Spending less money is an important component of feeding your family organically while sticking to a budget. But you also have to make shopping easy for yourself and get the most out of the food you buy (or grow). Here are a few ways to stretch your organic dollar at the grocery store, at the farmers market, and at home.
At the Grocery Store
- Eat foods when they are in season. Although the grocery store offers a variety of produce from around the world, incorporating seasonal produce into your meals is the most sustainable and affordable option. For instance, cantaloupe and watermelon are dirt cheap in the summer and always on sale, but in the winter you pay more than double. Find out what fruits and veggies are in season by visiting This Food Thing.
- Know the cost of foods in the organic frozen foods section, and wait for a good sale.
- Select organic vegetables that are on sale, and build your meal around your purchase.
- Buy whole when possible. You can buy a whole watermelon that will yield several containers of cut fruit for the same price as just one container of pre-cut melon.
At the Farmers Market
- Scope out the farmers market calendar, and select the most convenient option for your schedule. Choosing a day and time that works for you makes you more likely to go.
- Always know the price points in the grocery store first.
- Be flexible in purchasing rare seasonal veggies vs. common mainstream items that are probably much cheaper if purchased at the store.
- Pay with cash, and buy in bulk (especially with seasonal items).
- Go toward closing time for some of the best deals.
- Grow your own produce if you have room in your yard or on your balcony.
- Use it, don’t lose it. The biggest waste of money is wasting food, and organic produce tends to go bad much more quickly than non-organic produce. Don’t throw it away before you have to! Is your organic fruit about to go bad? Cut and freeze for later use in smoothies or desserts. Veggies starting to go bad? Simply steam, puree, and freeze for future use. Or freeze fresh veggies immediately and save for future cooking use.
For more tips on feeding your family organically, check out How to Buy Organic Without Breaking the Bank.
Melanie is an honest-to-goodness California mommy. Residing in Malibu, she is ever-conscious of maintaining a healthy lifestyle for herself and her family.