Buying organic is important. It’s healthier and supports small farmers. But let’s face it, buying organic can get pricey. I’ve learned a few tricks recently, which are allowing us to shave a bit off our grocery bill.
When it comes to organic dairy, make friends at the supermarket. A short conversation will leave you in the know regarding markdowns. I learned that our market slashes prices when dairy is five days prior to its sell by date. I also learned that these markdowns occur around 2pm daily. Now I hit the store in the late afternoon and check for future dates while I’m there so I know in advance when the new markdowns will arrive. Also, watch in store nutrition magazines and circular for coupons. I just found a $2.00 off 2 organic dairy items, when combined with our store markdowns, I can get two gallons of milk for $1.79 each!
(Image from Angela Vetu at Dreamstime under RF-LL)
For produce, its best to grow your own (preserve what you can for the cold months). Apples and pears will survive a long time in a cool, dry, dark place. We freeze berries (the faster your food goes from plant to frozen is best, allowing the highest level of nutrients to be locked in). Drying foods is another great way to carry them through the cold months. The kids love our summer berry picking outings followed by jam making, freezing and lots of berry eating!
What you can’t grow, purchase local. This allows you to build a relationship with the farmer and to get the best possible prices. Many local farms are spray free/chemical free but do not have the organic certification due to cost. The certified organic label isn’t a requirement when you know the farm and practices! It amazes me what a little networking can do.
We’ve managed to find free (or $1.00 a dozen) eggs. We also get to pick apples, pears and berries galore from other friends (and have tons of wild blackberries around our property). A grandma supplies us with herbs and garlic. Do a little research and see if there is a food co-op in your community. If so, join it!
Watch company websites for discounts, sign up for email lists. Coupons are very handy when you are purchasing foods that cost a bit more. Also, check your warehouse stores for bulk organic items. Be sure to compare prices before jumping in and of course, never buy a larger quantity than your family can consume.
So, to recap…
- Watch markdowns. Learn when markdowns happen.
- Grow your own produce
- Buy from local, chemical free farms
- Join a co-op
- Preserve during growing months (freeze, can, dry)
- Watch for coupons (online and in store)
Eat well. Be well.
Annie @ PhD in Parenting says
Those are great tips, especially with regards to finding out when things get marked down.
I wrote up my 10 tips for going “organic on the cheap” on my blog: http://www.phdinparenting.com/2008/07/24/organic-on-the-cheap/