I have a specialty grocery store across the street from me. They make wonderful dips, pre-made food like barbeque and salads and – best of all – fabulous cakes. However, I don’t shop there much on a day-to-day or week-to-week basis. Why? Because I know I can get my regular groceries and produce much cheaper elsewhere, especially if I want to buy organic.
Moreover, I will surely avoid buying organic food at the specialty store because of the extremely high prices. Although their food is good quality, I know I can find good quality cheap organic food and produce at other stores for much less.
And who doesn’t want some extra cash in their wallets after a long, hard trip to the grocery store?
There are two main types of grocery shoppers:
- The bargain hunter – This is SO me. Why pay more when I know I can save on my grocery bill and keep my hard-earned money. I shop frugally and use coupons and coupon apps.
- The “Cart Tosser” Shopper – This is the shopper that throws everything in the cart without looking at prices. Although this is a fun way to shop, the bill is often a huge surprise.
Regardless of what type of shopping category you fit into, I can teach you some ways to cut your grocery bill and buy organic food on a budget. I can also give you some ideas for quality food and find the cheapest organic food so you don’t waste your money.
Why buy cheap organic?
I have to admit, I don’t buy everything organic. Yet, it is important to me because I have kids and research shows the blood to brain barrier is lower and toxic pesticides affect kids more so than an adult. According to Dr. Thomas K. McInterny, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, “That may be more important to kids because young children are more vulnerable to chemicals, but we simply don’t have the scientific evidence to know will affect a person’s health over a lifetime,” Says McInterny (source). My husband and I want to be healthy too, but I am definitely more concerned about my children and since the “lifetime” studies aren’t there, I would rather be safe than sorry when it comes to my kids.
Yet, the Environmental Working Group has come out with a list of foods that are more harmful than others. In this regard, it is best to buy organic foods listed on the “dirty dozen” or foods with higher amounts of pesticides.
Needless to say, you do not have to buy ALL organic food. This would definitely break the bank. There is also a “clean 15” list that is less harmful and therefore, nonorganic is okay.
Have you heard of the dirty dozen? These are the 2019 top twelve pesticide-contaminated foods. If you are not familiar with the list, these are the fruits and veggies you should buy organic because more pesticides are used or they do not have peels and the outside of the fruit is usually eaten without peeling (source):
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Cheap Organic Produce
The two lists below will help you buy cheap organic produce. You can choose which foods are worth buying organic using the dirty dozen listed below.
Dirty Dozen List
There are also foods that contain fewer pesticides or are peeled to eat and buying organic is not always necessary, which saves you money. This is entitled the “Clean List” (source).
Clean 15 List
- sweet corn
- frozen Sweet Peas
- sweet potatoes
Don’t think you will remember all of these while grocery shopping? No worries, you can get a free cheat sheet below.
Get Your Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 Cheat Sheet PDF here:
PDF Dirty Dozen & Clean 15 Cheat Sheet
To save money, if the fruit or veggie is not on the “dirty dozen” list, buy non-organic, but be sure to wash it anyway. Think of it this way, avocado has a peel you do not eat but harmful pesticides may have been used if you are buying non-organic. So when you slice into it you may be contaminating the food. This is why it is still best to wash fruits and veggies, even if they are on the clean 15. This is VERY important because you will save money by not buying organic for the “clean 15” but still want to be safe and avoid harmful chemicals.
Best places to buy Affordable Organic Food:
Now that you know which fruits and vegetables are safe to buy, you can still save on the “dirty dozen” list if you decide to buy organic if you know where to shop. Here are my tips for buying organic food on a budget without sacrificing quality.
Buy Cheap Organic at Costco
Costco offers a variety of organic foods to fit any budget. Costco sells both fresh and frozen organic produce in bulk. Because you are buying food in larger portions you are usually getting a better rate and can score great deals on organic food.
Pro Tip: Buy frozen organic fruits and vegetables, which retain most of the nutrients, will last longer than fresh fruits and vegetables, and cost less.
Buy organic on a budget at Target
Have you tried Target’s Simply Balanced brand? Most of the simply balanced products are organic. You can score amazing deals on organic food and Target’s couponing policy allows for several discounts on one item. You can stack Cartwheel savings, Target coupons, and 5% off with your RedCard on the same item.
Don’t forget to use my favorite rebate app when you get home!
I often buy frozen organic corn, spinach, broccoli, and organic juice from the Simply Balanced Brand-specific to Target. The best part is it is affordable and good quality. The Simply Balanced Brand is often listed on the Cartwheel app. Target also sells many other organic foods such as fresh fruit, dressings, salsa, and pasta just to name a few.
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Target Savings Secrets
How to Create a Stockpile on a Budget
Buy Cheap Organic at Kroger
Kroger’s “Simple Truth” brand is also of good quality and affordable. Kroger often offers digital coupons, even on organic food. Be sure to check the flyer before you shop and make a list of Simple Truth items that are on sale that week. Use your list to make a meal plan.
Buy organic on a budget at Fresh Thyme
Fresh Thyme is a supermarket that offers great deals on organic food. Most deals are on fresh fruit and vegetables. Deals vary so make sure to check your local flyer to and make a list to score the best deals.
Pro Tip: Try to plan your meals according to what organic food is on sale that week. Keep your flyers handy or look online to help you decide what is for dinner this week.
Buy cheap organic at Aldi
Aldi, the popular discount store owned by Trader Joe’s, also sells many organic foods. There fruits and vegetables are high quality and I have found some of the best deals on fresh fruit and vegetables as well as other foods and snacks at Aldis. Also, try their Simply Nature organic brand.
While shopping at Aldis takes a little time to get used to like renting your shopping cart or the fast cashiers, the prices are well worth the quirks so make sure you check out your local Aldis.
Wild Oats brand at Walmart
Even Walmart offers organic brand food. Wild Oats is now sold at Walmart stores and is of great quality at a lower price.
Online cheap organic food
Try Brandless when buying organic food and other products online. Many items are only $3 and you can find beauty and household items as well. Plus if you spend around $50 you will get a $6 referral credit. There is a HUGE variety of products on this site to try.
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Other tips for eating organic on a budget
Eating organic on a budget not only means knowing the right places to shop, but there are other tricks to helping you save on organic food. Check out the tips below:
- grow your own produce
- eat less meat (organic meat is expensive)
- buy produce in season (it will taste better too!)
- Try buying organic food in bulk to save
- Find organic coupons on sites such as Target Simply Balanced Cartwheel & digital coupons, Kroger Coupons for Simple Truth, and All Natural Savings
- Whole foods offer coupons here
- Check Trader Joe’s flyers for coupons and deals
- Skip pricey coffee and buy organic and make your own like this brand (Larrry Bean’s Organic Coffee)
- Try Thrive Market or Amazon
- Buy local (fewer pesticides used in shipping)
- If buying organic food in bulk, take a measuring cup so you buy only what you need
- Try Sunbasket or HelloFresh (you can read my guest post review here)
Get $50 off your first 5 orders of Freshly ($10 off each week)
Organic on a Budget Conclusion
Buying organic for the dirty dozen is important to me since the research on how non-organic food affects humans over a lifetime is not yet available. I would much rather be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to my kids. Yet, I love to save money and cannot afford to buy all of my foods organic. So shopping at Costco, Target, Kroger, Fresh Thyme, and Aldi for my organic food is essential. Buying store-brand organic is also a must. Use my list above to buy organic on a budget and don’t waste your money!
These are the top places I’ve found cheap organic food! How about you? Do you have a favorite place you love to buy organic? Leave me a comment. I would love to be to hear from you!
1 Comment on Organic Food on a Budget – Find the Cheapest Organic Food
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Hi Sarah, this is a very helpful list. I try to buy organic as much as I can but when I can’t, I like to wash my produce really well to reduce pesticide residues. Commercial soaps are proven not to work, but I use these good washing tips.