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I’m always looking for ways I could be saving money on organic food. In a perfect world, we would be eating fresh organic food all the time. In real life however, this is not easy to do, even if you can afford to pay the price. Saving money on organic food can be hard to do unless you know what to buy, and for many people, the higher cost of organic foods makes it difficult to eat the quality of food they would like to put on their table.

The best solution is to be selective as to which foods you pay the extra price for. One of the chief benefits of eating organic is the lower pesticide residues remaining in the food. By choosing items that are known to have higher pesticide content, you can reap the most benefit from your organic diet.

You can also have more money to spend on organic foods if you are a more discerning shopper when it comes to the rest of your grocery purchases.

The Dirty Dozen

Even though you carefully rinse or wash your produce before eating it, there always remains residue from the pesticides that were used. The following foods contain the highest amount of residue and they are the ones you should spend your money on first. These are the dirty dozen for 2015, in order of contamination:

1. Apples 5. Grapes 9. Cucumbers
2. Peaches 6. Cellery 10. Cherry Tomatoes
3. Nectarines 7. Spinach 11. Imported snap peas
4. Strawberries 8. Sweet Bell Peppers 12. Potatoes

 

Hot peppers and Kale were runners up for the dirty dozen list and are two other items you should buy in the organic food section if you can.

How To Cut Your Grocery Bill

Cook and eat at home. In North America, many people spend about half of their food dollars on foods that are consumed away from home. It’s a no-brainer that home-cooked food is cheaper and better than eating out. Few things in life are as enjoyable as fresh and fragrant dishes from your own kitchen, if you only invest a bit of time to learn how to cook.

Always Cook Large Meals. It always amazes that more people don’t realize how leftovers from large weekend meals can feed your family well into the following week. A soup or stew made on Saturday can easily provide another 4 to 6 meals, provided you made a large enough batch. The same goes for a roast cooked on Sunday.

As soon as the main meal cools, pack up individual meals in fridge or freezer containers. They can provide quick meals that only need to be reheated either during the following week or for up to six months if frozen.

Don’t underestimate the savings in cost and time from cooking large meals.

Don’t Pay The Butcher. Always buy bigger. For example, you can buy a whole chicken for half the price you would pay if you bought chicken breasts separately. It only takes a few minutes to cut the chicken up once you get home. The same thing applies for the better cuts of beef or pork.

Check The Weekly Flyers. Make a habit of checking the weekly flyers so you can stock up on sale items. You can easily freeze most things for 6 to 12 months.

Plan your weekly menus around items that are on sale that week. If chicken is on sale, you can structure a couple of meals around chicken dinner recipes. If it’s pork, same thing goes. If nothing good seems to be on sale, you’ve got lots of good stuff in your freezer you can use. You will rarely pay full price for anything if you plan ahead this way.

Use Coupons. Even if you only use coupons on occasion, the savings can add up. Some stores even accept coupons from their competitors, so be sure to check the store policy where you shop!

Just be sure you don’t end up buying something you would not ordinarily buy because of a coupon. The same goes for the points that are offered by many grocers. These can be of value, but they drive a lot of impulse purchases.

Know Your Prices

People often get caught by bright yellow or red ‘sale’ stickers. These tickets advertise a discount and are marked 30% or even 50% off.  Be aware that these items may not always represent a good buy. It’s not a sale if the price was jacked up just prior to being marked down. The only way to avoid being duped is to know what is a good price for that particular item.

Buy A Freezer

One of the first and most important steps to cutting down your grocery bill is to buy a separate full-sized freezer. Some items, like milk and bread, freeze so well you will hardly know they were frozen. You can buy your meats in bulk from a butcher and cut your cost in half and have more control over the quality of the meat you’re buying. You can also freeze leftovers from large meals rather than have them go bad in the fridge.

Final Tips

It’s best to buy fresh organic foods when possible if you can make it fit into your budget. By being an informed shopper, money that could have been wasted on processed or convenience foods can be put to better use to buy good wholesome foods.

A few more money saving tips when grocery shopping:

  • Make a shopping list and stick to it. Impulse buys can really add up.
  • Beware of end-of-aisle displays; these products are not always on sale or a good buy.
  • Don’t shop for food on an empty stomach! Have something to eat before you go.
  • Watch as your items go through the scanner. The sales price you saw in the flyer may not be programmed into the checkout scanner and you could be paying full price.