By Valerie Deneen
Making the switch to organic foods can be more expensive, but with a little planning it can be done without breaking the bank. Here are a few tips to help get you started:
- Prioritize your organics. Become familiar with this year's Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists. These are updated every year to list the top 12 fruits and vegetables that contain the most pesticides (after being power-washed), and the top 15 that contain the least amount of pesticides. If your family eats lots of apples, for instance, you may want to consider switching to organic apples, since apples are one of the Dirty Dozen. Switching to organic for just one of the fruits or vegetables listed in the Dirty Dozen helps to support organic farming!
- Volunteer at a co-op or farmers' market. This is one way to save on organics that is frequently overlooked, but not only is volunteering at a local co-op or farmers' market a great way to support your local farmers, it could also score you discounted organic food. Added bonus -- it's a great way to become more knowledgeable about where your food is coming from.
- Grow your own. This is definitely cheaper than buying organic vegetables at the grocery store, although it is more work. Starting your own organic vegetable garden is a great project the whole family can enjoy. Even a small container garden can provide lots of tasty and fresh organic veggies!
- Buy in bulk. Avoid pre-packaged convenience foods, and try buying in bulk instead. Buying in bulk may not always be the best deal, so be sure to compare unit prices.
- Try one meatless dinner each week. One meatless dinner each week can help lower your grocery bill, and it's a great excuse to try some healthy vegetarian recipes instead. For some recipe ideas, check out Meatless Monday.
- Shop with a list. By shopping with a list, you can avoid spending money on impulse purchases. If you do pick up items that are not on the list, place them in the front section of your shopping cart. Before going to the checkout, choose one item from the front section to keep and place the others back on the shelf. Writing out a list also lends itself to proper meal planning, which can save you the expense of eating out. Save eating out at restaurants for special occasions instead.
- Match coupons to sale ads. This can be a very effective way to save money on organics at the grocery store. For printable coupons, check manufacturer web sites or visit www.OrganicDeals.com for ways to match coupons to sale ads.
Valerie Deneen is the author of Frugal Family Fun Blog, where she blogs daily about her obsessions with inexpensive craft and activity ideas, money-saving tips, and all around good times on a budget. She loves sewing, digital photography, organic tea, dark chocolate, gardening, clipping coupons, bourbon, knitting, graphic design, and cooking. She is a graduate of Bucknell University, a former senior software engineer, and now a stay-at-home mom.