The Ultimate Guide To Buying Organic

We all want to eat the best food we possibly can, but sometimes it's hard to rationalize the price. Especially when you pay nearly double for organic milk, strawberries, or cereal — and we're trying to save whenever and wherever we can. But, if eating organic is a priority for you, it's still possible to buy certain foods that fit the bill without breaking the bank. Ahead, we have all the tips and tricks you need to keep your receipts to a minimum.
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Photographed by Ruby Yeh.
Know When To Cheat
There are certain foods you should always buy organic; typically fruits and veggies where you're eating the entire piece of produce, like apples or berries. But items with a built in outer layer, such as bananas, oranges, onions, and mangoes, are already protected from chemicals. For an exact list of produce with the highest and lowest pesticide rates (which should help inform your decision of what to purchase organic), check out these essential lists dubbed the dirty dozen and the clean 15.
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Photographed by Ingallas Photo.
Buy Seasonal
Now that you know what fruits and veggies to buy organic, it's important to know when to buy them. For the lowest prices stick to seasonal produce. (Here's a cheat sheet.) The less your groceries have to travel to get to your shopping cart, the lower your receipt will ultimately be. Plus, food that's in season tastes better, too.
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Know When You're Getting More Bang For Your Buck
Yes, organic milk is always going to be more expensive than its non-organic counterpart. But there's an upside that makes the few extra bucks worth it — the expiration date. Organic milk lasts longer after it's opened, so you're likely getting more for your money. Save money in the long run by buying a larger container. It won't spoil as fast and you'll probably be able to get through the whole thing!
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Shop Online
While it definitely takes some getting used to, online grocery shopping is the easiest way to stay on top of costs without making multiple trips to the market in one week. You can compare prices on different sites, wait for sales on your favorite produce, and even see how certain fruits and vegetables are ranked so you don't end up buying something expensive that doesn't even taste good.
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Buy In Bulk
As a general rule, buying in bulk will save you cash (as long as you truly use the things you're purchasing) and the same goes for eating organic. Use the bulk bins at your local supermarket whenever possible or join a membership store that offers organic options like Costco.
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Photographed by Lianna Tarantin.
Buy Too Much Food
We're not suggesting to be wasteful, but when there's a sale, take advantage of it. If you can buy too much food at the right price, either freeze the extras or make a big batch meal with lots of leftovers — your wallet will thank you later.
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Photographed by Eric Helgas.
Be Flexible
Scope out the store and see what's on special. If you can be flexible, especially with perishable items like meat and cheese, you can grab whatever organic protein is on sale or nearing its expiration date for dinner. Plus, if you stock up on extras, you can be more selective, based on what's already in your freezer.
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Buy Generic
When we think generic we think of the supermarket version of major brands. But there are plenty of generic options of more expensive organic eats, too. Just check out Whole Foods 365 brand and Trader Joe's line of organic eats.
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Photo: Getty Images.
Buy Frozen
If the prices on fresh organic produce aren't quite right next time you're at the store — don't give up! Check out the freezer aisle instead. You'll be able to find something that suits your palate and your budget.
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