulk is one of the proven ways to save on groceries, even if you eat organic. Online grocery shopping and delivery services are great for that matter, especially if you don’t own a vehicle or don’t have a farmers market in your local area. But, even conventional supermarkets like Costco sell organic foods in bulk. Thus, buying ingredients you use on a regular basis and in large quantities in bulk will save you a lot of cash.
11. Buy at farmers markets
Unfortunately, not every town has its own farmers market. But if you’re a lucky one, do make the full use of less expensive, fresh and organic produce sold there. One of the useful habits for farmers market shopping is buying a lot of root vegetables and storing them for winter. Beware that not every farmer that grows food organically places a sign that says so, therefore, don’t forget to ask.
12. You don’t have to eat exclusively organic if you don’t want to
Some foods are proven to be less likely grown with the use of chemicals or pesticides. Those are sweet corn, avocados, pineapples, cabbage, onions, sweet peas, asparagus, mangoes, eggplants, kiwis, cauliflowers, etc. You may buy these not organic and save some money without worrying about the extra consumption of harmful substances.
But if you do decide to eat organic, avoid purchasing conventional foods that belong to the dirty dozen list. Unfortunately, a lot of staple fruits and vegetables we like and use on a daily basis (like apples, grapes, peaches, tomatoes, bell peppers, potatoes) belong to that list.