In this post, I want to share my favorite tips to help you lower organic food costs (and food costs in general) so that you will have more money available to build your wealth.
Now that I am on the Path to Financial Independence, being able to lower organic food costs has become a priority for me.
My family enjoys visiting local farmer’s markets, where we can get fresh organic produce year round. I love the huge variety of locally grown heirloom fruits and vegetables, artisan cheeses, wild-caught sustainable seafood, and free-range, grass-fed organic meat and eggs.
Sounds expensive, right? Find out how you can eat organic foods like this and still afford to put extra cash in your retirement fund . . .
How To Lower Organic Food Costs
Organic, high quality REAL food is important to me, so food spending has always seemed like the black hole of our budget.
I’ve learned a few tips and tricks to stay within our grocery budget without feeling deprived. The following money-saving strategies have helped us enjoy mostly organic, high quality food.
I offer these 8 tips to help you smartly navigate the grocery store or market so you can avoid the black holes and find cheap healthy eats, too.
1. Stick to the outside aisles of the grocery store.
The outside aisles along the walls of the grocery store are where you will find the produce, meat and dairy – whole, real food. The center aisles feature processed, packaged foods, which cost more. Processed foods often contain numerous chemicals, fillers, additives, excessive sugar or salt, and very little fiber.
Stretch your grocery dollar by avoiding processed foods.
2. Choose meals you can make from scratch at home.
Processed, packaged foods are a really poor value when it comes to your money. You are mostly paying for the packaging. They don’t do much for your health, either.
Try some new recipes and add your favorite ones into your weekly or monthly meal rotation.
3. Pack your lunch to lower organic food costs.
It’s easy to blow your food budget by eating out. Making your own lunch could save you lots of money, up to $50 or $75 per week. You also control the ingredients when you make your own lunch, so it’s healthier, too!
Take the money you save by packing your lunch, and invest it.
4. Get to know the “Clean Fifteen” and the “Dirty Dozen”.
If you can’t afford to purchase all organic food, avoid the Dirty Dozen, as these have the highest pesticide residues. Go for the non-organic produce with the least pesticide, known as the Clean Fifteen.
5. Eat simple raw foods.
Although I love to cook, I’ve also experimented with raw food recipes for years. I feel my best when I incorporate more fresh fruits, vegetables and greens into my daily meals. The easiest way to do this is with delicious smoothies.
Bonus! Here’s a simple recipe for the best smoothie ever.
Blend together 2 cups frozen fruit, 2 cups liquid, a big handful of greens, and a scoop of protein powder. You can use any brand, or use this link to order the organic protein powder I use and love. Sweeten with honey or stevia, if desired.
(Disclosure: If you make a purchase through this link, I’ll make a small commission, at no extra cost to you.)
Supercharge your day with a plant-based, high protein smoothie!
6. Follow the seasons.
There is a reason tomatoes are tasteless in the winter. Eating with the seasons allows you to buy produce when it is the least expensive and most flavorful. Biting into a fragrant, juicy peach at the peak of summer can feel like a delicious luxury.
Purchase produce in season – it costs less and tastes the best.
7. Eat low on the food chain.
You don’t have to become a vegan or switch to strictly vegetarian meals. But going meatless a few times a week can save lots of money. Eating low on the food chain is not only more cost effective, it’s also healthier.
Fill your grocery cart with whole plant foods like fruits, vegetables, greens, unprocessed grains and beans. Eating a plant-based diet will keep your waist skinny and your wallet fat.
Plant foods are loaded with antioxidants and a plant-based diet cools inflammation in the body. Healthy aging is all about reducing inflammation!
I can’t say it any better than author Michael Pollan in his New York Times Bestseller book, In Defense of Food:
“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
8. Visit your local farmer’s market.
You will find the freshest local and organic produce, along with great variety at a seasonal farmer’s market. Ugly fruits and veggies, which taste just as good, are often less expensive. Farmers may also mark down produce at the end of the day, when the best deals are to be had. Another way to lower organic food costs!
Apply the money you save to your retirement fund.
By adopting some or all of these tips, you will save money on organic food, enhance your health, and be able to contribute more to your retirement savings. WIN-WIN-WIN!!!
Question: What money-saving tips can you share with the rest of us for stretching your food budget while maintaining a healthy diet?