Switching to eating organic only, using only all natural skincare/beauty products and living sustainably is definitely one of the best decisions I have made for myself. This decision, however, hasn’t always been devoid of challenges. When I started transitioning to this lifestyle, I was still in college so I wasn’t sure how I would handle the cost on my small student budget.
It’s been about 4 years since my first organic purchase. Since then, I have found discovered new ways that help me save money while living toxic free. Don’t get me wrong, buying organic can be more expensive than eating/shopping conventional. These differences in cost often aren't too significant.
Here are my favorite ways to shop organic and toxic-free products
Farmers Market: Farmers' markets are such great alternatives for eating well on a budget. Living in the Midwest with our extreme cold weathers makes farmers market a little bit more difficult in the winter time (and out winters are looong). However, during the summertime, I take advantage of farmers’ markets. They are very affordable when it comes to food and produce shopping. They also enable me to eat foods that are in season rather than foods that have been unnecessarily preserved.
The affordability puts them on top of my organic shopping 'outlet'. For example, a dozen crate of eggs sells for around $5 in grocery stores, but I get a 2 dozen crate of eggs for the same price. Shopping in farmers' market also enables me to support my small local farmers and keep their business thriving. With farmers’ market, not only are you buying fresh product straight from the farm, you are buying them considerably less. WIN!
Buy Bulk: I love bulk buying. Coming from a large family, we’ve had to shop in bulk and always cook in bulk so as an independent woman, this is a part of me. Buying in bulks saves you time and money! I save so much buying in bulk when I use my aunt’s sam’s club card for buying items sold there. Things like my laundry soap, teas and a couple other packaged items. Sam's club is also affordable when it comes to certain foods such as salmon when I’m unable to get them fresh, shrimp, nuts, and some organic produce. The problem with bulk shopping is that some of the items tend to go unused and wasted. I am currently working on a method that’ll help me buy bulk but still not contribute to the food waste in America.
Shop online: I know you didn’t think I’d skip this one. If there's one thing you must know about me, know that I am an online shopper. If I could shop for my fresh groceries online, I probably would. Going to stores wear me out. I dread it. And so I shop for as much as I can online and it not only saves me time but saves me money. If I need something, I search online first! I have my top three online stores that almost always have the best prices for everything.
There are thousands of online shops so don’t be afraid to explore them and find the ones you can always trust to have the best prices for pretty much everything you need. With online stores, you have options, you can shop anywhere at any time, you can look up and compare prices between different merchants. What's not to love about online stores? Many merchants have a fair customer-friendly refund policy so you're not stuck with items you don't really love.
The Unconventional route: This is a major trick I discovered that has been saving me money for a while now! I go to some clothing stores to look for food items. Unbelievable right? Lately, lots of stores such as Burlington have added small 'food sections' in their stores. The amount and quality of products they carry are unbelievable. Many of these products are NonGMO Verified which is amazing! I particularly love shopping for my coconut water and teas here.
TJMax and Marshalls also have beauty/skincare sections and carry lots of organic/all natural products. These items are so much cheaper in these stores; I'm not sure why but they aren't expired so that's good. Some items I have found in these stores include some of my favorite teas, some seeds, and oils. I kid you not! I also buy body scrubs and body washes from these stores when I want something fancier. Check out these stores if you have them around you. Also, check out other department stores and you might be shocked what they carry and how they can save you money.
Co-Ops: Oh co-ops, how I love thee! Co-ops are cooperative shops. This means that they are shopping outlets where the decisions about the production and distribution of the items sold in those stores are made by the members of the co-ops. Basically, it is consumer owned! Co-ops have a good selection of organic, natural items for you to choose from and they're often very affordable. I don’t belong to any coop yet but I enjoy shopping at the ones in my city. They’re so much more affordable and their selections are great. Most times, items are on sale which makes them even more affordable.
Shop items on sale: I have never really been someone interested in sales items. However, as I grow older and looking to save money, I know that I want to save as much as I possibly can. When I go to grocery stores now, I look out for the sale items. I want the BOGOs, the price cuts, the in-store coupons, for them. Every penny saved counts, trust me! I used to think "oh, it's just 30 cents off" but now I realize that saving 30 cents here and there adds up quickly. Don't sleep on those savings!
I hope you find these tips helpful. As I discover more, I will share. If you have other shopping tips and tricks to save money, don't hesitate to share!