Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Wash It Yourself & Other Ways to Save Money on Organic Fruits, Veggies

My children appreciate the added flavor in organic fruits, vegetables and dairy products. Unfortunately, organic products, which are grown and packaged without pesticides, artificial coloring or preservatives, are expensive. The following strategies have helped us to purchase organic products while staying on a tight budget.

Follow the loss leaders. Grocery stores and specialty chains typically offer several heavily discounted items each week. These promotional items are called loss leaders because stores are willing to take a financial hit on them in order to bring consumers into the store. Stock up on sale items in the organic section and build menus around them.

• Stay local. In-season and locally produced fruits and vegetables are usually cheaper than out-of-season items that have been imported.

• Wash it yourself. We pay a premium for veggies that are already washed, peeled or cut. When time allows, I save money with do-it-yourself washing, peeling and chopping of fruits and veggies. The savings are significant.

• Hit the freezer. I love organic blueberries, but when the out-of-season price spikes to $6.99 for six ounces, I go to the freezer aisle. That's where I pick up a 10-ounce package of organic berries for about $4. The freezer section offers a variety of frozen organic fruits at reasonable prices. Frozen fruits are great for snacking or baking.

Join an organic co-op. Before we let our membership lag, we were part of an organic food co-op in our neighborhood for over a year. We have since joined another group and are pleased with the savings. Our produce bill has dropped by 30 percent due to the co-op, which purchases fruits and vegetables in bulk from local, organic farmers.

Sharon is the author of the Frugal Duchess: How to Live Well and Save Money -- a coming of age memoir about money -- and a contributing writer in Wise Bread's 10,0001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget.


Annette said...

For many of us the costs of buying organic would be prohibitive as individuals, but as a group, buying in huge bulk, the prices are very attractive. We've been doing this for a few years now. Any community can do it - no community meetings or physical store necessary.

SavingDiva said...

While organic produce is out of my grad student budget, I keep my budget low by applying the majority of these techniques to regular produce (except the co-op).

Healthy Traveller said...

HT: nice info