Here’s how I break down my shopping with one eye on our health (since it saves money over time) and one on our bottom line.
Dairy: we buy all organic. If you can’t find organic, find a hormone free milk (it will say it on the label). If you can find a local producer, even better! We buy yogurt for example by the case from a farm that is about 20 mins. away. We get to that area at least once a month, so it’s not out of the way. They also sell organic maple syrup that they use to flavor their maple yogurt for a significant savings.
Meat/poultry/fish: I buy these items in bulk. We participate in a buying club for wild Alaskan salmon which is a huge savings. Their beef is organic, and grass fed since the nutrients and vitamin content is higher. For poultry I purchase family packs at Whole Foods, or from a local farmer.
If you can invest in a small freezer you will save a lot of $, but you can easily use your fridge’s freezer by splitting a bulk purchase among family and friends.
Learn more: 10 Steps To Go Organic On A Budget
Eggs: I buy pastured eggs, again higher nutrient content. I found a local farmer that sells a dozen for $2.79 where most grocery stores sell organic or free-range (which isn’t always free-range!) for $4+/dozen!!
Veggies and fruit: Thin skin, grown underground, or high water content=buying organic. (examples: lettuce and celery have high water content; potatoes and carrots are grown underground; peaches, plums, strawberries have thin skins) Corn I will only buy organic since conventional corn is genetically modified.
Beans/Lentils/Nuts: I usually go conventional with beans and lentils, but organic and raw with nuts.
I don’t buy snack foods or packaged foods that are conventional since they often contain things like food dye, corn syrup, hydrogenated oil, or soy in any form. (we avoid soy) It is just easier and WAY cheaper to buy things as ingredients. We don’t buy much by way of snacks or convenience foods.