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Saving Money Without Coupons: 15 Fruits and Vegetables you Should NOT Buy Organic

Are you wasting your money on organic produce simply because you think it’s better for you? Or, are you not buying any organic produce because you feel it’s too expensive to buy?

The thought behind buying organic produce is to make sure you aren’t feeding your family an excess of pesticides. The problem, though, is that buying all of your fruits and veggies from the organic section will get pricey. Fortunately, there are certain produce items that you should NOT be wasting your money on to buy organic. These items are called the “Clean 15″ by the Environmental Working Group. There’s also twelve produce items you should definitely buy organic because of the amount of pesticide exposure they may bring to your dinner table. These are called the “Dirty Dozen”. (left column)

Notice any similarities on each list? The Clean 15 are items that you peel the outer layer off of before you eat. This is a great rule of thumb when shopping – simply ask yourself if you are eating the outer most layer!

Notable changes in the new guide included apples’ rank as the most contaminated produce, jumping three spots from last year to replace celery at the top of the “Dirty Dozen” list. According to USDA, pesticides showed up on 98 percent of the more than 700 apple samples tested.

:: Do you buy all of your produce from the organic section?
How do you save money on produce?

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Saving Money Without Coupons: What’s in your Pantry?

There’s nothing more frustrating than having a pantry full of items, but nothing to make for dinner. If you follow these three simple steps, you can save money on your grocery bill without even using a coupon:

First, Organize those items!
It is important to have your pantry and fridge organized. Being able to see as many objects as possible will make it easier to realize that you actually have them! Then you won’t need to do the “Do we have any ketchup? I’m not sure..well, let’s grab some anyways” scenario. ;) Now I completely understand that you may not want to re-organize every single time you shop, so make a realistic schedule to take a few extra minutes and get things straightened up. If you have a calendar on your phone, set a recurring reminder once every two or four weeks to re-organize.

Then, Plan out your Meals.
I never felt it was necessary to begin menu planning until I really wanted to save money. Now that I have subscribed to RelishRelish.com, I am thrilled at how easy it is to round up a week’s worth of meals. There are many options available online for helping you with menu planning. Another popular site is E-Mealz.com, which was recommended by Mr. Dave Ramsey himself. These are sites you have to pay for, but it’s worth the money. For instance, if there’s a really good deal on tomatoes at the store, you can search these sites for recipes that call for tomatoes! Then you aren’t buying a bunch of random ingredients for one-time meals. Having fewer ingredients for a wider variety of meals definitely helps your budget.

Finally, Make a List.
I cringe when I see people walking around a grocery store without a list in their hand. You will buy more items you don’t need when you don’t make a grocery list. Since your items are now organized and you have planned out your meals, making a list should come naturally. You can quickly pick up the items you need, and you’ll likely be set for the week! Even if you are making a quick run into the store, jot down the items you need on a piece of paper. My quick trips always seem to be the ones where I end up buying twice as many items that I really didn’t need in the first place.

Using coupons has actually made me more aware of the three tips mentioned above. I used to let so many items expire because I simply had no clue they were in my pantry or fridge. I think you’ll be quite surprised to see how easy (and less frustrating) it is to make the most out of your grocery budget before you even touch a coupon.

:: What other tips do you have for organizing or planning in regards to groceries?

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