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How to save money on organic dairy

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Many of us would love to eat 100% organic, but for a lot of families, the higher costs associated with organic food can feel like a deal-breaker. That’s especially true with foods we consume in large quantities, like dairy products: if your family drinks a lot of milk, paying twice as much can feel out of reach.

But with some planning, you can save money on organic dairy! Here are some of my strategies:

Look for coupons in creative places. Often you can find printable coupons online by Googling the name of the product or brand name, plus “coupon”. Or check the brand’s website for special offers. For example, through 7/31/2012, Stonyfield Farms is offering a printable coupon for $2 off of any three yogurt products, including YoBaby. It’s also a good idea to “like” your favorite brands on Facebook in order to keep up on the latest deals and savings opportunities.

Join loyalty programs. Many brands offer special deals to loyal customers, like the MyStonyfield Rewards program. Click around your favorite brands’ website or check out their FAQ page to find one.

Look in unusual places. I’ve found organic dairy products in all kinds of places I didn’t expect, like Target and even Amazon.com. Sometimes the prices are better than at the local grocery store. And at Amazon, you can buy in bulk for even better savings. (I have an Amazon Prime membership, so my shipping is always free.)

Shop sales and store in the freezer. Salted butter, shredded cheese, milk, and yogurt can all be frozen for various lengths of time, from one month (milk) to six months or longer (butter or cheese). Freezing will change the texture of some dairy products, but they’re still good to consume – or can be used for baking, cooking, or smoothies.

Invest time in meal planning and preparation. Yes, organic dairy is expensive, but so are convenience foods and regular last-minute “emergency” calls for pizza or takeout. When I’m feeling panicky about investing in organics at the supermarket, I try to remind myself that my grocery bill is just one part of my overall food spending. When our grocery bill is a little more each week, our overall spending often goes way down because I feel more motivated and prepared to use the food I’ve bought instead of eating out.

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