A Money-Saving Journey: Saving on Natural and Organic Food (Part 7)

This content uses referral links. Read our disclosure policy for more info.

Every journey looks different. However, there is a general trend in many couponers’ adventures. Come along as we take a closer look at Angie Erickson’s story.

As I shared last week, sometimes large expenses arise and you have to figure out how to deal with them. After much advice and pondering, I realized that I needed to allow myself to use some of our savings to enjoy my sister’s wedding and our Canadian adventure. Now that I’m home from that adventure, I realize it was just what our family needed. I’m glad I allowed myself to enjoy our journey!  This week, I am going to share how I save on natural and organic food.

Last week, Carrie gave some great tips on how to save on natural and organic food by using Amazon. Here are some additional tips I’ve discovered along my money-saving journey.

Many tell me they don’t use coupons because the items they buy never have coupons available. Maybe you have felt this way at one time, too. I am not going to lie; natural and organic food is expensive. At first, I did not think those products could fit into our budget. However, I am a determined person!

My approach was to not forget coupons altogether just because I couldn’t find coupons for everything I buy. I decided that if I wanted to buy organic produce (something that we decided we wanted to try to purchase organic), I would find the store with the lowest shelf price and then focus on saving on other things like batteries, toothbrushes, etc. that we were not particular about.

Follow these tips to whittle down your spending while still purchasing natural and organic items:

1. Draft a list.
Sit down with anyone making food decisions in your home. Draft a list of foods you would like to purchase natural or organic, starting with the most important for your family. Agree that you will do your best to get as far as you can down that list while still staying within your budget (that’s the key). You may not be able to purchase everything natural or organic that you desire at first, but set some goals and gradually work your way further down the list.

2. Compare prices.
Pick a few stores you think may have the lowest prices on the food you are looking for and take note of their shelf prices. Costco has good prices on some organic items (organic ground beef, frozen vegetables, fruit snacks). Trader Joe’s prices seem to be very competitive overall (not all things are organic so watch carefully while shopping).

3. Watch for sale cycles on the items you buy.
As I discussed earlier in this series, most products will go on sale at least once in a six-week period of time. I’ll be sharing more about sale cycles next week.

4. Utilize coupons that are available.
– Browse Pocket Your Dollars’ extensive list of sources of Printable Organic Coupons.
– Check the Mambo Sprouts website regularly.
– Use the Pocket Your Dollars’ Coupon Database when searching for a specific item.
– Utilize the Co+op Deals bi-weekly shopping list.
– Buy a Chinook Book from a natural food store (new book are coming out on November 1).
– Go to the Whole Foods website (you can print their store coupons from the website and some allow you to stack their coupons with manufacturer coupons).
– Check manufacturer’s websites for coupons.

5. Buy in bulk.
Instead of buying prepackaged items, try utilizing bulk bins. If you’re eating a more natural and organic food diet, you’re probably cooking more from scratch, anyway.

6. Check out farmer’s markets.
Buying directly from farmers can eliminate some of the middle-man costs and help you get local, freshly-grown items (be sure to inquire about what they use when they grow their food). For meat, check into purchasing larger quantities directly from farmers.

Remember, each one of us has different dynamics in our own household which we must navigate through to be successful on our own money-saving journey. Utilize the tips that apply to your family from above and also share what works for your family! People in this community are so creative when it comes to saving money on groceries – I can’t wait to hear your ideas!

Join A Money Saving Journey next time as Angie shares what she has learned about Sale Cycles!

Angie is a Pocket Your Dollars team member who teaches Pocket Your Dollars grocery-saving classes to mom’s groups, Community Ed programs and other civic organizations in Carrie’s stead. Angie also compiles the bi-weekly Co+Op Deals shopping lists. When she’s not doing those things, she is a stay-at-home mom to two little ones. If you are interested in having Carrie or Angie speak to your group, please contact us.

Your turn: How do you save on natural and organic items?

About Carrie Rocha

I am passionate about helping people live within their means so they can get out and stay out of debt. I live in Minneapolis, MN with my husband and two little girls.

Comments

  1. The Wedge Co-op has coupons at their customer service counter, so also check there while you visit. The coupons are usually good for any other store, unless they're Co-op Advantage ones which are good at any other co-op as well. Be a good sport and bring the extra coupons you don't need there to trade, too!

  2. I used to go Valley Natural Foods a lot for my daughter's gluten-free products, but I have found that Amazon has a much better price for her pretzels. I save my Swagbucks up for them so that it helps with the cost. Since it is not really near my house, though, I have found that the selections at the grocery stores have gotten better over the years. I am buying her pasta and crackers when they are on sale there.

    I have really been on a quest over the last year to make more food from scratch and to use to buy better meats, veggies, and fruit for the family. I am a member at Sam's Club, so I buy grass-fed meat there. I would love to buy from a farmer at some point. If you watch the sales at Cub, they often have bagged organic fruit for just a little bit more than the regular prices. I haven't found that to be true at Rainbow. It is definitely less than at VNF. I have bought apples, pears, oranges recently.

  3. Thanks for this post! I'm definitely trying to eat more whole foods and am starting to incorporate more organics, but since it's sporadic (depends on the week and budget), I'm having a hard time finding what the "rock bottom" prices are for things. Since groceries are rising, it feels like I'm trying to hit a moving target. I know I'll get there, but it would be helpful to have a starting point.

  4. Thank you for this article, Angie, and the great tips. I feel blessed to live in the city and have a Trader Joes and Costco nearby. Their organic prices are so good. It must be so much harder for people without much competition and stores like these nearby. I love your tip about not giving up couponing but focusing on things I buy that do have coupons like the toothpaste & razors you mention. But for now, I do a lot of food couponing as well since our teenage son and his friends want nothing to do with our healthier eating habits!

  5. Theresa K. says:

    I agree that Amazon is a key online source for lower-priced natural, organic and allergy-related foods (if you utitlize one of the ways to get your shipping free).

    Another great blog for specifically organic online deals is http://www.organicdeals.com.

    Also, I think the best way to save money on any front is to cut out buying processed foods and make them yourselves. Even organic processed foods are not a good buy compared to homemade. A lot of people (including me!) don't like to hear it, but it's true. And yes, I still buy some processed foods, but I recognize them as treats/timesavers that would need to be cut out when the budget gets tight. For example, I know I could make my own yogurt for far less than I spend each week. I used to do it and I just haven't gotten back into the groove. Bread is another example – I hate the smell of burned corn meal on the bottom of my oven in my small house.

  6. Sarah,

    I totally understand the "trying to hit a moving target" feeling! For example, I usually buy the organic romaine lettuce (3 hearts) at Super Target. The price has been $2.99 for quite a long time. Then when I went in a few weeks ago it was $3.29. Now it is $3.59! It's not just Target this is happening at. Food prices are on the rise across the whole grocery store. My brother works with natural and organic farmers and he's warned me about this rise as well. Bummer! Are there certain foods you are looking for a starting point for that I could help you with?

  7. Rmdr,

    Are those the Mambo Sprouts booklets? I LOVE those! If it is that booklet, yes I've used them at a variety of stores. Thanks for the reminder about checking for coupons at your local co-op's service counter! :)

  8. Cheri A,

    I agree about buying produce at Cub. The sale prices are reasonable and it tastes good. I usually go there or Trader Joe's now for produce. I also agree about Rainbow. Sometimes I find produce at Whole Foods on sale for a great price, but generally most of the organic produce at natural food stores is more expensive.

    Thanks for chiming in and sharing your journey with us! :)

  9. Shelly,

    You're welcome! I agree with you about how we have an advantage living in the cities. Competition is helpful for us as we try to fit organic food into our budgets. I feel for people that don't have that competition happening in their areas.

    Thanks for sharing with us! :)

  10. Theresa K.,

    Thank you for sharing the link with us as well as your journey! I agree that homemade is cheaper and much better for you as well! A good reminder!

    How do you make your own yogurt?

  11. Another great option friends of mine use (I don't think it works for my specific family) is http://www.azurestandard.com They specialize in natural/organic foods. They are delivered by a semi-truck at a monthly drop-point. My friends have found amazing prices for organic produce as well as other items – far lower than I can find in the stores. However, these items are often sold in larger quantities. Splitting amongst friends works well. This can be a great option, depending on your family size and how you cook.

Speak Your Mind

*