Friday, March 12, 2010

Saving Green While Going Green

I’ve heard it before: “I can’t find coupons for the stuff I buy” or “Eating organically is so expensive.” Both of these statements aren’t entirely accurate. Yes, purchasing organic/green/eco friendly items typically costs more than their conventional counterparts, but you can find deals out there; you just need to know where to look.

Here are some things I do in my quest for finding deals on organic items. Some may work & some may not depending on your location. However, all are worth trying & you may be surprised at the deals you find once you start searching.
  1. Shop at multiple stores. Yes, it’s a bit of a hassle, but finding everything you need at one store’s organic section & getting the best deal on those items is going to be virtually impossible.
  2. Make sure you keep your eyes open for peelies, blinkies, & in store flyers or magazines in the organic/natural food section. At Fred Meyer (my Kroger affiliate) they put out a magazine called “Naturally Preferred” that has great coupons for organic products. Pick up one (or four!) at each store you shop at & build up your coupon stash that way.
  3. Check the website of every manufacturer that you like or want to try. Seventh Generation, Organic Valley, Stonyfield Farms, & many more have coupons you can download. Also sign up for any newsletters they offer which often include coupons as well.
  4. Look for coupons from brands that sell organic & non organic items. Unless the coupon specifically excludes organic, use it on the organic version.
  5. Shop Costco. Costco is always adding to their inventory of organic & natural items. Just a few days ago I saw organic ground beef, chicken, apples, carrots, baby greens, & more there. I love the Ecos laundry detergent & buy the huge jug at Costco for a little less than $14 & that lasts me about 8 or 9 months!
  6. Shop Trader Joe’s. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you….I’m sorry. I love that store. Most of their items are their own brand, but if they carry a brand name product, they will accept a coupon for it. Additionally, their prices are great for both the name brands & their own products.
  7. Shop online. I know, it seems weird ordering food, toiletries, cleaning supplies, etc. online, but you can save big this way. Amazon,, & all have amazing selections of organic or green products & often have great deals. When they do, stock up! Recently I bought enough organic tampons & pads to last me well over a year & only spent around $50 doing so. That may seem like a lot of money for tampons, but break it down per box & I paid less than conventional ones at my local store.
  8. Shop locally. Not only will you get fresher products, you’re reducing your carbon footprint by buying items that don’t need to be transported as far, & supporting your local economy. Shop farmer’s markets during nice weather. Buy directly from a farmer & buy in bulk. A quarter of a cow will cost more up front, but will likely save you in the long run. Consider joining a CSA (community supported agriculture) & get fresh produce right from the farm. Some CSA’s will let you pick your items; others just send you a selection of what’s ripe at the time. Consider it a challenge to try new fruits & vegetables. Not sure what to do with that kale that was in your delivery? Find a recipe online & experiment. But you will get your produce cheaper this way & it will be farm fresh!
  9. Grow your own. Start an organic garden & know exactly what you’re eating.

The reality is that if you are purchasing organic or green items, the prices will likely be higher. You can maximize your budget by implementing some or all of the methods described above. If you’re just starting out, go organic in phases; for example, switch to organic produce first, then add in dairy, then meats, etc. It’s an easier adjustment that way.

I won’t tell you that you can slash your budget by 75% & still buy exclusively organic. However, being a savvy consumer can save you money on these items. At the end of the day, that’s all anyone can hope for.


  1. I have a question, but it is not regarding this post. What is proper coupon etiquette in regards to peelies? Is it okay to take the peelie off of an item, even if you will not buy that item?


  2. My guess is there are 2 opinions you would hear on this subject. Some would say it's ok to take the peelie since it was put out by the company with the knowledge that it might get taken off & used on another product (esp. if it states "on any product").

    Others would argue that the peelie is put on THAT product & should be used for THAT item only & on THAT day (as opposed to another transaction at a later time). The logic is that some people go & take all the peelies & leave none for the people that are buying the item.

    I think this is just one of those issues where everyone will have a different opinion. My advice is to go with what your gut tells you is the correct thing to do.


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