It’s the New Year, which means most people want to do two things- Save Money and Eat Healthier. One thing always seems to get in the way of these well-intentioned resolutions- TIME. This year, commit to sticking to your resolution to save on healthy foods, with these tips on how to coupon and save on healthy foods when you have no time.
How To Coupon & Save on Healthy and Organic Foods When You Have No Time
Take 10 minutes:
While you may not have time to clip coupons throughout the week, take 10 minutes before you head out to the store and print coupons. The organic coupon roundup (find the updated post here) has over 80 organic coupons that are listed by category (and yes, there are coupons for organic produce and meats!), so it only takes a few minutes to browse through and print. Contrary to popular belief, there are actually many organic coupons available. Write out your shopping list and compare it to the roundup, and print coupons for the items you plan to buy. You can also view all of the current sales at Target, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Kroger along with coupons with direct printable links that matchup up with the sale items here.
Take 10 more minutes:
Your receipts are worth $$$. If you can spare 10 minutes or less after your grocery trip, you can upload your receipt to popular apps like ibotta, Checkout 51, and Berry Cart and get reimbursed a certain amount for qualifying purchases. These apps always have organic products included, and often times will offer organic produce coupons.
Sign up for digital coupons:
Most stores, including Kroger, Meijer and Target, offer digital coupons via their store app. When I’m strapped for time, I pull out my phone while I’m waiting in line and during checkout and digitally clip the coupons. They’ll then be deducted once I show my loyalty card/enter phone number or show the app. Super easy, and no extra time needed! Local, non-chain stores generally have some sort of reward program or app as well, so be sure to ask. My local health food store offers a $10 off $100 and $5 off $50 coupon each month on their app that can be stacked with manufacturer coupons. Also, another local health store mails out 15% off coupons that my local Whole Foods accepts, so always check with the store manager to see if they accept competitor coupons.
Do a Quick Comparison:
Products that are unpackaged are cheaper than packaged, right? Not necessarily. First, it depends on what’s currently on sale. Also, you can often save by weight. But there’s no hard and fast rule. For example, the other day at the grocery store I grabbed some unpackaged carrots assuming they’d be cheaper than the bagged carrots. I checked the price on both, and the bagged carrots were actually much cheaper, and they weren’t even on sale. Always check all of your options for the product you’re going to buy. Most price tags will show you the weight by unit, so use this figure for a quick comparison. You can also check out my store comparisons here.
Haggle a little:
Scour the organic meat section and look for meats expiring within the next day or two. At least once a week I come home with a minimum of 3-5 packages of organic meats marked down by up to 60% off! How?? I take the packages of meat that are expiring soon (anything from bison, to beef, chicken to pork) to the meat counter and ask for a discount. I’ve never been turned down. Generally, they are happy to mark it down for you, as many stores throw the meat away once it expires. In fact, this works in any department of the grocery store. I’ve gotten discounts on soon to expire organic produce, organic, whole grain bread, and more just by checking the dates and asking.
Check the Manager Markdown Section:
In addition to checking the dates yourself, often times the store will automatically mark down products that are expiring soon (items are often overlooked, so follow the tip above as well). Depending on the store, you can find items tagged as a mark down throughout the store or in a designated section. This is great for organic dairy products, eggs, meat, produce and packaged foods. Because organic products aren’t as popular as conventional products, these often get marked down more frequently (which is great for us healthy eaters!).
Get the Inside Scoop on the Store’s Schedule:
For example, my local Kroger marks down soon to expire foods at 9am, 12pm and 3pm, with 3pm being the greatest percentage off. Just ask an employee how their markdowns work.
Search for Closeouts:
Items that will no longer be carried by the store are taking up precious shelf space. Stores need to make room for newer, more popular products, so they’ll often times discount an item that isn’t selling well (which often happens to be organic products). Stocking up on these items is a great way to save.
Produce that’s not in season can carry a pretty hefty price tag, but frozen produce, no matter the time of year, generally stays the same in price.
Stick to Your List:
Other than veering from your list for amazing markdowns, briefly meal plan for the week and make a shopping list that only includes those items.
Plan Around Sales:
Check the store matchups weekly and plan your meals around what’s on sale. And if you find a great deal in store on a roast, but you had chicken on the list, just change your meal plan.
Shop at Home:
Shopping on Thrive Market, the online organic grocer, may also be worthwhile. I’ve priced out products available on their site and they come in quite a bit lower than buying in store. A yearly membership is $59, but if you go here you can score 15% off your first purchase and get the first month free. And if you haven’t joined Amazon Prime yet, I highly recommend it. It’s $99 a year, but you can grab a free 30 day trial here. You’ll get free 2-day shipping unlimited, plus the Amazon Family program (free with a Prime membership) will give you 20% off diapers, including Seventh Generation, Earth’s Best and others. Utilize their Subscribe and Save and save 5% off any order or 15% when you order 5 or more products, including tons of organic grocery items.
If you’re buying grains, spices and herbs, you can save big by buying from the bulk bin! In my price comparisons, you can save up to 75% by buying bulk over packaged. Stores like Whole Foods and local health food stores have a nice selection of organic, bulk foods.
Shop at the Discount Stores:
Surprisingly, discount stores like Big Lots and Aldi carry a pretty large selection of organic products. Big Lots often offers organic packaged products from soup to tomatoes, cereal to snacks (find the latest deals here). Aldi has over 35 organic products (full price list here), including grass-fed organic beef, organic produce and more at some of the lowest prices seen.
Consider a membership:
In my price comparisons of large grocers, the store that has some of the lowest priced natural and organic foods is Costco. The price for a yearly membership is $55, but you’ll easily recoup that with the savings you’ll find on items like organic milk, organic meats, organic produce and tons of organic packaged products. In fact, Costco often came in lower on packaged grains vs. buying in bulk! You can skip a membership to Sam’s, as their organic food offerings are pretty limited.
Grab a pizza:
Sometimes it’s necessary to grab fast food, but fast food is never healthy. Skip McDonald’s and pick up a frozen pizza to have on hand for an unexpected busy night. There are so many options from organic, to dairy free and the pizza will cost you less than a trip through the drive through.
Don’t be too Choosy:
If you have tomatoes on your list, for example, do a quick price check to find the cheapest price per pound as they can vary greatly! I was picking up tomatoes and went for the vine tomatoes but grabbed Roma instead as they were $1.41 less per lb.
Skip the Name Brand:
If you don’t have a coupon or there’s not a sale, grab the store brand item. Many stores, like Whole Food’s 365, Kroger’s Simple Truth, Target’s Simply Balanced, Aldi’s SimplyNature, offer store natural and organic brands that are cheaper than name brands.
Send an email:
Many natural and organic brands will send FREE samples, coupons and full size products, just by sending a quick email requesting them. In fact, here’s a list of 80 natural and organic companies that have sent free samples and coupons by request. While it may be a bit time consuming to email all 80, pick a few of your favorites and click the link. It will take you directly to their contact page, so just send a quick message and wait for the free goodies to come in the mail.
Buy from a local farmer:
You can often find local farmers that sell grass-fed beef at a discounted price when you buy 1/4 cow or more. Then, you have meat for 6 months or so without having to make extra trips to the store, which is a huge time saver. Check out Local Harvest’s site for farmer’s near you.
**Did you know?? All Natural Savings exists so that you can save money on healthy, natural and organic foods, without having to spend a lot of time on it. This site does all the legwork for you by finding the best organic coupons and then matching them up with current sales at popular stores. Just follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our free e-newsletter here to stay in the loop!
A special thanks to All Natural Savings’ readers that helped with this post by providing some tips!
What are YOUR favorite tips for saving on healthy and organic foods?