My 30 tips to save money on groceries and eating organic!

Getting healthy + organic groceries can be expensive. I know…trust me.

Let me guess.

You want to start eating healthier, organic food to avoid toxins, chemicals, factory farmed meat, and get the maximum nutrition? Yea! Me too!

But, you don’t want to break the bank trying to stock your fridge and pantry? Me neither.

It is always going to cost more money to eat organic and non-gmo. But, there are few things better to invest in than your health. Think of all the money you are going to save on medical bills in the long run!

Luckily, there are ways to save money buying the highest quality produce, meat and pantry staples. Let me share 20 of my money saving tricks with you so you can eat healthy and organic on a budget.

1. Clean 15, Dirty Dozen

While it is best to eat organic produce as much as possible, there are some foods that are okay to get non-organic. EWG lists their Clean 15 produce that is safer to consume when not organic, as well as the Dirty Dozen that you always want to buy organic.

2. Buy Fresh Produce That’s In Season

Food is most affordable when it is in season. Ever noticed how expensive fresh berries are in the winter? They’re pretty bland too. That’s because they’re not in season, so it costs more to source them. To avoid this, buy fresh produce when it is at it’s peak season.

3. Buy Frozen Produce

You can save a ton of money buying frozen organic produce. Frozen fruits and vegetables are picked at their peak freshness and flash frozen, so they have optimal nutrition and flavor. Plus, they’re more affordable, you don’t have to worry about them spoiling in your fridge, and you can enjoy your favorite produce year round! I prefer frozen over canned so I don’t have to worry about BPA.

4. Use Bulk Bins

For grocery items that you only need a small quantity of for a recipe, use bulk bins! Then you only need to buy the exact amount you need. Whole Foods, Sprouts and most other grocery stores have bulk bins with tons of ingredients like nuts, flours, dried fruit, even spices!

5. Buy In Bulk

If it’s an ingredient that you use a ton, you’ll save maximum money buy buying it in bulk. Costco has the absolute best price for organic nuts, canned goods, nut flours, coffee, even organic produce!

6. Cut Back on Meat Consumption

Eating smaller portions of meat will save you a ton of money. Vegetables are much cheaper than protein. Make your lunch and dinner plate 70% plants, and only 30% meat. I aim for about 4-6 ounces of meat for my dinner serving. This is better for the planet too! I only consume pasture raised, 100% grass fed, hormone and antibiotic free meat. (I get it all from ButcherBox, which I highly recommend!) It is more expensive than factory farmed meat, but much better for my health, for the well being of the animal, and for our planet. To offset costs, you could no longer eat meat at breakfast, and eat about half the portion size of meat you used to.

7. Use Every Part of the Animal

To get the most value out of my ButcherBox order, I order the whole chicken which I break down myself (<– This post has the most helpful step-by-step tutorial video to show you how I do it!). Buying a whole chicken to break down to 2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks and 2 wings is almost HALF the price of buying all those cuts separately from your butcher. Plus, I use the carcass and all the bones to make homemade bone broth. No part of the animal is wasted, I’m saving money by not having to buy bone broth, and I’m getting the maximum use out of the money I spent on the chicken.

8. Homemake As Much As Possible

We are very close to being a 1 ingredient household. It is so much cheaper to make things yourself rather than buying it. I make all of our almond milk, condiments (mayonnaise, BBQ sauce, ranch dressing, salad dressing, pickles), nut butters (almond butter, pecan butter, cashew buttermixed nut butter), sauces (stir fry sauce, pesto, chimichurri), trail mix, bone broth, coffee creamer, cashew cheese, crackers, baby food, etc. This saves us a ton of money, it’s healthier and tastier!

9. Buy The Whole Food

While buying cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles, shredded coleslaw and salad mixes and pre-chopped butternut squash is more convenient, it’s also more expensive. Instead, buy the whole food and prep it yourself.

10. Use The Whole Food

Avoid food waste and get the maximum value from the food you buy and use every part of it. Save your vegetable scraps to add in to your bone broth. Repurpose the almond pulp from homemade almond milk to make almond pulp crackers or almond pulp porridge. Save your carrot peels to throw in a salad or smoothie. I save all my veggie scraps that I can’t repurpose to give to our backyard chickens, so we have zero food waste.

11. Start A Garden & Grow Your Own Produce

I have a container garden, with 12 containers growing produce around my house. Container gardens are a great way to start because you just need a big container and some soil, all of which you can get at your local nursery. Or Costco in the spring time! Very affordable and easy to begin. In the summer I grow tomatoes, zucchini and tons of herbs. In the winter I grow kale, cauliflower and carrots. It costs a fraction of the store bought price, plus I love teaching my kids where our food comes from.

12. Shop At Farmers Markets

Not only are farmers markets packed with the most nutrient dense produce that’s picked at peak freshness, it’s cheaper because there are less transportation and building costs. Visit localharvest.org to find a farmers market near you. INSIDER TIP: I always pay cash, and ask the vendor for bulk discounts. The vendor almost always says yes!

13. Buy Direct From the Farmer

If you can cut out the middle man (grocery store), you will save the maximum money. If you can source your meat or produce directly from the farmer, you get the most value. Here in California, I can buy almonds directly from a nearby almond farmer for almost half of what I would pay for it in stores. I also find my favorite produce stands at the farmers market and will visit them on site for more savings.

14. Shop Online

We all love Amazon, but did you know you can buy a ton of organic, healthy kitchen staples on Amazon too? It’s the best price I can find for spices, almond flour, cooking oils, etc. You can save even more (up to 15%) using Amazon Subscribe and Save on your most used products!

15. Stop Eating Out + Meal Plan

The amount of money we would spend eating 2 dinners out a week is enough money to buy the groceries I would need to cook all 21 of our meals that week. Plus, it’s healthier and more nutritious! Stop eating dinners out and instead cook at home and you’ll be shocked at how much you save. By taking the time to meal plan every week, I am able to choose meals that have overlapping ingredients so I can buy them in bulk and use up everything that I buy. This means less groceries to buy, therefore more savings. Plus I am much less likely to eat out if I have a meal and groceries all ready to go. Great news, I’ve done the meal planning for you! I’ve been sharing my weekly clean eating menus since September 2019, all for FREE!

16. Stop Getting Coffee at Coffee Shops

The markup on coffee shop coffees is so much! You can make coffee at home for pennies on the dollar. Plus, it’s healthier and you’re avoiding landfill waste from one-time use coffee cups. My favorite homemade coffee is this creamy cashew coffee (seriously life changing good!), and making my own cold brew coffee in a mason jar. I love these lids to turn all my mason jars into to-go drink containers!

17. Stock Your Freezer with Meals

I love having a well stocked freezer with meals I can thaw and reheat at a moments notice. I have a whole section of freezer friendly recipes on my site, and whenever I’m cooking those for dinner I’ll often double the recipe and freeze the second batch. Less work for me in the future, plus I get the most value out of the groceries I’m buying. This also helps us avoid spending money eating out, because on those crazy days when we don’t have time to make dinner, I can reheat a freezer meal rather than ordering takeout.

18. Use Coupons + Weekly Sales

Organic and healthy food goes on sale too! Sign up for the weekly sale ads to be emailed to you at Whole Foods, Sprouts, etc. Try and plan out meals with ingredients that are on sale. And if a favorite product is on sale, buy a bunch of it to have on hand and save in the long run! If you’re an Amazon Prime member, always keep an eye out for Amazon Prime deals at your Whole Foods store. You can scan your barcode right at checkout for instant savings. At Sprouts, on Wednesdays you can use the weekly ad deals for the previous week AND upcoming week. A lot of stores also have their own app that you can download and have exclusive coupons right on there.

19. Get Backyard Chickens

The best eggs are fresh eggs. We have 10 chickens, and are never at a shortage of fresh, organic, pastured eggs. The chickens eat all of our vegetable scraps that I’m not able to repurpose, and their manure makes the most amazing fertilizer for our container garden. I learned everything I need to know about backyard chickens from mypetchicken.com

20. Properly Store Food

Here is my post on my favorite food storage containers that give my groceries the maximum shelf life. Some quick tips to extend food life: Store nuts and nut flours in the freezer to avoid them going rancid. Store fresh herbs, kale and asparagus in fresh water in your fridge to extend their life. Properly seal dried goods to avoid ants and bugs, I love Oxo containers or mason jars.

21. Know Your Expiration Dates

Be on top of the expiration dates on all your groceries. Try to use them up before they go bad. This is true for all your homemade items too, such as almond milk, sauces, condiments, leftovers etc. That way, if it’s getting close to the expiration date you can add it to a recipe, or freeze it if possible. You can do this with your leftovers too! Great hack to avoid food waste. I love these erasable food label stickers that I have on every mason jar lid. You can write on it with a sharpie what it is, and the date you made it. (The sharpie is erasable with any eraser, and the stickers can go through the dishwasher just fine!)

22. Use Up Produce That’s About To Go Bad

Organic food spoils faster since it isn’t treated with pesticides and chemicals. If your fresh fruit and vegetables look like they’re about to start spoiling, use them in a recipe that day. Or chop them up and freeze them! Or, use them to make a stir fry or a curry or a soup that you can freeze as a future meal. If fresh herbs are about to spoil, hang them from a string to dry them out and use them as dried herbs. If a sauce or condiment is close to spoiling, freeze it for future use.

23. Keep Your Fridge Clean

Make sure your fridge is clean and free of moisture to avoid mold. I always clean out my fridge and give it a wipe down BEFORE I go grocery shopping. This also helps me take inventory of what I have on hand, and what I need to restock. Plus, it makes putting away groceries easier when I get home.

24. Get A Deep Freezer If You Can

I love having a deep freezer. The extra space makes it so easy for me to stock up on meat and frozen produce when it goes on sale, have tons of room for my homemade freezer meals, and keep all my food more organized since it all doesn’t have to fit in 1 freezer. Plus, frozen food is safe for 1 year in a deep freezer versus 6 months in a standard freezer. You can often find used deep freezers on Craigslist or NextDoor, or get great savings on them at Home Depot or Lowe’s around holiday weekend sales, Black Friday, etc.

25. Make Sure Your Fridge + Freezer Are At The Appropriate Temperature Settings

To give your produce + frozen food the longest shelf life, make sure your fridge and freezer are set to the appropriate temperature. Refer to the manufacturers recommendations. Inside your fridge/freezer is your manufacturer and product name, you can google it to find the manual and optimum settings. I love these fridge/freezer digital Thermometers, which give a very accurate readout of the temperature. Gives me great peace of mind, especially when I have so much money invested in my frozen meat.

26. Don’t Overcrowd Your Fridge/Freezer

If your fridge and freezer is too crowded, it will block the air circulator and it won’t keep your food at a cold enough temperature, and cause it to spoil prematurely. Make sure to never block the air circulator in the back. For your freezer/deep freezer, make sure it never has too much ice buildup that will block the air circulator. If it does, you’ll need to thaw it. Smart to do that at least once a year to keep your fridge and freezer in perfect running condition.

27. Stretch Out Your Ground Meat with Cauliflower Rice

One of my favorite hacks is to stretch out ground meat using cauliflower rice, like in my ground beef taco meat hack. Rather than using 2 pounds of ground beef, I use 1 pound of ground beef and 1 bag of frozen cauliflower rice. The cauliflower rice absorbs all of the flavor of the ground beef as it cooks together, and even resembles it after I season it with my homemade taco seasoning! This doubles the amount of taco meat I have for a fraction of the price. Plus, it sneaks in more veggies which is always a good thing. You can do this in any recipe that calls for ground beef, turkey, chicken or pork!

28. Only Drink Water

Not only are sodas and caffeinated drinks full of sugar and toxins, they cost a lot of money and add to landfill waste. Instead, just drink water. Get a reusable stainless steel bottle so you can bring your water with you everywhere you go. I do this with my kids too. I don’t buy them juices that are expensive and packed with sugar and empty calories. Water is all we need! We invested in this reverse osmosis water filter for our kitchen sink so we have the healthiest drinking water possible. It ties in to our ice maker in our fridge so our ice is made with purified water too!

29. Cut Out Snacks

Healthy snack foods can be expensive. We are almost a zero snacks household. Not because I want to deprive us of food, but because we get filled up at our meals! We have no needs for snacks. Plus, eating tons of vegetables, healthy fats and proteins is WAY more filling than the empty calories in crackers and chips. This is one of my biggest tips for getting my kids to eat healthy. By avoiding my kids having snacks all day long, they’re actually hungry at meal time and will eat their healthy meal. This saves me a ton of money by not having to buy snack food, and avoids food waste because everyone is hungry and finishing the meal I prepared for them. Win win!

30. Go Generic

You’ll save money buying the generic Sprouts, Whole Foods 365 or Kirkland brand at the respective store. I often find I like the generic brand quality more!