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Affording Organics

Apples have jumped to the top of the Environmental Working Group‘s “Dirty Dozen” list of fruits and vegetables that have the most pesticide residue on them. If you’re looking to avoid that by buying organic, there are ways to make that switch more affordable. Kelli Grant, Senior Consumer Reporter for SmartMoney.com tells you how.

If you can’t afford to go all organic, all the time, start with items that may retain relatively high levels of pesticide. The Environmental Working Group puts out a list each year of the 12 worst offenders – including apples, celery, strawberries and spinach. Skip organic versions of goods on its Clean 15 list, such as onions, sweet corn, pineapples and avocado, which have low levels after you’ve cleaned and peeled them.

Shop seasonally. The premium to buy organic is much smaller on produce in its peak season, and sales can drop prices even further. Deals from farmer’s markets are also at their best.

Pick the store label. Most big-name supermarkets have their own lines of organic products as well as the regular store label. It’s still more expensive than buying the regular version of a favorite brand or the store’s own brand, but much cheaper than getting the organic brand name.

Buy in bulk. It’s a great way to buy staples like cereal, flour and rice. Costs can be as little as 25% of those at the store, but you’ll also have to buy a lot more. Some sites require a five-pound minimum, nearly three times the size of the store package.

Clip coupons. Your best bet is to head directly to the manufacturer’s web site. Also look for coupons good for “any” of a brand’s products, which would let you get say, the organic Bertolli pasta sauce instead of the regular.

For more information on buying organic and other consumer tips click here.

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