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We are always told that organic food is good for us. Unfortunately, it can be expensive. If you want to save money on organic food and enjoy delicious dishes without pesticides, then here are a few top tips:
Save Money on Organic in the Supermarket
Your local supermarket could be the perfect place to start.
You don’t need to completely change your shopping habits to find cheaper organic food.
In Tesco, as of September 2016, a pack of 4 organic pears costs £1.90.
A pack of 5 pears without organic certification will set you back just £1.29.
You will pay 61p more for your organic produce in this case, and receive fewer pears for your pounds.
When you do your grocery shopping online, you can compare the price of organic foods against their standard counterparts. This is handy, but visiting in person brings extra benefits.
Stores will reduce organic food as it reaches its use by date. You will only see these reduced items if you do your shopping in person. Daily reductions will never feature on a supermarket’s website.
You might find that organic foods are on sale at significantly lower prices as they reach their ‘sell by’ date.
Visit your local store at various times, ideally in the evening, and you can learn when staff is most likely to be adding discount stickers.
If you can time your shopping trips right, you will have the chance to buy just after the prices get reduced.
Save Money on Organic by Shopping Local
Supermarket prices are usually going to be higher than those from a local supplier.
Whenever possible, visit local farm shops for fresh foods at lower prices. Many farms will have organic produce at prices that supermarkets cannot compete with. Often, the food is grown on site.
By buying local, you will be able to trace your food back to its source and will be doing your bit for the environment.
Save Money on Organic by Changing your Supermarket
If the convenience of supermarket shopping is essential, you might not have time to visit separate shops. Switching to a different supermarket could still help you to save money.
Many people have reduced their shopping bill by switching from one of the bigger supermarkets to their local Aldi. Aldi also sells organic produce as well as frozen and food cupboard items.
Even shopping around gets complicated and time-consuming, so you may want to visit the My Supermarket website. Aldi does feature on the site, along with other leading UK supermarkets. Using a supermarket comparison website, you can see which is cheapest for the things that you want to buy.
As of September 2016, organic broccoli is cheapest in ASDA at 98p but will cost £1.21 in Morrisons.
Costco also sells organic food, though you will need to be a member to access their stores.
Save Money on Organic by Buying Meat in Bulk
Do you have a lot of freezer space?
Buy organic meats in bulk, which allows you to take advantage of any special offers.
Some butchers sell meat boxes, or meat packs, that feature enough meat for a week or a fortnight as long as you have the space to store everything in safety.
Save Money on Organic by Buying Fruit and Veg More Often
Buying meat in bulk can save you money, but the same may not be true of your vegetables.
Organic foods are not filled with chemical preservatives, which means that they will not survive for as long in the cupboard or your fridge.
If you have to throw food away because you haven’t had time to eat it it’s a waste of money.
Don’t buy large bags of organic fruit and vegetables, unless you are sure that you can use them all in time.
Save Money on Organic by Growing your own Food
If you can grow some of your own organic fruit and vegetables, then you can save money on your weekly shopping bill.
You may not have a lot of space, but even a few potted plants can make a difference.
Or, why not rent an allotment? You can apply to the local council for a plot of land, though there may be a long waiting list. You will need to pay to rent the land, but could grow enough produce to offset the costs. You’ll also know that your food is as fresh as possible!
Save Money on Organic by Changing your Eating Habits
Meats are far more expensive than fruit and vegetables, which are in turn more expensive than grains.
If you consider yourself to be a bit of a carnivore, then you may want to change your eating habits.
Having a meat-free day, even once a week, can help to reduce your grocery bill. This is true whether you are eating organic food or not.
If you can have meat-free meals as often as possible, you will be able to keep food costs down.
Perhaps going meat-free isn’t tempting? You could still save money on organic food by adjusting your portion sizes. Cut your usual meat portion in half, setting the rest aside for another day, and increase your vegetable portion to compensate. You don’t have to completely give up on your steaks and lamb chops in order to save some money.
Save Money on Organic by Avoiding Box Schemes
Fruit boxes and vegetable boxes are becoming popular.
With these, you get organic food delivered straight to your door once a week.
Organic food boxes can be tempting, but you’ll pay more for convenience. These boxes can be much more expensive than similar foods from your favourite farm shop.
Boxes are filled with a range of fruit and vegetables, including some that you might not use. This can be a good way to add more variety to your diet, but if you are not inspired by what you receive then you may end up throwing food away.
You might also find that you can’t get through the food at a quick enough rate, leaving you with more food waste.
Box schemes are ideal if you want the convenience of fresh, organic produce delivery and the chance to add new foods to your diet. If your goal is money saving then you might not see the benefits.
Save Money with Food Cooperatives and Buying Groups
Start, or join, a community buying group.
Together with other people in your community, you will be able to place large wholesale orders for the organic foods that you want.
As you are buying food in bulk, you’ll save money and be able to take advantage of wholesale discounts. You will also be able to choose from a huge range of products that will probably not be available in your local farm shop or supermarket.
There are many food cooperatives and wholesalers to choose from. One option is Infinity Foods, with smaller orders of between £150 and £250 depending on your location.
The head of your local buying group can collect money, place the order, accept delivery of the goods and then be available to distribute them. If you can’t find a local buying group, why not start your own with members of your community? Just make sure that you have storage space available!
Save Money on Organic by Packaging your own Food
Farms that offer the chance to pick your own produce will usually charge a lower price. If you have the time, it can help to visit a farm and do the hard work yourself.
You’ll get to see exactly where your organic produce is coming from, whilst saving money on your groceries.
A pick-your-own farm is also a great family day out activity. The whole family can enjoy the experience of being in the great outdoors and collecting the fruit that is growing. Younger family members will get an educational insight into where food comes from when it’s not on a supermarket shelf.
Wholefoods stores also offer reduced prices on foods in big bulk bins. These are your grains and cereals, many of which will be organic. You can use small bags provided in the store, or take your own packaging, scooping only as much as you need.
Many people find that it doesn’t make sense to pay a premium for a colourful cardboard box. Packing up your own food can be a useful way to save money.
Shopping Organic on a Budget
If you replace your existing groceries with organic equivalents, you may find that you go a long way over your budget.
You may need to change habits, from where you shop to how much meat you are including in your diet.
How do you save money on organic products? What recommendations do you have for other people?
Share your tips to help others to buy organic foods for less.