1. Compare organics' prices at your local stores: Check out the store brands in the organic department and compare prices between stores to find the best deals. Most supermarkets have store brand organic items, Whole Foods has an extensive line of store brand items, and even wholesale clubs have organic produce and grocery items. Store brand organic items' prices may be no more expensive than name brand conventional items.
2. Learn the “Clean 15” and the “Dirty Dozen.” The Environmental Working Group, a non-profit public health advocacy group, provides a free Pesticides in Produce Shopping Guide (ewg.org). Download the list or the app to see which items contain the least and the most pesticide residue. I stretch my dollar by selectively purchasing organic versions of the “Clean 15” such as onions, avocados, sweet corn, asparagus, cabbage, broccoli, watermelon and purchase conventional versions of the “Dirty Dozen.”
3. Shop the bulk Department. Stores provide containers and let you scoop out the perfect amount of an item that you desire to purchase. Look for organic beans, teas, grains, flour, oatmeal, or spices to buy this way and you are less likely to waste food. Don’t assume every item in bulk is cheaper, bring your calculator and compare prices by the ounce or pound to pre-packed items.
4. Use Coupons. Start with the “Grocery Coupon Database” at CouponMom.com as a guide by searching for the term “organic.” Pick up in-store coupon booklets, such as Whole Foods' booklet or print the coupons from the Whole Foods website. Check out manufacturers websites. We found printable coupons at more than 50 organic online sites. Earth Day is soon, so be on the lookout for “Go Organic for Earth Day” coupon booklets in stores.
5. Grow your own savings. Nothing beats the price – and the taste- of a tomato you harvest from your own backyard or even your deck. Short on space? Purchase cheap plant containers at garage sales or flea markets. You can also make your own container out of old buckets, jars, plastic trash containers, ceramic pots, or other cleaned containers you have around the home. Growing staples like lettuce, tomatoes, peppers and herbs can provide the most bang for your buck.
Stephanie Nelson is the Coupon Mom. Her web site, www.CouponMom.com, has 6 million members, and she is established as the nation’s top expert in couponing across the country. She has been called ‘”the rock star of the recession” by the Washington Post and her book, The Coupon Mom’s Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bills in Half, is a New York Times best seller.