Saving Money Through Green Means (My Top 20 Tips!)

November 18th, 2009

There was a time when I thought going green meant expensive, frou-frou organic and eco-chic “stuff.” Sure, that can be part of the picture, but for most people, going green actually saves money. I’ve been posting about how to find deals on green and organic items for the past few years now, so for this “Saving through Green Means” edition of the Green Moms Carnival, hosted by Condo Blues,  I’m sharing a round-up of my favorite tips for saving money while going green. I’ve linked to 10 posts below, and together they cover more than 20 tips for saving money! Now what are you going to do with all that money you save? Leave a comment and share!


1.  One of my favorite “savings posts”  – and honestly, not just for “green means” either. Here are the things to AVOID doing – My Top 10 Don’ts.   Follow these rules and I swear you’ll save money!

2.   Hate spending money on kids’ stickers? So do I! So much packaging waste and they’re a total rip-off! Here’s a post about what you can do instead.

3. Buying in Bulk and Watch Those Labels! You don’t have to trek to a big box store to buy in bulk. You can save by stocking up on discounted items at your regular grocer. Read this post for more info.

apple-juice-apple-eve14.  Bigger Isn’t Always Better – the “bulk savings bin” or “special deals” aren’t always the cheapest way to go. See this post for details – but check what you need and read labels and per ounce/per serving pricing carefully. If you waste something, you’re not really saving anything – and it’s not very green, is it?

5.  CSAs are a great way to save money on organic, local, farm-fresh and even biodynamic foods. Did you know you can save even more money by sampling a CSA? Read this post to learn how.

6. Disappointed by in-store expired coupons? Don’t be – take a few minutes to go to customer service to get the money you’re owed! Here’s my experience at Whole Foods.

7. Not finding what you want? Look up, look down, look all around. Did you know that most stores put the most expensive items at eye-level? That means you have to crane your neck to look up, look down, look all around and find what you want, as this post demonstrates!


8. Late Night Specials at Whole Foods: Perfect for tomorrow’s lunch or a late night snack, did you know you can grab the day’s freshly made gourmet sandwiches for half-off in the evening?  Read more here.

9.  Waste-free lunches are green, cheap and easy. Sure, you can buy some of the lovely waste-free lunch kits. But you don’t have to. You can make your own or brown-bag it. Here’s how.

10.    Green Household Cleansers: Make Your Own!  Vinegar, baking soda, castille soap, and maybe some lemon. That’s really all you need! Read more here, and check out The Smart Mama too. She’s a wealth of knowledge about green cleaning – she has some great “cleaning recipes” on her site to help you!

Hope you enjoyed all these “oldie but goodie” posts on saving through green means! Leave a comment and share your best tips!

Organic and Green Savings: Is Bigger Always Better? No!

March 7th, 2009

I felt the sisterhood of Moms everywhere as I dashed into Whole Foods, desparately looking for a reasonably priced, healthy snack for more than 30 kiddos. Yes, I was “Snack Mom,” and I had all of 10 minutes to figure out what to serve the after-school crowd waiting for me down the street.

That’s when I spied this display of Apple & Eve organic juice boxes, 27 for $13.99. Of course, I hate juice boxes – they rarely get recycled at kids’ events. But when I looked for paper cups to go with the large glass jugs of juice, I couldn’t find any. So boxes it was. How else are you going to feed a group that large?

Before heading to the register, I looked at the smaller packs of Apple & Eve juice – 8 for $3.69. I whipped out my calculator, just to make sure I was getting the best deal with the 27-pack, and much to my surprise discovered that it was actually less expensive to buy the smaller 8-packs, at 46 cents for each box versus 52 cents each in the large 27-pack.

How annoying. How can that be? Finding the best deal for a large group shouldn’t involve arithmetic problems in the shopping aisle.

But it does. So if you’re shopping, make sure to bring along a calculator – or use the one in your mobile phone – to make sure you’re getting the best deal. Big displays and large signs touting prices don’t always mean you’re getting the best price.

Of course, most green consumers will also consider packaging, which definitely points you to the larger, more efficient package (which is what I ended up buying – it helped that with 35 kids to feed, the numbers worked in my favor). But I’d like to know why producers would price products this way in the first place, especially companies like Whole Foods and Apple & Eve, that are making a play for the “green” consumer.

Other deals that are easier to spot?
Grapefruits – 10 for $10 are a great buy, on sale now at Whole Foods and other grocers. They’re satisfying, refreshing, and packed full of nutrients like Vitamin C and the antioxidant lycopene. And no, you don’t need to buy them organic for health reasons. Any pesticides used don’t penetrate the thick skin. But do be sure to wash the skin and knives carefully before eating. Try feeding them to your little tykes. Two-year-old Boo loves them, but my six-year-old Big Boy won’t touch them.

Organic Apples – Organic apples are now cheaper than conventional in many stores. Check them out at Giant, Whole Foods, and Trader Joes, and you may find great deals.

Happy Shopping!

— Lynn

Copyright 2009 OrganicMania

Organic Savings on the Fly: Organic Milk & Organic Berries

June 8th, 2008

OrganicMania normally labors over these posts…sorry to be late, but with three new clients this week and a kindergartner out of school – I’m just way behind. Plus, gotta confess, I’m a Twitter addict now. Have you checked out Twitter? You can follow me here. And then there’s another microblogging platform where I really need more friends: Plurk. Anyway, the cool thing is I can Tweet or Plurk from my cell – sending out organic and green savings updates – and more green thoughts – while on the go. Come join in on the fun here and here!

Back to organic savings basics: I think I’ve found the Holy Grail for cheap organic milk by the half gallon. Target. Yes, Target. Their house brand, Archer Farms, is $3.44 for a half gallon of organic milk. That’s a huge savings compared to the $4.19 a half gallon some supermarkets command, as we discussed here. (When you consider that post was written back in January, the price now is surely above $4.19 in that grocery store!)

Why is this organic milk so cheap? Well, although the source of Archer Farms milk is not visible on the carton, press reports such as this one indicate that the private dairy Aurora Farms supplies Target with its Archer Farms organic milk. The organic industry watchdog group The Cornucopia Institute rates organic dairies and gives Aurora a low ranking, claiming that the milk is from factory farmed cows. However, despite some controversy, the USDA kept Aurora’s USDA Organic certification in place. The Institute’s concerns had to do with the cows’ access to pasture. So if you are concerned about cow grazing issues, you may prefer to choose milk from another source. If your primary concerns are lack of growth hormones, pesticides and antibiotics, you should be fine with Archer Farms.

Again, this is one of those touchy areas where some have very strong feelings about the “green-ness” of “Big Organic,” and a few may even claim to be “Greener than Thou” by buying raw organic milk or organic milk for a local dairy. OrganicMania views this blog as a forum to throw out all the crazy issues in organics and green living and to discuss them – without an agenda.

And while I normally never think of Target for groceries, they have expanded their organics selection, so check it out. It’s still not a place where you could do all your organic shopping, but the convenience of being able to pick up some organic milk at Target may save you from having to make a special trip somewhere else just for organic milk. Most important to me, I saved time, money, and gas (carbon footprint) by combining my purchases at Target.

But if you’re looking to pick up a gallon of organic milk – or like many families – several gallons – you still can’t beat Whole Foods for organic milk at $5.69 per gallon. I suspect Whole Foods keeps the milk prices low to entice people to shop there for other items. But as I’ve posted before, you can find many great deals on organics at Whole Foods. It makes sense – as the largest organic grocer, they’ve got enormous purchasing power, and they can pass their savings on to their consumers.

Just last week, we talked here about organic strawberries at $4.99 per pound. Well, that was nothing! At mid-week, they were down to $3.49 per pound at Whole Foods stores in DC. Strawberries are a very important organic purchase, because they carry a high pesticide load and rank in the Environmental Working Group’s list of “The Dirty Dozen” most pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables – the ones you should always buy organic. You can download a wallet card of the Dirty Dozen here, and carry it with you to the market.

And there is a definite taste difference as compared to conventional strawberries. As my toddler would say, Yum-may!

Happy shopping!

Did you find any good organic or green deals this week? Leave a comment and share!

— Lynn

Copyright 2008 OrganicMania