Do you want fresh and organic food for your family, but think it’s impossible on your budget?
Then it’s time you learn different ways and places to stock up on your organic and natural food. And you don’t need to grow anything. Sure, if you grow some of your food your groceries will be even cheaper.
Try some or all of these 8 tips for saving money, while stocking your cupboards.
1. Stock Up with Sales and Bargains at Your Favorite Stores.
You’re probably already do this, but are you keeping track of when things go on sale, then buy extra? Keep track of when your grocery store puts things on sale. You’ll start to notice patterns. Even though grocery prices are continuously rising there will still be highs and lows within products throughout the year.
When your everyday foods go on sale buy several at a time. For instance, If you normally buy three jars of tomato sauce whenever you need it, start buying 4 when they are on sale. Buy changing your mindset to buying sales your food will cost less in the long run.
You may wonder how you’ll save money yearly on groceries when you feel you’re spending more money each week in the beginning. Or not getting exactly what you want each week. . How in the long run if you’re spending more money at one time.
Well, one example in our house is organic sweeteners such as sugars, maple syrup, and honey. I use them for cooking and they are a must especially for baking, right?
Whenever sweeteners go on sale I buy a large quantity. Then I don’t need to buy any for most of the year. The money I no longer use for sweetener goes towards other food I need.
I’ve noticed items like sugar are on sale during the typical baking season, huge holidays, when the commercial world is pushing for people to bake.
Plus, also check if there is a bargain bin area in each section of the store. These products are usually very close to being outdated, but they are still good. Any refrigerated item you’re not going to eat right away, stick into the freezer for longer keeping.
Make sure you’re buying the food you want to put into your body, not just food that is on sale. A good sale and bad health won’t save you any money.
2. Bargain Grocery Stores
Bargain grocery stores have many names and are ran by corporations or individuals.
In our area, they are individually owned. You’ll find these stores referred to as outlet groceries, outlet stores, bargain or salvage stores. Some only carry food, while others carry everything. And some don’t carry food at all but you can find some great bargains that have nothing to do with food.
Bargain stores buy almost or just outdated products from larger chains and distributors. The food sells for a fraction of the cost of you’re regular grocery store. The food hasn’t gone bad. It needs to be pulled off of the shelf by manufacturer ruling or grocery rules before the sold by or consumed by date. Even if it does have a date on it, remember it is a USDA date, not necessarily gone bad date.
There are several in my area. Over the past 15 years I’ve visited these types of stores for bargains for everything from spices to coffee, peanut butter to dog food and so much more. I look for organic brands and well known brands not necessarily from my local area. \
When my kids were in school I’d buy non outdated organic cereal for $1.00 a box. In the stores they were $4.99 or more. The savings can be enormous depending on how much you buy. These days I look for organic peanut butter, dog food, toilet paper, and other non-processed or low processed foods.
- The prices: You will save money on everyday items you need and use.
- Many are individually owned: Usually, you can talk to the owner or decision-making manager. This means you might get case pricing just for asking. Plus, when you get to know the owner and you shop regularly you gain other perks. Like when the new order comes in, or if they’d really like to clearance something out.
- You don’t know what will be in stock.
- You can’t depend on a certain product’s availability. These stores don’t restock items and they don’t order specific items. They purchase by the pallets
- I personally don’t worry about the expiration date, but this could be a con. I look at the packaging for damage and buy according to what I see. I don’t buy dented cans. And I don’t buy opened packages. Remember the date that is on any of these boxes are what the USDA deems. Yes, I have bought items which were bad from these place and had to throw them out. I’ve also bought food items from a regular grocery store which weren’t good when I got them home. Yes, you can try and return food to a regular grocery store, which you cannot do at an outlet. You have to watch what you’re buying either way.
3. Neighborhood Produce Stands
Produce stands can range from a gardener selling off extra produce to a stand selling multiple farmers goods. When I was visiting in Arizona there was a farmer who would sell citrus and honey from his pickup up truck in the neighborhood.
Look online for farms in your area, look in your local paper and check at your local farmer’s market. Many farmer’s market participants have their own farm stands in other places. Plus, just be aware of who in your neighborhood has extras to sell.
By buying local you can buy fresh and if you’re going to stock up fresh is always best.
Plus you can ask if you can buy in bulk for an even cheaper price.
4. Shop at Your Local Farmers’ Markets
Farmers Markets which come in all shapes and sizes is another great place to find organic food source. Just again like the farm stand you can buy fresh and many time in bulk. You have the opportunity to talk to the farmers or their workers on how things are raised.
Not all small farms are certified organic, it is too expensive. Many small farms grow in an organic and you they will tell you. Look for beef that is 100% grass fed, other meat that is on organic, which is non-GMO feed. Buy produce that is never sprayed and starts as a non-GMO seed.
You can find listings of the Farmers’ Markets on social media, the local paper, farm bureau, local towns and cities will have them listed on their events page, and of course by word of mouth.
Make sure you order early. And if they’ve run out get on their list for the next year.
5. Buy Meat Directly from the Grower
One of the most expensive type of food is meat and seafood. So buy it from the source. For seafood, look for areas your local fisherman may sell them. All other meat, find a farmer, rancher, or homesteader who raises the meat like you’d want it raised. Look for producers who raise their meat without hormones, vaccines, and shots. Look for meat that is raised on nature, with plenty of room to roam and be safe. Plus, animals not fed genetically engineered anything.
Many homesteaders have meat to sell. They usually raise enough for themselves plus extra to help pay for the cost of raising their own meat. Some sell by the pound, box, or animals. Beef is normally sold by the half and whole. Some producers sell their beef by the piece or quarter.
Some small producers advertise online, in your local paper, at the farmers’ market, and word of mouth. You’ll gain the benefit of fresh, plus knowing how they raise there meat.
6. Buy Your Food in Bulk
Yes, you can buy almost everything in bulk nowadays. From carrots to oatmeal and candy to meat, bulk is available everywhere. Just look around your grocery store.
Our local grocery stores carry most items in large containers or family packs. But they also have bulk sections where I can buy items by the pound. I personally find organic bulk spices to be much less money than the already packaged kind. Plus, in the bulk bin department, I don’t have to buy a large amount and I still get the bulk price. This allows me to try different spices, grains, and foods without a large upfront cost.
You can also join a buying club that buys in bulk like BJ’s, Costco, or Sam’s Club.
7. Learn How to Store Fresh Foods and Bulk Items
Storing fresh food and bulk items is a key to saving money and stocking up.
Fresh food can be stored in many ways. You can use any of the following methods to store your fresh food: canning, freezing, dehydrating, root cellar, or freeze drying.
Depending on what food you want to stock up on will determine the best method for you and your family. The fresher the food the better it is to store.
When buying in bulk, make sure you have the proper amount and size of containers to properly keep them fresh. Then you can open a larger package, repackage in airtight containers and use your food item a little bit at a time.
8. Join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
One way to stock up and know where your food comes from is by joining a CSA. A CSA gives you direct access to farm fresh food from a local source. As a CSA member, you pay a fee or a share for your food. You can buy different increments or multiple shares depending on your family’s needs.
A CSA is a partnership between the farmer and the consumer. The farmer has money up front, and guaranteed customers to plan and grow their products. The consumer reaps the benefits of the local fresh food at a consistent price.
When the farmer does better you get more for your share. There’s no better surprise then being told there is extra for the week. When ideal growing conditions are disrupted by weather you may not get as much, but your price won’t go up for what you do get. And you will get an honest answer on what’s available and what’s not because the farmer and you are in a partnership.
You’ll enjoy trying produce you would never normally buy.
CSAs can be found across the United States both in the city and the country.
You can find a CSA by searching online, checking your local paper, or contacting your Chamber of Commerce. You can also try the websites localharvest.org, for listings of CSA’s and other farm stores.
Bonus #9. Share an Organic Garden
Many times growing enough variety and quantity of food is too much for us to do on our own. Instead of doing it alone create a share garden with several families.
Share gardening is when more than one family takes responsibility for the garden. You share one garden area, and everyone reaps the benefit. Or you can have different people grow different items on their own property, and share with each other.
Some areas have community gardens. This is where the city has given small plots to neighborhoods for people to garden.
We’ve share gardened with different family members and friends over the years. It works out great and eases the need to grow everything by yourself. We’ve swapped potatoes, zucchinis, tomatoes, and more. Plus, it’s fun to get together to swap food.
Try one or more of the above ways to stock up on food while saving money. In these crazy times it’s important to not only eat healthy today, but tomorrow as well.