When people think about purchasing organic foods and products they tend to think of Trader Joe's and Whole Foods first. And it's true, you can find organics there, but it's not necessarily the best place to spend your dollar.
Most grocery stores have organic sections now.
And you will even find organic in the most unexpected places.
I typically shop at 4 different stores.
Nob Hill / Raley's
The Grocery Outlet
I do go to Trader Joe's for organic apples, soy-free sandwich bread, and organic salad mixes. The apples and salad prices can't be beat. And it's the only place I can find a soy-free bread that my kids will eat. Truth be told-- I need to learn to make my own bread. But that's for another day.
I will also shop at Whole Foods if they are having a sale on something I need to stock up on. I probably go to Whole Foods 3-4 times a year. The last time I got 30 lbs of ground beef for my extra freezer. Organic and grass fed for $5.99 a lb. Whole Foods is by far the most expensive place to shop if you are converting to organic-- I don't recommend them for weekly shopping. They do have some magnificent sales though and organic products you can not find anywhere else.
Safeway carries organic lines and also has several lines of their own. Eating Right, Open Nature and O Organics. ) Organics is the only one certified organic, but sometimes you can find nice alternatives in the other 2. They have promotions often which offset the prices.With a little bit of homework looking for the sales and coupons, I can get my total price to be nearly identical to the non-organic food items.
Raley's / Nob Hill used to have 2 beautiful aisles of organics and naturals. They just recently removed them from my store. Did the same thing happen to you? They decided to incorporate the organics in with the rest of the food. So now organic cereal is in the cereal aisle. Organic flour is in the baking aisle. I get it- but I don't like it. Now I have to go through the entire store to get what I need. I hope they don't think they are going to trick me into putting extra stuff in my cart. They also have a pretty nice organic fresh produce section. I like it better than Safeway's. They have reasonable prices and they food looks crisp.
Costco. Every time I go to Costco I see them expanding their organic product lines. This makes me happy because Costco carries what people buy. They give the people what they want. I love that people want organic. I get my 10 lb bag or organic carrots for only $4.49. One my last trip I got organic chicken burgers with cheese and bacon mixed in them. Nitrite Nitrate FREE! Score! I haven't eaten them yet though--- so the jury is still out. My Costco carried Organic Valley milk, heavy cream, half & half. Organic Valley is a family owned California company so I am not sure if they carry that one all over. I can get a gallon of organic milk for $5-- which is the cheapest I've seen without a sale or coupon. Their inventory is always growing and the prices tend to be far below Whole Foods. I hit Costco once a month.
The Grocery Outlet is a little gem in our community. It's an overstock store so the inventory is always changing. If you see something amazing, grab as much as you can afford (paying special attention to expiration dates). It may never show up there again! I have found some amazing deals there. Imacculate cresent rolls, normally $4.79 for just $1.49. Organic sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar. Random organic snacks to try out on the kids like chips, crackers, fruit snacks. Organic shampoo/conditioner, body wash, and cosmetics, all for 50-75% off retail. When I got shopping, I go here first. Since I never know what they will carry I spend about 15 minutes going through the aisles, finding the treasures. Then I go do the rest of my shopping at Safeway or Nob Hill to get the missing items from my list.
The rest of my shopping is done online. I save a little bit of my grocery money each week so I can snatch up that unbelievable daily deal. I have purchased coconut oil, spices, organic teeth whitening, all sorts of odds and ends.
I live in one of the most expensive places to live. The Bay Area of California. I have a family of 5. My grocery budget is $600 a month. I typically spend $100 at Costco. $100 for online purchases. And $100 a week for groceries. I buy about 80% organic. It is possible for all of us!