How to save money on organic food
Coupons for organic food are like natural pearls: hard to find. One may wonder why bother to look for them anyway since the effort is much greater then the prize. Beyond the hunting game for such thing, and far from mundane satisfaction of discovering it, there is another reason: using coupons for organic food may show the producers that the consumers are willing to buy more if they could save more.
With this idea in mind I diligently started my search for organic food coupons. At first I thought it would be a complete waste of time but after few hours I got few bucks worth of dairy products, I got some new ideas, and I learned a lot.
Most of all I discovered that it is not impossible to save on organic and natural food.
I won't bother you with details or reasons on why I choose organic and I won't insult your intelligence by preaching you a healthier lifestyle, but I will tell you what I learned with the hope that one may benefit from my experience.
I started by doing a Google search for organic milk coupons because I was buying organic milk and over time I felt that I could use some savings. Then I searched for other other organic foods like fresh produce and canned and boxed organic goods. The results I got were very chaotic: coupons sites, manufacturers websites, organic foods Internet grocers and other related articles and databases.
After spending hours reading through these information I manage to classify them into three main categories: coupons sites, manufacturers websites and others.
This is the coupon I printed Bob Evans refrigerated sides.
Organic food coupons from coupon sites
This site has an organic section where you can go and browse through various offers from organic multivitamins to organic dog food. They do not have a coupon to print. Instead, you will be redirected to another site, usually the vendor's site, where you will be given or will be promise a coupon. Some of these sites do not have a coupon but they advertise a "cash back" of various percentages.
When you enter this site you are asked to register with your email address. On the next step you will be asked to install a search bar, step that you can skip if necessary. Then you can do a search of your choice.
All OK so far.
The real problem is when you get in details. Even if you did an organic food search inside the site, the result is not 100 percent organic. Some offers are not organic at all while others just natural, or producers are using other words and advertise their products under organic category.
A coupon for organic food at Seeds of Change
This is $1.00 of any one Seeds of Change products. The offers specifies that this is an organic product. When I went to the company's website, I immediately saw the "certified organic" mark.
So far, so good.
The problem started when I tried to find out where can I buy these products. Not only the site did not have a store locator search, they did not have a cart option either.
I ended up doing a independent Internet search for that particular products and only then I found out what store carries this brand.
Among all the coupon websites, coupons.com is the best. It is very simple to navigate, easy to print and have an option to clip so you can print more than one on a single page (which means paper saving).
On the left side, the site has a menu bar where you can narrow down by category.
The only problem here is that you cannot do a search to get only the coupons for organic food. You need to know which products are organic and also if they are available in your area.
One coupon that I printed was $1.00 off any 2 Muir Glen products that I knew already. But scrolling down the offers proved to be fun and I also got to write down some of the foods I use frequently, in hope to find their organic version in my grocery stores.
Other coupon sites the are worth trying are:
Smartsources.com - select by zip code, category and brand but no organic option. Mambosprouts.com - a more complicated website with a coupon section - no organic option for a search.
The conclusion is that if you have 10 minutes a day to look up these sites you may get lucky and find one or two coupons for organic groceries.
Organic vs. Natural
Organic foods are produced and processed without the use of "synthetic pesticides, bioengineering genes, petroleum-based fertilizers"; organic livestock "must have access to the outdoors and be given no antibiotics or growth hormones"; organic products "may not be irradiated".
Natural foods refers to products "that are minimally processed and free of synthetic preservatives; artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors and other artificial additives; growth hormones; antibiotics; hydrogenated oils; stabilizers; and emulsifiers".
(Source: Food Marketing Institute)
$7.50 in organic food coupons
Organic food coupons from manufacturer's website
Searching for coupons on the manufacturer's site proved to be the most efficient but I had to do my home-works before hand.
I simply started by writing down some organic brands found in the grocery stores where I shop the most. I found out that I was more interested in milk, yogurt, eggs, vegetables and fruits.
With my list I then went online and found their websites. There I looked for any kind of savings, but mostly for coupons. I found lots of them for dairy products and eggs, few for cereals but none for fresh produce, like veggies or fruits.
Here are just few examples:
Simply Organic has lots of in-store coupons for their products. They also offer a search by zip code where you can find grocers that have the brand.
Horizon is a well know company that produces organic milk ad other dairy products. On their website you can find coupons for all their products. Before you can print any, you are required o create account and take a short survey.
Organic Valley is another source of organic dairy products. They also have lots of coupons and you do not need a registration.
Stonyfield proved to be a little different. They have a variety of organic diary products and lots of coupons. They also have a rewards program that require registration.
Cascadin Farm has cereals and frozen vegetables and fruits. They do advertise coupons on their site but they promise you'll get one if you register online. I got mine in few minutes - $1.00 off any product.
Tribe Origins makes all natural and organic hummus. Go to tribehummus.com for a coupon.
My conclusion is that if I use a coupon for organic milk every time I go shopping I can save at least fifty dollars per years.
Other ways to save on organic food
Maybe the most obvious way to save money on organic food is to grow and produce your own. But is not possible all the time. For those of us who do not have this option because we lack the land or the time to farm or garden there are local markets.
Some markets are open year round while others only in the summer. Not all the products are organic but at least are fresher and no more expensive then the same ones at your grocery store.
Farmers Market Coalition site has a list of association by state. This is a useful resource in finding locations and hours for markets in your area.
Local Harvest is a community of farmers that produce organic and natural foods. On their website they also sell bulk fruits, vegetables, meats and other items. They are not cheap but when you buy them in bulk then you get free shipping. They even sell e-Gift Cards.
Buying Clubs work like a newspaper subscription. You find a local farm, pay a monthly subscription and choose the products you need. Most farmers are growing organic products that are mainly available in the summer time. The subscription ranges from couple of hundreds dollars to almost one thousand. I imagine it would work great for large family or businesses.
A list of local buying clubs is available through Organic Consumer Association. Also, their site is packed with useful information about organic food.
Most stores that sell food have a section of organic products. That is true for retailers like Sam's Club or Costco. A quick look at their website shows that some foods, including dairy, meats, boxed and canned or a limited list of vegetables, are available in organic version. The advantage is obvious. These stores sell their items in bulk, at a discounted price. In the end is like using a coupon for one item.
A farmers market in St. Paul, Minnesota
Being healthy is priceless
My conclusion is that eating organic food is not a budget breaker if you plan for it and reserve some time to search and print organic food coupons. I started with milk, then I moved up to yogurt and eggs. Then I bought the most used vegetable in my house. My plan is that every time I go grocery shopping I will buy, at least, one organic product that's used in my kitchen and for which I have a coupon. And this is my resolution.All the information on this article have been verified by me. However, things change over time. I will update this hub when necessary. Also, if you have any other tips and want to share, feel free to do so using the comment option, or email me.
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