Shopping organic often costs a little extra, but environmental lifestyle expert Danny Seo is sharing his top tips for saving money when shopping at a natural and organic grocery store.
1. Join the Eco Community Site Recyclebank
Recyclebank is a free community site where more than 3 million eco-minded people earn points for doing green deeds in their daily lives. The points earned can be used to redeem for money-saving rewards on healthy, organic brands like Earthbound Farms, Kashi and Honest Tea. Since the site is eco-minded, the companies offering rewards tend to be the same brands sold at health food stores. On average, a Recyclebank member saves around $140 a year on their grocery bill by using the free site.
2. Think Organic Generics
In both high-end and mainstream supermarkets, organic frozen fruits and vegetables and pantry staples are more prevalent than ever. Instead of pricey name-brand organic food, think generics: store brands follow the same strict rules created by the USDA, so you can pay less and still get the healthiest choice of frozen fruits and vegetables, spices, oils, vinegars and more.
3. Use Bulk Bins Wisely
If you only bake on occasion, there's no need to spend all that money on normal-sized containers of flour, sugar, dried nuts and fruit to test your baking skills. Using the bulk bins at your natural food store to buy the exact amount of almond flour, raw cashews and spices is a way to save money and significantly reduce waste. A tip: find out the weight of ingredients you need, so you can accurately weight it at the store, since measuring cups are not provided.
4. Create Your Own Coupons
Major organic and natural food and home brands sold at supermarkets are active on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. They reward people who "Follow" them or "Like" them -- with huge, money-saving deals. Become a fan of your favorite brands that you buy on a regular basis and check their updates when they release coupons. Often, when a new product is being released, companies will give coupons to their die-hard fans to try the items free of charge.
5. Buy In-Season and Local
Organic strawberries in January will cost way more anywhere you go, because they are flown in from South America. But locally grown strawberries between June and August are plentiful and cheap. Buying produce when it is in season is when you'll find it at its lowest price. When farmers have bumper crops, the prices come down even further since fresh produce will spoil if not sold.
Tip: When organic berries are at their cheapest, stock up. Freeze them on parchment-lined cookie sheets and store them in airtight containers to use during winter months.
Every day, Danny Seo's nationally syndicated column "Do Just One Thing" offers just that: one simple, money-saving idea that helps the environment -- and helps you live a greener life. Find out where to read Danny's column and catch up on all the tips by reading through the archive. For more on Danny Seo, visit DannySeo.com.
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How to Save Big at Organic and Natural Grocery Stores