3 Tips for Buying Organic Foods on a Budget

You may have heard the joke that Whole Foods should be called Whole Paycheck, but unfortunately, if you shop there, it can sometimes feel that way!

If you're looking to buy organic foods while sticking to your budget, there are strategies you can use to rein in costs.

1. Look at alternative sources. There are many programs that let you order organic foods at reasonable prices. Bountiful Baskets is available in 19 states (mostly western ones). Pay just $25 and get $60 worth of organic produce! Or, try Azure Standard, which reaches into the Midwest. The prices aren't quite as good as Bountiful Baskets, but there are still deals on organic produce bought in bulk. Another option is to try your local grocery store. (Sometimes you can even find organic produce for the same price or cheaper than conventional.) Even discount grocer Aldi is getting in on the action by offering organics.

2. Consider a CSA. CSA stands for "community supported agriculture". Participants pay in full for the season in the spring when they sign up and then get their produce straight from the organic farmer for 16 to 22 weeks running from June to October. CSAs vary in size from 1/2 a bushel to more than a bushel a week, and prices range from a few hundred dollars to a thousand dollars. Members get fresh produce at prices much cheaper than a store like Whole Foods. Find a CSA near you at Local Harvest.

3. Grow your own garden. Growing your own garden is a lot of work, but there's no better way to know exactly where your food comes from. Plus, it's the cheapest option for getting organic food. Grow a garden as big as your property and time will allow and freeze or can the extra for winter months.

Organic foods are said to be healthier, but many people resist buying them because they can't afford to pay extra. Using some of these strategies, buying organic produce is much more affordable.

Melissa, a mom to three little ones (ages 7, 3 and 1) blogs at Mom's Plans where she writes about living a fulfilling life on less and focuses on cutting expenses, budgeting, paying down debt, saving money and once a month cooking.