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Coupon Abbreviations
  • SC = Store Coupon
  • MC = Manufacturer Coupon
  • SS = Smart Source
  • RP = Red Plum
  • PG = Proctor and Gamble
Coupon Terms
  • WYB = When You Buy
  • B1G1 = Buy One Get One Free
  • .75/1 = 75 cents off one item
  • .75/3 = 75 cents off three items
  • EXP = Expiration Date

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organic living journey learning about egg labels and saving, all about eggs

The following is part of an Organic Journey guest post series, written by Amy a long time helper behind the scenes of Southern Savers.

I spent $120 on groceries this week.  I almost cried when I brought my groceries in from the car.  My 6 bags of groceries filled up half of my kitchen counter and cost me a whopping $67.  I looked at my husband and made this declaration, “Gone are the days of having a counter full of groceries for $40.”  Then, later in the week, I took my kids to our new happy place, the Dekalb Farmers Market.  If you live in the Atlanta area and haven’t been, oh do go!  To watch my daughter beg, “please Mom, can I get some snow peas!”  or to see their eyes light up when their Nonnie spoils them by buying them a bag of apples (that aren’t in season right now so Mom won’t get them!), this is my reward.  If they grow up loving what is good for them (and appreciating the wonders of an occasional double stuffed oreo!), then this labor is worth it for me.  And, I’m going to cut myself some slack.  Figuring this whole thing out is a big learning curve.  I’m not going to get it right at first.  It’s going to take time.  (Plus, those dried apples from the farmer’s market were like candy!  Perfect for the girl who loves junk but is trying to do better!)

But I digress.  This week, I decided to tackle eggs.  We love eggs.  Once a week, we have breakfast for dinner.  Eggs have become a new treasure for me since I have lost my first love of quick protein choices, cheese (yep, I discovered that I am allergic to dairy a year ago).  I used to get excited when eggs were 99¢ a dozen at Kroger.  Then that infamous documentary opened my eyes.  I needed to know what my options were.  Here’s what I discovered.

The first thing is to establish where your chickens are roaming.  There are three basic options that I have discovered.

Normal Grocery Store Eggs
My well-loved cheap eggs come from chickens that don’t roam.  In fact their beaks are cut off, and they are packed into farms like sardines.  The more I have discovered about my cheap eggs, the more I realized that we were going to have to change.   Not only is their habit unnatural, their diet is like mine was a few years back (a bit unnatural) and they are loaded with antibiotics which are necessary because of their living conditions.

Cage-Free Eggs
Per the USDA, “This label indicates that the flock was able to freely roam a building, room, or enclosed area with unlimited access to food and fresh water during their production cycle.”  Notice though that no one regulates this.

Free-Range Eggs
Again, in USDA speak, “This label indicates that the flock was provided shelter in a building, room, or area with unlimited access to food, fresh water, and continuous access to the outdoors during their production cycle. The outdoor area may or may not be fenced and/or covered with netting-like material. This label is regulated by the USDA.”

Now how about what our chickens are eating?  This is where the whole organic label becomes relevant.  The organic label means this:

“Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones.  Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation.”  USDA

There are several ways to get eggs.  You can raise chickens and get your eggs from them (both my sisters have done this…my neighborhood would not love it.  Check before you start to make sure it is okay where you live.)  If you live in the country, you can most likely find a farmer who will sell you eggs.  My sister gets free-range eggs for $2.50/dozen!!  Around Atlanta, the only places I can find free-range eggs are at local farmers markets (that are held in the town parks) and at the Fresh Market grocery store.  Whole Foods doesn’t carry them nor does Trader Joe’s.  Cage-free eggs are everywhere.  You can even get them with added Omega-3’s (it appears that they just add flax to the chicken’s diet).  Cage-free are priced around $2.69.  If you make it organic cage-free, it’s about $3.69.

So, in a nutshell, if you want your chickens eating grain that doesn’t have chemicals in it, organic is the way to go.  If you just want to make sure that your chickens are eating a normal diet for chickens, cage-free is the best bet.  If you just need to feed your family, plain jane eggs are the way to go.

Now we get down to the nitty gritty.  I’ve done my research, and man oh man, free-range eggs sound awesome!  There are farms that deliver free-range eggs to different places in Atlanta, so I start making calls.  Yeah, it’s expensive.  Free-range eggs in my neck of the woods are $5/dozen.  Gulp.  As much as I would love to have free-range organic eggs, it just isn’t doable for us.  I would spend $30/month on eggs alone.  That’s about 10% of my food budget.  For now, my baby step is to move in the right direction.  We are buying Cage-Free eggs from Farmer’s Hen House.  And call me crazy, but seeing that the chickens are raised on Amish and Mennonite farms makes me feel better about the whole thing.  Maybe they are just slick marketers who has pulled the wool over this newbies eyes, but it worked.

How to save money on all of this?  Well, check your local grocery store to see if they carry Eggland’s Best Cage-Free or if your Kroger has the Simple Truth cage-free eggs.  You can find coupons for these and save money that way!  Oh, and one other thing, if you are buying it from a local farmer, ask them about their pesticide use and what they are feeding their chickens.  They may not pay to be certified organic because it is an expensive process, but they might be organic nonetheless.  To find a local farmer near you head to localharvest.org and enter eggs in the search field with your zip code to see if there are any farms near you that direct sell to consumers.  You’ll also see reviews from other customers that can help you make educated decisions on who to pick.

One quick update, after writing all of this I had some super smart friends share that Costco has great deals on organic eggs and other goodies, so next week I’m off to see what they have for myself!  Tune in to see what we find.

How about you?  If you eat eggs, have you found any ways to get a great deal on them?

    • Melissa

      We bought 18 cage-free eggs today (brown ones) at Sam’s for 3.20.  At Whole Foods, we buy a dozen for over $5, so we’ll be buying all our eggs at Sam’s from now on!

    • Jenni P.

       Thanks for featuring this series, Jenny! And thank-you, Amy, for sharing your findings!

    • Temilyn

      I raise my own and they look almost identical to the dozen in the pic!!! Love having my own hens. My 6 yr old daughter has the responsibility of feeding them and gathering the eggs. She is becoming more responsible and I get to control the diet of my hens. Plus they give us fertilizer for our organic garden. WIN/WIN

    • Chris

      You should ask at your Whole Food for your Farmer’s Hen House eggs because their website says that Whole Foods carries them here in Missouri, where I live.  Maybe they will get them or are getting them soon?

    • Meredith Ball

      My Costco price for Organic eggs is $7.00 for two dozen.  That’s the best price I can find in a store.  Our farmers market has free-range for 4.00 for 30 but they are hard to get as they run out frequently.  If anyone ever questions you about the difference in organic/free range and basic eggs, tell them to hard boil one of each and then taste the difference.  Oh my is it obvious.  I try not to be a snob about my food but eggs are one thing I don’t skimp on!

    • Jamiesgirl106

      We started our own hen house about 7 months ago (we live in the country) We have enjoyed the eggs, and the responsibly my son has feeding and giving them water daily. Its really fun for the young kids if you start out with baby chicks.  

    • katkoupon

      We buy our eggs from a local farmer at $4 per dozen. The chickens are truly pastured, outdoor roaming and eating bugs, worms, etc. You can really tasted the difference! We go through about 4 doz per week. I think that’s still a pretty good deal, considering the great nutrition in pastured eggs. I was also going to mention the Costco eggs as well. I buy them when we run out of pastured eggs. They are cage-free, organic, and certified humane, and they taste good! $6.99 for 2 dozen, and they are the only store-bought eggs we like any more. Our tastes have changed since buying “real” eggs and most store-bought eggs gross us out.

    • momof3

      Our neighbor has chickens, so we get organic, free range eggs for $1.50 a dozen….Love us some eggs!  My kids actually go to the henhouse and get them for us!

    • Whitney626

      I too live in ATL and love the Decalb Farmers Market.  They have the best organic produce prices around.  Also, their bread and backed goods are made with organic, flour and butter with no preservatives.  It is a great place to find new and exciting types of foods as well.  

      Thanks for writing this weekly post!  I am enjoying reading about your journey and would love to know if there is a moms/parents group in the Decatur/NE Atlanta area that is interested in this topic.  

      • amysanders

        have you had their orange muffins?!?  soooooo good.  :)

    • einaej

      Wonderful info! Thanks, Amy for the switch to “real food”. Thought I was about the only one on SS who cared about not eating all this processed stuff that MOST food coupons are for.

      • amysanders

        you are not alone…and i think that grocery stores are beginning to take note.

    • Adamsacreas

      ANYONE!!! who has the space to do it (and the zoning) should own chickens!  I Love my chicken friends! I love watching the babies hatch, collecting the most beautiful free eggs( well if I didn’t count the cost of feed),  the free bug control, and lastly but not least free compost turners! To think my mom will only eat grocery store eggs??? Eggs for supper anybody????

    • Pommfrites

      Know a lot of Amish and Mennonites, they don’t all raise their animals with love and care

      • amysanders

        good to know!  as an update, i found a guy who lives right down the road from me who is raising chickens and selling the eggs!  happy day!

    • Thuenur

      Thank you for all the info! Costco does have a good deal on their organic eggs.. i think they were 3.99 for 24. 

    • Thuenur

      Thank you for all the info! Costco does have a good deal on their organic eggs.. i think they were 3.99 for 24. 

    • Acbhendrix

      no deals here! i have to bite the bullet and pay $5 bucks for our eggs, but i know our farmer, we have gone to the farm and have seen how the chickens live… fortunately there are only 3 of us that i have to feed, myself, husband and 16 month old (who loves eggs) so we literally buy eggs one time a week, never more. I too cry at our grocery spending every week. with just the 3 of us i spend 75 (i buy grass-fed beef only from a farm i know and trust, and we go to the farmers market every weekend. it’s never pretty) i plan to start my own garden which terrifies me…i’m basically telling my husband he HAS to kill some deer this season (to save on meat, which he is okay with, he just hasn’t been so lucky the last couple of years) i’m hoping these two things will help cut down cost, but i cannot have chickens here in marietta, ga (although i did sign a petition recently to be able to have chickens on less then 2 acres of land in Cobb ) and even if it were allowed tomorrow, i have no earthly idea how to take care of chicken without the wild cats and dogs and anything else that may be around trying to kill them, plus my husband says they are the nastiest things in the world. so i will continue to bite the bullet and buy $5 eggs (although there is a farm in carrollton, ga that makes magnificent goat cheese that sells them at our farmers market for $4)

    • Jenny! And thank-you, Amy, for sharing your findings!..FinancialMayor.blogspot.com

    • Hope

      I really appreciated the information in this article, as well as the non-condemning tone. So much of what I read regarding different health-related items has a not-so-subtle undertone which makes you feel like a bad person for not subscribing to their exact way. Thanks for the clear explanation and “food for thought”! :)

      • amysanders

        i feel the same way when i read alot of health stuff…just like i will NEVER measure up.  grateful that this doesn’t feel that way to you!

    • JRC Farm Girl

      I appreciate the encouragement to support local farmers (as we ourselves are raising our own chickens and eggs, and having a large cattle herd). Farmers, even those with large egg-laying houses (of which some of our friends opperate and care for) care very much for their livestock (chickens included). None of them have “cut off” the beaks of the chickens as was mentioned. Also, a chicken without proper “confinement” as is mentioned is one more hawk/owl/stray cat or dog meal. We, as the great majority of farmers we know, do what is best for the animal. In that way we are stewards for God’s creation as He intended it from the beginning.

      • amysanders

        i am so glad that you have a vision for being a good steward of creation!  the cut off beaks was just what i saw on the documentary. do you think that the eggs we get from the grocery store come from well taken care of chickens?  i’m eager to hear more of your perspective.

    • JRC Farm Girl

      I appreciate the encouragement to support local farmers (as we ourselves are raising our own chickens and eggs, and having a large cattle herd). Farmers, even those with large egg-laying houses (of which some of our friends opperate and care for) care very much for their livestock (chickens included). None of them have “cut off” the beaks of the chickens as was mentioned. Also, a chicken without proper “confinement” as is mentioned is one more hawk/owl/stray cat or dog meal. We, as the great majority of farmers we know, do what is best for the animal. In that way we are stewards for God’s creation as He intended it from the beginning.

    • Eshanel21

      I just look for the organic cage free omega 3 eggs that are on clearance b/c they’re about to expire!  

    • Kate

      Thanks for doing this series! I have been married for a year and a half and started couponing soon after getting married but could never get our grocery budget down to $40. I didn’t know what was realistic for someone who coupons but cooks from scratch (partially organic) not packages which was getting frustrating.
      My husband (farmer at heart) and my father (who lives 8hours away) wanted chickens and finally got them around Easter this year- I was not looking forward to these dirty birds. They got some rather pretty chicken verities to help ease the change for me and to my surprise they are not as dirty as I thought. We just collected our first eggs a week ago and the roasters are going in my freezer tomorrow. I love the fact that I know exactly where my food has been and what it has been eating! I am totally sold on having chickens now and have recommended it to friends.

    • Kate

      Thanks for doing this series! I have been married for a year and a half and started couponing soon after getting married but could never get our grocery budget down to $40. I didn’t know what was realistic for someone who coupons but cooks from scratch (partially organic) not packages which was getting frustrating.
      My husband (farmer at heart) and my father (who lives 8hours away) wanted chickens and finally got them around Easter this year- I was not looking forward to these dirty birds. They got some rather pretty chicken verities to help ease the change for me and to my surprise they are not as dirty as I thought. We just collected our first eggs a week ago and the roasters are going in my freezer tomorrow. I love the fact that I know exactly where my food has been and what it has been eating! I am totally sold on having chickens now and have recommended it to friends.

    • gardenergirl0804

      I LOVE the Dekalb Market. It is a great place to find tons of organic items and fresh ingredients!!!!!

    • Alissabeth

      I tried the Costco eggs and personally didn’t like them. I have found the ones from Fresh Market that you mentioned taste the best and I much prefer the taste of a brown egg over a white egg. I don’t know why it makes a difference, but it does!

    • Rlmapes

      We also raise our own hens for those great fresh brown eggs. There is definitely a difference in taste! We were new to this until my sweet hubby bought me chicks and built me a beautiful large coop for Christmas last year. What a great gift since he knew I am definitely into the mother thing! I did a lot of research and found a great website with lots of info. Thought I would share it if anyone is planning to raise hens http://www.backyardchickens.com

      • amysanders

        thanks!!  after we went to pick up our fresh eggs from a local farmer we just discovered (he lives FIVE minutes from my house!), my girls declared that they want chickens.  if the county will give us a green light (in the form of a variance), this will be a super helpful resource!!