I know that a lot of people think saving money on produce can’t be done. After all, how often do you see a coupon for fresh produce float by? While there is the occasional coupon, there are plenty of ways to save money on produce that doesn’t involve coupons. In fact, it doesn’t really involve doing anything special, just being a little bit more knowledgeable. So here is a list I put together for you, to help you navigate the produce section, and start saving money.
How to Save Money on Produce
Don’t buy packaged greens and veggies
Ok, so I’m not talking about the 5lb bag of potatoes you just picked up, or the bag of apples that’s on sale. I’m talking about pre made salad mixes, bagged spinach, even the romaine hearts that are in bags (although all of these are very convenient) You can save almost 50% if you buy what is considered “bulk” or “bunches”. I buy all of my Spinach, lettuce, even snap peas, beans, etc. by the bulk or bunch. The down side? You’ll have to really wash the stuff once you get home, but you should be washing the packaged stuff anyway. The little bit of extra effort it takes is worth saving the money.
Shake off any excess water
This goes right with the above. All of those misters that keep the greens looking green? Well it’s adding a lot of extra weight to those leaves. Most of those items are sold per lb, so all of that water you are leaving on the leaves is going to drive up the cost of the food. Shaking the water off isn’t going to save you thousands, but a few cents here and there can really add up!
Weigh bagged apples, potatoes etc.
This may seem silly, but have you ever weighed the pre packaged apples? You’d be surprised how many 3lb bags of apples I’ve weighed that aren’t even close to being 3lbs. But, on the opposite end of the spectrum, I’ve found some that are over 3lbs. If you are already paying that set price for something, you might as well get the best bang for your buck, right?
Buy when in season and freeze extras
You could never use a coupon, and still drastically reduce your out of pocket on groceries by following this rule. Not just with produce! Stock up when it’s on sale or in season, and freeze/store the extras! You can freeze just about any type of produce to use later on. I always have berries in my freezer that I’ve bought when they are dirt cheap, and froze to keep for later. These come in handy for smoothies and desserts later on when those berries wouldn’t be in season. It keeps you from paying a ton of money during the off season. The same holds true for others, like sweet corn, mangoes, beans, certain peppers, etc.
Wash, Prep, Store and do it right
As soon as you get your bounty home, it’s important to wash everything right away! To wash fruits I use 1 part apple cider vinegar with 10 parts cold water. I let them soak for about 5 minutes, then rinse and let them air dry. This way you make sure to wash off any mold spores that may make them go bad faster, as well as get rid of any dirt or impurities. For veggies, I will wash them in cold water and let them air dry as well. If you have certain veggies that you like to snack on, cut them up into sizeable snack portions. I do this with carrots, celery, and cauliflower. My husband and I are more apt to eat them if I’ve already cut them up! As for storing your produce, make sure you look for the best ways to do it. Storing foods improperly can make them go bad, faster. You can see how I store my Spinach and Cilantro, and any other leafy green for that matter, HERE and HERE to keep them fresh longer.
Grow your own
I know that not everyone wants to fool around with having a huge garden to take care of. It can be costly, both in money and time spent, but once you’ve gotten started, it can really start to pay off! You don’t need a big space to start, nor do you need expensive materials. All you need are a few larger pots, some good quality compost and soil, and some seeds or plants. You can see how I grew my veggies from seed HERE. Once you get the hang of it, growing your own produce is not only healthy for you, cheaper on your wallet, but it gives you a huge sense of satisfaction that you are putting fresh food on your family’s plate that you grew yourself! I encourage you to start, even if it’s just growing a few herbs (oregano, chives, and thyme are extremely easy to grow) or planting a few types of lettuce (which likes to grow in cooler temps and does great in containers). You will be amazed how easy it can be.
What are some other ways you and your family saves money on produce?