I’m regularly asked how to save money on produce. Getting five servings of fresh fruits and vegetables isn’t always easy – or affordable! My husband takes fruit every day in his lunch, and I love to cook with fresh veggies and herbs, so we go through a ton of produce in our house! Here are a few things I personally do to save.
- Use coupons and cash back apps. Ibotta, Checkout 51, Berry Cart, and Snap will all pay you cash back for buying produce, and you can combine the savings. That means if all four apps have an offer for apples, you can buy the apples once and request cash back from all four! Just be sure to save your receipt, because most require you to snap a picture of it to get your money. Offers change weekly, so I usually check the app. before heading out to the store. All of these are incredibly quick and easy to use. I earned over $500 in 2014 for buying groceries I was going to buy anyway – all FREE money!
- Buying in-season produce can save you a ton of money. We love asparagus. However, if they’re not $1.99 a pound or less, I’m not buying them. Be flexible and adapt to what’s most affordable at the time.
- Compare size and numbers. In the picture above, you can clearly see the size difference. If something is priced as “each”, and not “per pound”, look for the biggest ones to get more for your money. If apples are $1.99/bag, count them, and choose the bag with more. Even though the weight is the same, a bag with six smaller apples will last longer than one with less.
- Pay attention to the weekly ads and plan your grocery budget around what’s on sale. Your family might love bananas, but if they’re not on sale anywhere, buy what is on sale that week and save. Be sure to look for unadvertised deals. My Kroger recently had an unadvertised deal on pineapple for $1.00 each, which is an amazing price. Since pineapple freezes well, I bought several. Most fruit freezes well after it’s been washed, cut, and dried. You can also lay it out on a baking sheet, freeze it individually, and then add it to freezer bags. Vegetables also freeze well, but most do better after they’ve been cut, blanched, and dried.
- Asian markets have ridiculously low prices on produce and fresh herbs. Like…crazy low. If you’ve never been to one, I encourage you to go see what deals you can find. This is my go-to place for buying fresh herbs, which are usually less than $1 a bunch!
- Farmer’s markets have boomed in the past few years, and you can find some truly amazing deals on produce. But be warned, not everything is a deal. Get to know the vendors and try to buy from those who have small, local farms. You’ll likely get produce that was just picked and will last longer. Steer clear of the vendors who are wholesaling commercial produce, which is not always the best quality. Homegrown produce is far superior in flavor to produce that’s been artificially ripened and commercially grown.
- Shop at discount stores like Trader Joe’s and Aldi. My husband and I actually go to Trader Joe’s every weekend to stock up on some of our favorite produce items. Their prices are great, and I love the unique choices you can find (like this Heirloom Red Spinach that I adore). Aldi has everyday low prices on produce but also runs some UH-mazing weekly sales. Several readers have emailed me to let me know they also have great prices on organic and frozen produce.
You can also do things like grow your own garden, co-op, go to u-pick farms, and use coupons. Like the Facebook pages and sign up for newsletters of your favorite brands (Earthbound Farms, Driscoll’s, etc…). They often send out rare coupons to their most loyal fans.
How do you save on produce?