Nourishing our bodies with wholesome and uncontaminated food is something we all aspire to do, but it really can take a toll on our wallets. LA’s super boutique market scene has some of the best organic juices, smoothies and meats, but they come at a cost! That is, until now. These organic shopping hacks with not only teach you how to buy organic food in LA and not spend tons of money, but how to budget better and get to know your community!
Create a Budget
Grass-fed beef and sockeye salmon from Alaska can really add up. So while the dreaded ‘B’ word might make you look down at your overpriced Ayurvedic smoothie and cry, this step is key! Without it, you will struggle saving any money while trying to eat more organic foods. If you haven’t already, create a spreadsheet that allows you to examine your expenses each month. Take a look at your current grocery spending. Look a little high? According to the USDA, the average individual spends between $258 to $302 a month on food! If you can beat this number on overpriced organic food, you’re #winning.
Get to Know Your Supermarkets
A lot of the time, we find a wide variety of organic produce at trendy and glorified markets like Whole Foods, Lassens or Erewhon. But recently, major supermarkets like Ralph’s has started carrying organic produce. Source each location for the cheapest deal. Whole Foods may be the only place with organic tomatoes while Trader Joe’s has the cheapest organic bananas. Get to know each grocery aisle in your neighborhood!
If you’re a Costco member, you may have noticed that they have a great organic selection at discounted prices since you’re buying in semi-bulk quantities and paying their annual membership fee that starts at $55/year. The only thing I would watch out for is buying too much, and not being able to eat the food before it goes bad!
Check Out Cool Websites
Once again, the Internet saves lives. When sourcing organic products, check out websites like Thrive Market or Vitacost for 25-50% off organic and natural dry goods. They ship super fast and products can be cheaper online than they are in stores.
Amazon Fresh is another alternative. Amazon Prime members can add this on to their yearly membership for $200/year (or $3.85/week is how they’re spinning it). And if you’re not a member, you can get both Amazon Prime and Fresh for $299/year. You’ll receive free delivery on grocery orders over $50 and access to fresh fruits and vegetables and everyday essentials at great prices.
Be A Vegan Until Dinnertime
For all of you Paleos out there, this one might be tough. But if you’re open and flexible with your dieting style, the benefits are very rewarding. Meats and fish are probably the most expensive items on your grocery list, so sticking to fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, wheat and corn during the daytime will help reduce your overall grocery costs. As long as you have a source of protein for breakfast and lunch, you’re set. Vegan substitutes for protein include green peas, quinoa, nuts, beans, and tofu. Not only will you see your bill and waistline slim down, but you can think of your dinner as a lovely treat you can look forward to every night!
Plan Your Farmers Market Schedule
Do you work during the local farmers market or are not a big fan of your neighborhood’s selection? Not a problem! There are 100 farmers markets held per week in the Greater Los Angeles area all on different days. Simply find one that has your favorite local produce or which works with your schedule. (Buzzkill: Just remember to make sure the produce is really organic as there has been a history of fake organic sellers.)
Buying Organic Meat in Bulk
Buying in bulk is often less expensive than buying smaller portions weekly. If you have any friends or family who want to purchase some meat in bulk, have them chip in and split the produce. Think of this like a money club, except with expensive meat. You can find sustainably raised and hormone-free meats locally at McCall’s Meat Fish Company, Marconda’s Meats or online. Just make sure to keep the meat you are not using in the freezer!
Coupon Clipping and Newsletters
Feeling nostalgic for some good ol’ fashioned coupon clipping? This one is a little time consuming, but totally worth it! Sprouts and Ralph’s often have newsletters that let you know which organic produce is discounted that week. And once again, your Internet Buddy is always there! Check out organicdeals.com for coupons on organic food and natural products at your local stores.
Try Something New
Your favorite fruits may be full price this week, but suddenly sunchokes are on sale! ‘What’s the hell is a sunchoke?’ You find yourself thinking. Give it a try! Instead of buying expensive produce, you can save money on new and seasonal items you never would have tried before. And worse comes to worst, at least you got your daily dose of fiber.
Know the “Must Buys” When it Comes to Organic
Some people require an all organic diet, whether it’s for health reasons or ethical ones. However, if your budget is tight, know which organic items are the most important to splurge on. Personally, I believe that buying all free-range and organic meats, poultry, and eggs are the number 1 priority. Luckily, produce has a bit of leeway. For example, avocados and bananas don’t have to be organic since they have a thicker peel and aren’t as susceptible to pesticides. Just make sure the following produce is organic:
- Bell Pepper
- Snap Peas
- Hot Peppers
- Collard Greens
So grab your recycled-chic tote bag and get to shopping! Have fun trying new products and meeting new people as you save massive dollars. As long as you keep these tips on how to buy organic food in LA and not spend tons of money, be prepared for a sudden spike in your savings.
About the Author
Sebrin Elms is a newlywed, travel fanatic, book lover, champagne connoisseur and kitty mama. When she’s not globe-trotting or wearing flower crowns, she’s probably writing on her blog, The Clumsy Traveler.