Healthy Eating Isn’t Expensive :: 5 Shopping Tips and Secrets + Coupons

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by Yoli Ouiya on July 9, 2012

One of the biggest obstacles people tell me they have when making a transition to a cleaner and healthier diet is food expenses. I hear everything from it is too expensive, it isn’t accessible, or I can get it cheaper non-organic. I am here to dispel that myth and share some of my shopping tips, secrets, and after all that, share some coupons!

1. Find Your Local Co-op or CSA
Many cities and towns already have a food co-op or csa (or they are developing one). A food co-op (food cooperative) is like a grocery store but it is owned by the members who shop there. Members invest a small monetary fee in their coop, some work as volunteers, and everyone receives a discount on their purchases. I belong to a coop here in New York that doesn’t require a membership to shop there. The best part of co-ops is their bulk section. You can buy only as much as you need from 1 tsp to 5+ lbs of any given item. And you save tons of money! Buying in bulk is always more cost effective, as the price points are cheaper because your not paying for packaging.

A CSA (Community-supported agriculture) is a group of individuals and families who band together to support and receive weekly produce and foods from local farmers. A great resource to support you in finding a local co-op or CSA is http://www.localharvest.org/. This site lists many of the family farms, co-ops, csa, and farmers’ markets (which I’ll talk about next).

2. Don’t Be Afraid of the Farmers’ Market

Not sure what is in season? Then your local farmers’ market is the best place to figure it out. You will learn what is locally grown and in season wherever you live. The advantage of shopping at a market is you get to ask farmers questions about their produce such as is it uncertified organic or grown with pesticides, if so how many. Uncertified organic means the farmer grew the produce without pesticides but did not certify through the process of USDA organic certification. It is a very costly expense for some small farmers and they opt to rely on educating consumers about their growing practices.

And a little know fact…Farmers’ Markets now accept EBT, SNAP, and WIC. So if you are currently receiving assistance, you can get great, fresh veggies and fruits. The US Department of Agriculture now has a list of all farmers markets in the United States at http://search.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets/.

Starting in mid-August, I will organize farmers’ market trips in NY to educate how to look for the best produce, what questions to ask, and expose you to hidden gems.

3. Shop Around
When buying non-produce options, look at the various options you have. In New York, I have access to smaller health food stores, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Duane Reade, and numerous options. I even went to Jack 99 cent store to their more than $1.00 food section on the top floor, and found Cascadian Farms organic granola. Smaller health food stores tend to have monthly sales where you can get niche items and sometimes great produce deals and they have to rotate inventory quickly. Research and call them to see if they accept manufacturer coupons as some do not.

4. BYOB (Bring Your Own Bags)
Wherever you shop, make sure to bring your own bags. I carry a fold-able bag in my purse at all times such as chico bags. All around, this is a money saver and reduces your use of plastic bags.
I’ve also started bringing my new produce bags from Natural Home. These mesh bags hold a lot and are machine washable. Stores like Whole Foods take off 10 cents for every bag you bring and use. Some markets are now charging for using their bags.

Read More :: Green Living :: BYOB – Bring Your Own Bag

5. Buy What You Need, When You Need It
When I had my catering business, I was the queen of no waste: finding ways to use scraps for broth, composting, etc. In my personal life, my mister frequently would shake his head at the vegetable graveyard in my fridge. My fridge is where 30% food purchases came to die. The problem was I was buying more than I needed. By adopting a habit of buying produce the day of or the day before you need it reduces the risk of wasting tons of food. Yes, it may seem inconvenient at first but you certainly get accustomed to making a quick trip during lunch or after work to making a stop at the market. I would go to the market on my lunch break every other day to do my grocery shopping. Trust me; Your bank account (and your veggies) will thank you.

Coupons

Bookmark this post and check back ever so often as I will update this post as new coupons are made available. If you have any coupons that I should add, please send them along to yoli@yolisgreenliving.com. You can use these coupons at any major supermarket including Whole Foods and Trader Joes to Shoprite, Stop and Shop etc.

I highlight savings for plant-based, clean foods, and green products. There are other coupons available besides the ones I am listing on the links below.

Double Coupon Alerts: Look for the coupons with * to double coupon alerts.

Please check back often as I will update this post as new coupons are made available. If you have any coupons that I should add, please send them along to yoli@yolisgreenliving.com. You can use these coupons at any major supermarket including Whole Foods and Trader Joes.

Double Coupon Alerts: Look for the coupons with * to double coupon alerts.

Coupons.com
$1.00/3 Perrier Sparkling Mineral Water http://zidasv.cpns.cc
$0.50 off Newman’s Own Salad Dressing http://zihttr.cpns.cc
BOGO 1 Scotch-Brite Botanical Disinfecting Wipe (using CleanWell)
$1.50/1 Sambazon Juice or Smoothie
$1.00/2 Gerber Organic baby food
$0.55/1 Organic Florida Crystals Sugar product*
$3.00/1 Loads of Love 3x Concentrate Detergent
$0.70/1 Eco-Me Pet Line (now available in Target)
$0.75/1 Eco-Me Family Line of Natural Cleaners (now available in Duane Reade and Target)
$1.00/1 So Delicious Almond Milk Plus

Mambo Sprouts
$$1.00/1 6pk of Zevia All Natural Soda
$1.00/2 Blue Diamond® Almond Breeze® Shelf-stable Almondmilk or Coconutmilk Blend *
$1.00/1 Bag or Box of Crunchmaster® Crackers
$1.00/1 Earth Balance® MindfulMayo® Dressing & Sandwich Spread
$.75 /1 Santa Cruz Organic Soda 4-pack ($2.49 minimum purchase)
$1.50/2 Nature’s Path Love Crunch Granolas
$1.00/1 Full Size Kiss My Face Sun Care Product
$1.50/2 Organic Mary’s Gone Crackers Products
$1.00/1 Country Choice Organic Product
$1.00/1 Kiss My Face Hair Care Product (8 oz. or larger)
65¢/1 Florida Crystals® Product*
$1.00/1 Saffron Road Product
$5.00/1 Garden of Life Raw Meal Or Raw Protein
$1.00/1 Sophie’s Kitchen Product
$1.00/1 Kiss My Face Breath Blast 16 oz.
$1.50/1 Ecover ZERO Range
$4.00/1 4 oz. Spry Toothpaste or 16 oz. Spry Oral Rinse
$1.00/1 Naturtint Hair Coloring Box
$3.00/1 Garden of Life® Raw Probiotics™ Bottle
$3.00/1 Garden of Life® Minami Nutrition Product
$4.00/1 Xlear® 1.5 oz. Nasal Spray

Whole Foods July/August Newsletter
(There are print copies available in Whole Foods Stores)
$1.00/1 Saffron Road Product*
$1.00/2 DREAM Frozen Non-Dairy Desserts
$1.00/2 So Delicious Dairy Free Products*
$1.00/1 16-oz POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice
50¢/1 Back to Nature Cookies, Crackers or Granola
$1.50/2 Nature’s Path Organic Granola Bars or Love Crunch Granola (mix ‘n’ match)
75¢/1 32-oz Pacific Organic 7 Grain Non-Dairy Beverage
$1.00/1 Earth Balance MindfulMayo Dressing & Sandwich Spread*
$1.00/1 Earth Balance Nut Butter
55¢/1 San-J Gluten-Free Cooking Sauce or Salad Dressing
$3.00/1 Case of 12 1-liter Bottles Glaceau smartwater
$1.00/2 Kashi Cinnamon Harvest, Autumn Wheat, Island Vanilla or Strawberry Fields (mix ‘n’ match)
$1.00/1 4-pack Organic GoGo squeeZ
$1.50/2 Nature’s Path Organic Toaster Pastries or EnviroKidz Organic Bars (mix ‘n’ match)
$1.00/1 6-pack Zevia
$1.00/1 Box CLIF CRUNCH Granola Bars
$1.00/1 Box of 6 Clif Kid Organic Bars
$1.00/3 LARABAR, uber or JOCALAT Bars (mix n’ match)
$1.00/1 thinkThin High Protein, Crunch or Crunch Fruit & Nut Bar
$4.00/1 Avalon Organics Item (excludes lip balm and travel sizes)
$1.00/1 Kiss My Face Olive Oil Bar Soap
$5.00/1 Garden of Life RAW Meal or RAW Protein Powder (excludes individual packets)*
$2.00/1 Kyolic, Kyo-Green, Kyo-Dophilus or Moducare Product (excludes individual packets)
$5.00/1 30-oz to 30.9-oz Vega One Nutritional Shake (excludes individual packets)
$1.00/1 Full-Sized Fresh Ciabatta Bread
$1.00/1 16-oz or 32-oz 365 Everyday Value® Maximum Moisture Body Lotion
$2.00/1 pound or more Health Starts Here® Quinoa with Asian Slaw (maximum discount $2.00)
50¢/1 8-oz or 16-oz 365 Everyday Value® Organic Mustard: Dijon, German, Honey or Yellow
50¢/1 8-oz 365 Everyday Value® Organic Pretzels: Crunchy Sticks, Mini Twists or Mini Unsalted Twists
50¢/1 5-oz to 10-oz 365 Everyday Value® Organic Couscous: Plain, Creamy Parmesan, Garlic & Olive Oil, Lemon & Herb Pearled or Garlic & Olive Oil Pearled

HealthESavers
75¢/1 on any Tofurky Product or Turtle Island Foods Tempeh
$2.00/1 Any Kyo-Dophilus Product
$1.00/1 Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Stevia Packets, 35 ct or 75 ct
$1.00/1 Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Flavored Blue Agave
$1.00/1 Wholesome Sweeteners Raw or Amber Honey
$1.00/1 Wholesome Sweeteners Zero 35 count packets or pouch

Target
$1.00/2 purchase of both Archer Farms Chips/Tortillas (organic varieties available)
$1.10/2 gardein™ products
$1.25/3 Kikkoman Sauces and Marinades*
$1.00/1 64-oz. Silk Fruit & Protein juice blend beverage
$0.50/1 Pure Via® any size
$1.00/3 Market Pantry® dry pastas (organic varieties available)
$1.50/1 3-pk. Flings Pop-Up Home Recycle Bins

SmartSource
$1.00/1 Kikkoman marinade*
$1.00/2 Alexia Frozen Items*
$1.00/2 Garden of Eatin’ Tortilla Chips products (3oz or larger)
$0.55/1 Florida Crystals® Natural or Organic Sugar Product*

Individual Brands
Last Day for $.75/1 Any Earthbound Farm Organic Product is July 9th.

$.75/1 Rudi’s Organic product

$1.00/1 Late July Multi-Grain Chips

$.55/1 Rustic Crust Product

Pacific Natural Foods
$1.00/1 Pacific Natural Foods Soup or Broth
$1.50/1 Pacific Natural Foods Hemp or 7 Grain Non-Dairy Beverage
$1.00/1 Pacific Natural Foods 17.6 oz Hearty or 12 oz. Condensed Soup

This post was written by...

– who has written 337 posts on Yoli's Green Living.

Yoli Ouiya is a Green & Healthy Living Expert, Green Chef, Publisher and Editor in Chief of YolisGreenLiving.com. She is noted as the “Queen of Green” by Black Enterprise Magazine, and currently operates a boutique eco-lifestyle outfit Yoli’s Green Living Group. Black Enterprise included Yoli in its “Top 20 National Bloggers” of 2012, was named ‘Best in Green Living” by AllParenting.com, and listed as “Top 17 Black Woman Bloggers to Watch in 2013″ bu ForHarriet.com. With a certification in Plant Based Nutrition from Cornell, she offers workshops, lectures, and organizes a variety of eco-chic green themed events in New York. She is currently on the board of directors for The New York Coalition for Healthy School Food, a health and nutrition specialist for Harlem Children’s Zone, and co-authoring a book slated for completion Spring 2014.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Dj McRae November 10, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Hello,
I love your blog! You speak directly to me and what we stand for and believe in. We are a husband and wife team who sell eco-friendly and sustainable house and kitchen wares. We would love to partner up with you as our website is only one year old and we are still trying to nurture our baby and feed it so that it can grow and thrive. We have been with the green movement for about 7 years now and now live it daily. We have partnered up with Green America, and 1% for the planet. It’s funny how once you make the commitment how easy and cost effective it can be. At fhdecor.com we feature beautiful well designed sustainable kitchen & home products. We don’t have to cut down millions of CO2 absorbing trees to live well. I would love to speak with you or be in contact with you to discuss some possibilities of working together. We do a lot of social media marketing and would love to link our facebook readers with your blog site and vice versa. Keep up the amazing information and thank you!
Peace and blessings,
Djamila and Melford McRae

Reply

Yoli November 10, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Hi Dj thanks for finding my website. You can email directly at yoli@yolisgreenliving.com Look forward to hearing from you.

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