I recently ran across an article on the Internet entitled, How to Eat Organic on a Budget. Since this is the tag line for my Homemade Life workshop, I clicked on over. This article listed 75 ways to save money while eating organically, most of which I already do and a few that caused me to chuckle (get a couple of chickens and hatch your own eggs - really that's all there is to it? and skip the Starbucks -duh). It also listed sites where you could find discount coupons and deals on organic products. I was excited – this is useful information! So I spent the better part of an afternoon exploring these sites. And I learned two things –
If you spend two hours tracking down a coupon for 50 cents off a product, you probably haven’t really saved anything.
Most sites that make big promises are either for products you’ve never heard of and have no need for, or are full of dated information and expired coupons, but plenty of advertising.
And here’s the thing about coupons – they’re only useful if you were planning to buy that product anyway. Otherwise they’ve done exactly what the company had hoped when they hired that fancy advertising genius – they’ve tricked you in to buying their product.
A few of the sites did actually garner real coupons on products you might actually find in your grocery store. Now, I make no promises that your grocery store accepts these coupons. The world of coupons is lost on me mostly because coupons are for processed food – organic or otherwise, and I avoid processed food – organic or otherwise- as a rule of thumb.
All of that said, I will share with you the sites that looked promising because I know I’m an oddity and most people have no choice but to buy processed food (or starve) so I’d rather you bought organic processed food if you must buy processed food at all.
Organic Deals This site is actually up to date, but I didn’t recognize many of the products it was proffering deals on. Your experience might be different.
Simply Organic This is a well-known line of spices, baking supplies, and mixes. The site has lots of coupons you can print and use.
Nutiva (oils and seeds) – If you like their facebook page you get a $10 off coupon for an online order.
We don’t have a Whole Foods near us, but if you do their website has lots of printable coupons.
If you’ve ever wanted to have your organic groceries (including bread, dairy products, veggies, and meats) delivered, the new service Green Polka Dot Box looks interesting. It’s basically a buying club (like Costco) that charges an annual fee but allows you to buy food at a discount. I spent more time than I should have perusing their site and saw many brands I buy available at discounted prices, even flours, cheeses, soups, and crackers. I’m tempted, but for now I’m holding out because I’m so committed to buying from locally owned stores and I’m not sure the energy expended in delivering food to my door is the best use of resources. Watch the short, cute video on the website to learn their system and let me know if any of you try it. I’d love a first-hand report.
If it’s not the cost, but the source that’s holding you back – you can find plenty of great organic, grass-fed, and homegrown foods that you can purchase directly from the farmer on the website Local Harvest. The site also offers a weekly update customized for your area with information on events and sales from farmers near you.
So, if the cost of organic is what’s keeping you from eating healthier, take heart. The cost of organic seems to be going down slowly, but surely. It’s still WAY cheaper to make your own foods from fresh, organic ingredients (which was the basic premise of that article I read), but if you haven’t got the time, there surely is a way. And consider this – you can spend money now on organic food, or you can spend money later on doctor’s bills. Be a wise investor.
If you’re local I’ll be teaching a six week class on this very topic plus organic cleaning and healthy living through the District’s Adult Ed program. Sign up – I’d love to see you!)