You CAN Save Money on Whole Foods! {31 Days of Real Food Reality ~ Day 25}

Let’s eat right and save money too!

When we were first changing over from processed foods and white flour/white sugar products, I was so discouraged at first when I saw the costs of healthier foods. I used to have so much fun shopping with coupons and finding good deals at the store. Now, it seemed, I would need to throw all my coupons away and maybe stop wearing shoes or paying the heat bill so that we could afford groceries. Healthy food seemed to cost twice or three times as much as I was used to paying!

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A few tears and several months of research later, I found that while yes, some foods were just going to cost us more money (since they contained real food ingredients instead of cheap high fructose corn syrup and the like) – there were many ways to keep our food budget reasonable. God knew my desires and blessed us with resources. He always provides – no matter where you live and what your circumstances.

My coupon clipping hobby has been replaced by a new healthier, money saving hobby:  Figuring out recipes for healthy meals and snacks that can be made at low cost. Seeking local sources of food that are reasonably priced, nourishing, and support our hard working neighbors and farmers. Finding deals online that are delivered right to my door – saving me gas money, time, effort, and energy.  I also had to recognize that the extra I am spending in food is money I’m often saving on health care costs – even if I don’t see the difference right away.

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Want to learn to make real food meals and snacks that are low in cost? My website is full of them. Want to find local sources of food that fit your budget? Keep your ears open, ask questions of those around you, and check out LocalHarvest.org to see what is available in your area. Want to find some online deals so healthy foods can be delivered to your door? I’ll continue to share them in blog posts as I find them (often!).

What’s fun is that online stores offer sales and sometimes even coupons too! Free shipping is my friend, so I’ve learned ways to make this happen for online grocery purchases. You really can’t beat the ease of having healthy food delivered (for free!) to your door.

Here are some great online resources and deals to check out:

Amazon Groceries

Did you know you can buy all kinds of groceries at Amazon? I am always amazed at the sales Amazon offers. If you have Amazon Prime, shipping is free on most products. If you choose five subscribe and save items in one month’s time, you get an additional 20% off those items. AND, Amazon offers many grocery coupons you can clip to add to the wonderful discounts you’re already getting. I have so much fun shopping Amazon groceries! (Some Amazon grocery coupons are for not-so-healthy foods, so if you see those, run far, far away.)

In addition, I use Swagbucks, which I redeem for Amazon gift cards. This means I can take advantage of all the great deals I find at Amazon, plus use a gift card to get the food for free or partially free! Learn more about Swagbucks here.

Price-Matching

I live in a small town, so my grocery options are not very competitive. But I have a Walmart in town that price-matches all the grocery stores an hour away from me in big cities! Taking the time to Price-Match has saved us thousands! I price match the good deals on fruits and vegetables each week and we load up.

Read more about price-matching here. I’ve found Pricematerz.com to be a fantastic resource to make the list-making easier.

What is Price-Matching and How Does it Work

Vitacost

Vitacost runs great sales, so I’ve learned to check their site frequently and stock up depending on the sale prices. If you’re a brand new customer with Vitacost, if you sign up through this referral link, you’ll receive an automatic $10 of credit to spend on your first $30 order.  If you buy at least $25 worth of Vitacost brand products, you’ll receive free shipping. Or, if you don’t want any Vitacost brand items, you’ll receive free shipping once you hit $49.

Here’s a sample of how to get the most out of your Vitacost free credit:

  1. Sign up through this referral link to receive a $10 coupon code through your email.
  2. Choose $30 worth of Vitacost brand items, such as…
    Organic Slivered Almonds  $4.75
    Organic Cacao Powder  $12.89
    Organic Thompson Raisins  $3.99
    Organic Dried Apricots  $5.49
    Organic Shredded Coconut  $2.49
    Organic Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds $6.19  (such a delicious treat!)
  3. This totals $35.80 of Vitacost Brand Products. Use your referral code to receive $10 off your order. Because you still have $25 worth of Vitacost products in your cart, shipping will be free for all of those great groceries!

Once you are a customer with Vitacost, you can then refer your friends through your blog, email, facebook or twitter, and receive $10 of credit for each new customer who makes a purchase through your link! This is a wonderful way to earn some extra healthy grocery cash!

Vitacost also carries many gluten free items.

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iHerb

Have you ever shopped at iHerb? If so, you know how many great products they carry. If you’re a brand new customer, that means you get $10 off your first order of $40!

Here’s a sample $40 order that you can get for just $30 (with free shipping!):

Grand total for this cart full of real food is $40.15.  If you are a new customer, you can use my referral code: BID487 to receive $10 off your $40+ order. That means you get all that food I mentioned – or whatever you choose to put into your cart, for just a little over $30! Shipping is free on any order over $20.

Doesn’t that list look like fun? Think of all you can make! iHerb also carries a lot of gluten free products.

Tropical Traditions

The quality of Tropical Traditions food (and health and beauty) products is incredible. They offer free shipping every few weeks. This, coupled with their buy-one-get-one-free deals is wonderful. I just posted about a great coconut oil deal with free shipping. Did you take advantage of that yet?

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Don’t be discouraged as you learn new ways of purchasing food. Instead, look at it as an adventure! Have fun finding new sources for real food products. I’ll do my best to continue to make it easy for you!

This post contains affiliate links.

Want to learn all the best ways to save money?

You’ll definitely want to be a part of our Homemaker’s Savings Club! Not only do we start out by giving you a free cookbook full of our favorite low cost, real food recipes – we keep you updated with the best homemaking freebies and sale prices each week. People have saved big bucks being a part of this, not to mention time since we do all the hard work for you weeding out the so-so deals and finding all the best to tell you about!!

Should I Eat Organic Food? (part four)

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Be sure to read Part One and Part Two and Part Three of this mini-series if you missed them!

If you’re new to healthy eating, I’d probably recommend that you SKIP this post! :)  It can be a bit overwhelming to think of making all these changes. Instead, I encourage you to follow this link, then scroll down to the very beginning of this section of posts where you will find very basic tips on starting to eat a healthier diet!

Today, I’d like to share the foods I feel should be a higher focus for organic purchasing and eating. Please be reminded of my Organic Food Disclaimer and how I don’t think non-organic farmers are evil and all that stuff.

First let me share the list of Produce I try to purchase organically if possible. According to Organic.org, the produce which contains the HIGHEST amounts of pesticides are:  Peaches , Apples, Sweet Bell Peppers, Celery, Nectarines, Strawberries, Cherries, Pears, Grapes (imported), Spinach, Lettuce and Potatoes. Fruit Wash does help remove some pesticides, but it is my understanding that the pesticides are not only on the skin of the fruit or vegetable, but also inside the fruit or vegetable, especially in the above listed foods.

Other fruits and vegetables I do purchase organically if possible, but if I don’t have a ready source, I don’t sweat it. I almost never buy organic bananas, avocados, watermelon, oranges or pineapple because their skins are so thick and they are quite low on the pesticide list!

Beyond produce, I highly recommend that you look into organic Milk and Meat and Eggs from sources you trust. Our family prefers to drink raw milk from cows that are pasture fed. We also prefer our meat and eggs to come from animals that are allowed to roam freely on pasture.

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Why? Well, most conventionally raised cows are fed a less than stellar diet of GMO grains, when really, their stomachs were designed to eat grass.   In addition, they are usually raised in crowded feedlots and given several rounds of antibiotics to help them survive those crowded feedlots. They are often also given steroids to make their meat more tender. Those antibiotics and steroids become a part of the milk or meat, which means that if we eat (or drink) from these sources, we are ingesting them too. (Here is an article with great information about why Grass Fed is best.)

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Conventionally raised chickens are usually cooped up in tight quarters and never allowed to free roam and peck around and do all the normal things God created chickens to do (including but not limited to attacking their egg gatherer – ah, what a memory).  Chickens are also often given antibiotics to protect from infection due to their living conditions.  (source)

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Last but not least, let’s talk about Grains. If at all possible, I encourage you to find organic or “chemical free” grains. Conventionally grown grains are almost always genetically modified (GMO), making them a completely different food than their original little selves. Legumes fall into this same category. Of all the organic food I place as a priority, Grains are the highest. Organic grains are not GMO, making them much safer to eat. I found this page on Seeds of Deception to be very helpful in talking about which foods are usually GMO and best to avoid.

It’s important for me to note that not all organic farmers have an organic certification. The farms around here where I purchase my milk, beef, chickens and eggs are actually NOT “certified organic”. It costs quite a bit of money to acquire and maintain an organic certification, so some farmers choose not to go that route. However, after visiting with these farmers I purchase from, I know that all of them are truly organic, just without the label. It saves them money and it saves me money for them to not have the “organic label”. Does this make sense? (Local Harvest is a great resource for finding locally raised, healthy animals.)

This wraps up my Should I Eat Organic Food? series. I’ll now be moving on to share more about my pantry and freezers, compiling big lists of all my favorite foods to buy. Plus, I plan to share more about how I buy food in bulk, store my bulk food and afford bulk food.

Are there some other questions you have regarding organic food that I forgot to talk about? Did you ever read about my very scary  free range rooster encounter? I’m still not over it.