Shopping for organic groceries can be expensive and confusing. Your budget only goes so far. How do you prioritize which groceries to purchase organic or regular? How do you know which stores have the best prices? This guide will help you make decisions and create a game plan.
First, you don’t have to shop at “Whole Paycheck” unless you enjoy shopping there. There are plenty of options, but you will need to be open to shopping at different stores, and even online. I recommend comparing prices at your favorite store/s and some of the ones below to determine where to purchase what items. Then make a game plan with what you will purchase, when, and from where.
We’ll look at:
- Meats and Fish
- Middle of the Store
The Environmental Working Group keeps a list of the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” produce items. If you can’t purchase organic for all of your produce, use these guides to prioritize.
The best organic produce will be what you can grow yourself. Whether it’s in your backyard or on a window ledge, you can use organic seeds, soil, and compost, and have more control over what you grow and eat. This of course is not reasonable for everyone, but it’s certainly the best option.
The best place to purchase organic produce is your local farmer’s market, co-op, or CSA. Since being “USDA Certified Organic” is a costly and lengthy process, your local farmers might be using organic methods, but are not legally allowed to classify their produce as organic. Ask questions about their methods, soil, and use of pesticides.
A recent find of mine was Amazon Fresh. I would say 75%-80% of the organic produce is actually on par with the prices of regular supermarket produce. But do your research before you purchase and compare prices. They deliver to your doorstep at whatever time you choose, and they pick up the bags from the previous week. When you spend $40, you get free shipping, and I have managed to order mostly the same thing every week and hit right at that $40 mark. I’m definitely hooked.
If you have a Costco or Wegmans near you, they have some great organic produce options too.
Meats and Fish
I’m still struggling with this one. I only eat fish, and my boys are paleo, so I still purchase plenty of meat for the family. Organic meat is extremely expensive. If you shop at your local grocery store, look for different cuts. Our main grocery store has organic chicken thighs and legs that are very reasonable. The white meat is much more pricey. Animals like lamb and bison are typically grass fed and free range. Just be sure to check your labels.
Amazon Fresh has several varieties of organic meats but we haven’t tried them yet. Costco and Wegmans are other great places to shop for organic meats as well.
Thrive Market recently added free-range and wild caught meats and fish.
Vital Choice is our go-to for wild caught salmon and fish.
The Middle of the Store
Fortunately, there are plenty of Certified Organic options in the middle of the store, but too many options can be confusing as well. My favorite place to purchase middle of the store items is Thrive Market. The prices are extremely reasonable and they give you copious details about your items to let you know if they are gluten free, organic, kosher, non-GMO, vegan etc.
I’ll pretty much shop anywhere for non-perishable items. Costco, Walmart, and Target are also winners for the middle of the store items.
One final thought, when you shop at brick and mortar stores, be sure to check for coupons. Coupons for organic groceries are few and far between, but they are typically high dollar coupons since their products aren’t as mainstream and they want you to try them.
Before you go, be sure to check out our CLEAN EATING RECIPES!
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Love, hugs, and saving money one organic apple at a time.HERE.
Good options – I haven’t tried Amazon but will check it out. I live in Florida and get things weekly at a farmer’s market of folks who grow without chemicals…mostly in their yards! I also buy from Aldi which has a small organic section and is cheaper than Walmart. In 2015 Costco sold more organic than Good Food and Sam’s Club is increasing their organic selection. Thrift Market is good and so is Vitacost. I get organic pantry items from Vitacost monthly and spend enough for free shipping. Love it delivered to my door. Have a great day!
Hi Carol – That is awesome you live in Florida and are able to get your produce locally… and probably all year round too with the warm weather! Thank you for sharing all of your great ideas! Very much appreciated. Hugs, Holly
interesting! i’ve never known about amazon fresh!
Hi Linz – Thanks so much for stopping by to say hello! Hope to see you again soon. Hugs, Holly
I had no idea about Amazon Fresh! I’ll have to check it out. I’ve been pretty impressed with the selections I find at Costco, but I sometimes have trouble using up the quantities before they spoil. 🙁
Hi Tracey – The Costco struggle is real! We have our Amazon Fresh order down to a science to order just at that $40 mark and we eat everything with minimal waste. Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you again soon. Hugs, Holly
Great tips! I haven’t tried Amazon Fresh, but I love Amazon for so many things, so I’ll have to check out this option! Thanks for sharing with us over at Funtastic Friday!
Hi Liz – Thanks so much for hosting! Love your party! Hugs, Holly