3 Things to Consider When Buying Organic

Opting for higher quality food often means buying organic – food without added hormones, antibiotics, and most chemical pesticides and fertilizers that could be harmful to consume. While there are many ways to eat healthy on a budget, choosing organic can still stretch the wallet. Unfortunately, in order to eat food with fresher, natural ingredients, it generally costs more, since most food doesn’t contain the best ingredients, so it’s cheaper to make and sell. I always think of this “you get what you pay for” mentality when grocery shopping, but as someone who tries to save money whenever possible, I know it isn’t always realistic for all to buy exclusively organic.

It doesn’t matter whether you want to go organic because you prefer the taste or hate the idea of chemicals on your food (that hang around despite washing) – if you are truly interested in going organic, make the most of it by learning which foods to incorporate into your budget and meal planning first, and what resources are available to you. This way you’ll know when it’s most helpful for you to buy organic, and when it might not be necessary.

Organic Food / TameraMowry.com

The Organic Essentials

Did you know that organic meat and dairy products are generally more important to purchase than produce? Therefore, if your budget only allows a little wiggle room, opt for organic meat and dairy first. Organic chicken and beef usually means they won’t be treated with antibiotics, growth hormones, or fed questionable food themselves (we eat what they eat!). They’re also usually raised in more humane facilities and support local farmers, though you should check the label to be sure.

Some milk is still treated with hormones that could be linked to increased risk of cancer. (The hormone rBGH is actually banned in other countries but shows up on some US milk.) You don’t always have to buy organic milk to avoid this, but it does guarantee a product treated without those iffy growth hormones.

The Dirty Dozen

The EWG’s (Environmental Working Group) annual list of 12 fruits and veggies you should always buy organic is one of THE best resources. If you can’t or don’t want to purchase entirely organic, but want to make sure to steer clear of produce that has retained much of its pesticides – you can use this list of 12 items that are known to contain the highest concentration of pesticide residue. Choosing to buy these organic instead is really the only way to know they won’t have those chemicals on them when you buy.

The Clean Fifteen

Also, the Clean 15 is the list of general produce with the lowest amount of pesticide residue and considered much safer than the ones above. Basically, if you’re writing up your budget, it’s totally OK to go non-organic with these if it proves cheaper. Keep in mind both lists are updated annually, so check back at EWG.org for next year’s Shoppers Guide. 

What’s your take on buying organic? I’d love to hear your thoughts!


  • Sewloveable

    Yes organic shopping is expensive. I try to buy a lot of my organic fruits and veggies frozen over fresh. To prevent wasting food by it going bad, by not eating all the fresh thing’s fast enough. I also found a couple of sites…..that offer coupons on Organic items….which is a rarity. http://sewloveable.com/2014/07/24/i-love-a-savings-what-about-you/. I hope this help’s people save a little money on their grocery bill. Great post!!

    • Keshia Arthur

      Yes it is expensive. I do the same thing as far as buying frozen fruits and veggies, but I struggle with finding reasonable prices for organic meats and dairy

      • Sewloveable

        Keisha I totally understand. I buy my meats from 2 places. A local organic farm and Whole Foods. I can get a family pack of drumsticks for a little over 6 bucks at Whole Food’s. When they have a sale on meat I stock up, so check online and see the weekly sales add and print whatever coupons they may be offering on other items that you need. For dairy my family drinks Almond Milk which is not to pricey at Trader Joe’s. Fish I buy wild caught frozen fish from Target along with my Organic Eggs making sure to use my Target red debt card and the cartwheels app for additional savings. When I shop, I have a list which has the weeks menu in mind divided into what i need to get at what stores. This keeps me on task and helps me not to stray from the list and stick to the set budget…most of the time…lol. I use coupons for what I can, which truly has been a big help. I hope some of the tips that work for my family an I help you as well.

  • Ina Turner

    I have switch meat and milk and some fruits already to organic,my veggies when i cant do organic fresh,I do frozen. My motto for really trying to eat healthy is I can give the money to the food store,or to the doctor. I think thats a great reason for trying to eat healthy,dont want to give money to the doctor. Love your blogs,thanks for the list.

  • Mildrid J

    U’ve got corn on UR list..corn is a GMO product…

  • abby

    Thanks for your blog Tamera,
    yes I know organic shopping can be expensive, but we as a family are into healthy eating , when me and my daughter go shop we will always read the packaging to see what is in the product before buying , to eat healthy cost u a little bit more, but I’ve learned by eating healthy u will have a healthy body and a healthy family.

  • Days Telisa

    I totally agree about the organic products and them being healthier. Yes they can be a bit more expensive but as I always say to my family and friends. We need to understand that what we put in our bodies is way more important than what we put on our bodies. And my motto is pay a little more now for organic and save alot more when we don’t need to spend it on medical treatments from the damage done to our bodies by pesticides & chemicals.
    Thank you for the article it was very informative and I downloaded the list to my phone to keep it handy when I shop.
    Telisa & Tia
    South Florida