After a full year of saying we’re going to sit down and go over our budget, my husband and I finally did it. We used to be such superstars about our budget when we were first married, but it’s yet another area that has slipped since we had children. We have so very little time without the kids that it seems like a waste to spend it on budgeting (see what I did there?). Still, we did it, and we survived. The aftermath has left me with the task of saving money on organic non-GMO groceries.
We’ve been eating organic produce when it comes to The Dirty Dozen for many years; that has not changed and will not change. But ever since I attended Shiftcon in October, I’ve been making a more concentrated effort to avoid genetically modified organisms in our food. I have learned so much about what’s happening to our bodies, our health, and our children as a result of GMO’s in the past few years that it’s difficult for me to “unknow” all of these things and go back to allowing these untested organisms back into our food supply. I feel terrible about choosing cheap over safe now. I hate that it has to be a choice, but I know that if I keep “voting with my dollars”, eventually the companies will start listening.
I reached out to some wonderful clean eating anti-GMO bloggers that I know asking for their best tips on saving money while eating clean. I have compiled the best advice I received and hope to implement. Some of these things I already have in place and have already tested out for you! PLEASE NOTE: There are affiliate links in this list, meaning I am an affiliate of some of the online stores, so if you order from them I will get a few cents. Thank you!
Saving money on organic non-GMO groceries
1. Buy supplements, specialty (gluten-free, vegan, Paleo, non-GMO) snacks, and pantry staples from online retailers.
A list of retailers that may be cheaper in some cases than Whole Foods, Sprouts, or even Natural Grocer include:
Vitacost (affiliate link)
Thrive Market (affiliate link)
Abe’s Market (affiliate link)
iHerb (recommended by Lindsay Dahl)
I have found that crackers, flours, bulk herbs and grains, bath and body products, dental products, and organic feminine hygiene products are cheaper on these sites than at physical stores. Tip: order with a friend so that your order is large enough to qualify for free shipping (usually $50).
2. Garden: grow your own organic produce and herbs
This would work better if I did not constantly kill everything that I attempt to grow, but I just keep trying! The most valuable thing for me to grow would be herbs, again if I did not constantly kill them. I spend $3-$4 per week on fresh cilantro, parsley or sage. If I could somehow stop killing the herbs in my garden, that would save me $156 per year, minimum. Related: has anyone ever tried the Aerogarden (affiliate link) for this? I have been thinking of ordering one for years to try to stop the constant herb death over here.
3. Meal Planning
I am literally unable to do this inside my own brain, so I pay someone to do it for me. I love buying meal planning and having someone else tell me how to cook and what to cook. Meal planning makes certain that you don’t buy what you won’t eat in a given week. No waste! Clean eating plans that I love:
Real Plans (affiliate link)
The Fresh 20
eMeals (choose the Clean Eating, Vegetarian or Paleo plan)
4. Use the freezer
Maybe 2015 will be the year we get an electrician out to install outlets in the garage for a deep freeze. If you have freezer space, you can buy in bulk and freeze. Things to freeze: organic fruits, organic vegetables (from your garden!), grass fed meat, large batches of soup, large batches of baked goods like muffins, pancakes, and waffles, leftover smoothies and bulk cooked beans (cheaper & safer than buying canned). You can also buy frozen organic produce more cheaply than fresh.
5. Shop smarter
I’ve saved a lot over the years by knowing where each item is the cheapest. For example, conventional marshmallows have high fructose corn syrup AND blue dye (linked to attention issues and hyperactivity in children, actually required to carry a warning label in the UK, largely phased out over there). So I buy organic marshmallows, but there’s a difference in cost depending on where you buy…
Whole Foods: $4.69 per package
Natural Grocer: $4.29 per package
Thrive Market: under $4 per package
Per my blogger friends across the nation, try to find these local chains near you:
Costco (carries a TON of organic and GMO-free items)
Natural Grocer (by Vitamin Cottage, under that name in some areas)
For more ways to shop smarter, check on these posts Organic on the Cheap, Real Food Money Saving Tips, Using Amazon Subscribe & Save makes Real Food Affordable and Real Food Grocery Budget.
I hope some of these tips help all of us! Here’s to a thrifty 2015, and please feel free to post YOUR money saving tips for organic, non-GMO groceries in the comments!