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12 Ways to Save Money on Organic Produce!
Eating your daily doses of fruits and vegetables doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg anymore, especially when it comes to organic produce. It’s a common belief that organic foods are expensive, but you can save money on organic produce items and sometimes even get it for less than conventional produce! More and more grocery stores are expanding their selection of organic products and that includes organic produce as well.
We’ve compiled this list of 12 Ways to Save on Organic Produce. It’s worth noting that many of these methods work well with other organic food items, including meat!
1 – Shop Sales
This is probably the most obvious way to save on organic produce. Every week, stores have sales on produce, including organic produce. Most stores have their ads online or in their app, so you can easily plan ahead to see what organic produce is on sale. Sometimes you can grab organic produce for the same price or cheaper than non-organic produce during a sale.
2 – Use Coupons
Organic coupons for produce are rare…but there are coupons if you know where to look (like following this blog of course 😊) and some companies will also send out coupons if you write to them. When you stack coupons with sales, you can save even more on organic produce! For example, in the picture above, we have a sale on Earthbound Farm Organic Salads. When you stack it with a $1/1 manufacturer’s coupon, you save a whopping 64%!!
3 – Use Cashback or Store Apps
These days, in the electronic age, there are a ton of cash back and store apps. Did you know many of them offer weekly cash back offers on all kinds of produce, from tomatoes to lettuce and way more. The top three easiest cash back apps to use are Checkout51, Ibotta and Savingstar which just require you to keep your store receipt after checkout.
- Checkout51 offers run from Thursday to Wednesday. They have a Pick Your Own Offer which allows you to pick from one of five (5) produce options. Once the offer is claimed, it is gone until the following week when the offers reset.
- Ibotta offers are random but there are more items included than on Checkout51. Their offers will vary but you can usually find at least a few different offers for fruits and vegetables. Plus new members get a $10 bonus when you submit your first rebate!
- SavingStar has a new “healthy” offer every week on Tuesdays you can redeem to save 20% off produce at select stores.
The great thing about the cash back apps is if you have a common offer on all the cash back apps you can claim your single purchase on them all. For example bananas may be on Checkout51, Ibotta and Savingstar, you could use your ONE store receipt and claim the banana offer on all three apps.
If your store has store coupons or their own app, check for those coupons as well. Whole Foods has their own app and they will occasionally offer a coupon for $5 off Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, which you can use on organic produce. Since this is a store coupon, you can stack it with manufacturer’s coupons (e.g. Earthbound Farm Organic coupon) for a double stack on the savings!
4 – Buy In Season Organic Produce
Have you noticed that produce selection and prices vary by season? This is why you see pumpkins on sale during the fall and watermelons on sale during the spring/summer. If you pay attention to what is in season you can buy organic produce at much lower prices.
If there are certain organic fruits and vegetables that you want to enjoy throughout the year, you can buy them in season and can/freeze the items. Most fruits (mangoes, berries, etc) can be frozen. Most vegetables can also be frozen if blanched (blanching is when you drop veggies into a boiling pot of water and then immediately put them in ice cold water and dry).
Canning is commonly done for items like tomatoes (salsa, paste, etc). If you have your own garden and produce a certain crop in bulk, canning is a great way to store it. Ball Jars are great for preserving your fresh fruits and vegetables.
5 – Buy Frozen Organic Produce
During the wintertime, fresh produce tends to be limited or more expensive. Buying organic frozen produce can be more economical and you can still enjoy your favorite produce during the off-season. Fruits and vegetables are typically harvested and processed during their peak ripeness to be frozen and still contain a lot of nutrients. You can stock up during a sale and since they have a longer shelf life, it will save you more money. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to throw away fresh produce because I wasn’t able to use it before it went bad.
6 – Buy Store Brands
The demand for organic products has been growing and in response to this demand, many stores now offer their own brands. For example, Target has their own brand called Simply Balanced, Kroger has Simple Truth and Aldi has SimplyNature. These brands still have the same USDA certification (as shown in the picture above for Kroger’s Simple Truth Organic Brand) but the products are usually priced lower. And don’t forget to check the store’s app for coupons for even more savings!
7 – Buy Discounted Produce
Many times you can shop either your locally owned or big box stores to find produce items that are about to “go bad” and score them at major discounts. For example, Kroger will mark down produce by 50% or more when it is about to go bad. If there are coupons or cashback offers to stack with it, you can get some really cheap organic produce! The picture above is from our reader VickiRae – she got all this discounted organic produce for $20 at Kroger!
8 – Buy in Bulk
You can save quite a bit of money on organic produce by buying in bulk and joining warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club. These warehouse clubs have a lot of members and have more buying power and leverage when it comes to negotiations with vendors and they can pass the savings on to you. Costco’s organic offerings have grown in recent years. In fact, they sell so much organic produce that they are not able to meet consumer demands!
9 – Watch the Weight
Have you ever noticed most items are sold by weight? Items like grapes (which tend to be the most expensively packaged items by the pound), tomatoes, potatoes and carrots are sold by the pound and there are usually scales nearby to weigh your items. Here’s a little hint, shake off your produce before weighing it or bagging it. Why? The water jets that are used to wash off the produce can leave water on your items, which add weight (every penny counts, right?) You can also peel off just what you need, for example bananas, only need two bananas this week? Peel those two you need and take those home! Apples, oranges, tomatoes, onions, and more may vary to be sold by weight or in a bulk amount. Be sure to figure if you need more and can split it and save it later to help you save in the long run. Meal planning helps a lot with this aspect so that you get the most out of your budget on your organic produce.
10 – Grow Your Own Garden
One of the simplest ways to save on your produce is to grow your own. Your location may dictate which crops will grow the best and it may also depend on your very own garden area with what grows best. (Certain crops require a set amount of light, room to grow, etc to produce). You can start a small garden inside or if you don’t have actual plots to plant on you can use products like the Topsy Turvy Planters to grow tomatoes. So what if you can’t grow certain plants/produce but purchase them often? Check a neighbor or local farmer to see if they would trade what you produce for a portion of what they grow, commonly known as bartering or trading. Many farmers sometimes have an abundance of crops some years and have excess to trade so it never hurts to ask.
11 – Shop your local Farmer’s Market/Co-op
Many towns have a weekly Farmer’s Market where local farmers bring all their items to a larger place and sell. You can bring your own bags, shop the tables, talk to the farmers about their farming methods and often get better quality items than what can be purchased in the big box stores. In addition, homegrown and fresh produce found at a farmers market tend to last longer and you waste less therefore saving yourself a boatload of money. You can also participate in programs like Bountiful Baskets where you pay a fee and get a basket of fruits/veggies each time that are in season from your local farmers.
12 – Use All Your Produce
Using ALL the produce you’ve purchased is key to saving yourself pennies in the long run. How often do you see that banana sitting on the table turning brown and throw it away instead of using it. Turn that banana into banana bread or banana muffins/pancakes the next day. It’s not unheard of at health food stores for people to buy bananas by the boxes, take them home and freeze them for smoothies and more later.
If you’ve found some peppers stashed away in the fridge drawer that are nearly at the end of their shelf life, chop them up and throw them in a stew or soup. It keeps your menu new and ever changing while making sure you don’t waste your grocery budget at the same time.
Wash Your Organic Produce
So now that you’ve saved all this money on organic produce, be sure to wash them as you would with conventional produce. Although organic produce has less exposure to harmful chemicals and pesticides, this does not mean that it is contaminant or bacteria free. Wind from nearby conventional farms can blow pesticides and chemicals onto organic farms (also known as “pesticide drift”) and bacteria contamination can happen during the handling of the produce in facilities that process the produce.
For organic vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and kale, soak them in a bath of cool water and vinegar for 5 minutes. For more delicate produce like tomatoes, grapes and berries, you can spray those with produce wash and let them sit a few minutes before rinsing them off.
What other suggestions do you have for saving money on organic produce?
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