How to Save Money Buying Produce Year Round

produce stand How to Save Money Buying Produce Year Round

It’s not a secret that coupons for fruits or vegetables are very few and far between.  However, there are ways to save money on your grocery budget while still keeping a healthy diet that includes fresh produce.  Rely on the following common sense tips to save money:

  • Only buy what you need.  Go on and take a look at the produce bin inside your refrigerator and see how many items are near the brink of decomposing.  How about half eaten apples?  Got any of those in there?  You will make a big reduction on your grocery bill by buying only what you need and making sure everything you buy gets eaten.  Reduce waste!
  • Buy what’s on season:  Love blueberries in the winter?  So does my husband but at $4.99 a pint the cost is prohibitive.  But he knows that in July he can enjoy them to his heart content.  Fill your menu with mostly fruits and vegetables that are in season.  These are most likely to be on sale and therefore provide you the most savings.
  • Buy in bulk:  If you have a fruit or vegetable that your family consumes a lot, you will save a lot by buying the big bags of eat.  For example, in my home we go through 5 lbs of apples in five days easily.  It is cheaper to buy the five pound bag of apples than buy apples  by the pound.
  • Buy price reduced items.  Some grocery stores have a section where they have discounted fruits or vegetables that don’t look their best.  I often stop by this area to pick up browned bananas to make banana bread.  Why pay top dollar for them when I need them brown anyway?

When warmer weather comes around consider the following to save even more:

*  Consider having a garden (even if it is is just one pot of tomatoes or herbs that’s money in your pocket.
* Become friends with someone who gardens.  Summer gardens produce an overabundance of produce.  Make sure your friends are aware that you would be happy to take some of their garden excess off their hands.
*  Shop at a Farmer’s Market at the end of the day.  Most farmer’s market vendors are willing to discount the produce they sell at the end of the day to help them move the product.

What other tips do you have for saving money buying produce?

Comments

  1. JLR says:

    Buy frozen when fresh is out of season. You mentioned blueberries at 4.99 a pint. I can pick up a 12 oz bag of frozen blueberries on sale for less than $3.00. I use them to make muffins from scratch (another money saver). Check the frozen aisle for veggies as well. Walmart’s Great Value brand broccoli florets are .98 for a 14 oz bag. That’s regular price! They’re sold out a lot (probably because it’s such a great deal) so when they do have them in stock, I buy at least 4 bags. I’ve seen other shoppers do the same thing.

  2. Julie says:

    Give canning a try. It’s much easier than I thought, and you can find tutorials all over the web. Snag some extra fruit at the farmers market. Canned fruit isn’t quite the same as fresh, but at least you control the amount of sugar and preservatives, and the taste is far superior to those cans in the grocery store.
    My family eats fruit at every meal, and it sure saved us money and added some variety when I could open a jar of peaches or applesauce in February or March.

  3. MICHELLE says:

    We have a decent size garden and it’s just the two of us so what we can’t eat, we freeze…like carrots, peas, beans. We also freeze fruit that is in season in summer and that way we have it year round!

  4. Amy says:

    Can and freeze! Either from your farmer’s market, or at a great price at the grocery. Buy lots and can and/or freeze a supply for several months.

    • Anne says:

      Exactly!

      I canned one case of tomatoes today. I have another case of tomatoes to do and a case of peaches. We made peach jam and peaches (pitted and cut in half) last weekend.

      I plan on canning/freezing salsa, tomatillas, pickles yet. I also want to make jalapeno jam.

      I want to do cheeries but the guy at the farmers market said they are high. He is paying $44 a case right now and we are getting to the end of it’s season.

      I also froze 8 pounds of strawberries last weekend. Cost me $5 at the farmers market.

      I agree can and freeze what you have room and time for! We will be having homemade peach pie in December. LOL

  5. Val says:

    In the winter I look at the salad bar. Ours is filled with a ton of fruit. Granted it’s $4 a pound but in winter that’s what you would pay for a pint.

  6. Angie says:

    When blue berries & strawberries are on sale for $1 I stock up and freeze them. Great for smoothies, pancakes and muffins. I also plant a garden every year. What we can’t eat I freeze. I usually have enough hot peppers, bell peppers (for cooking), onions, chives, tomatoes and corn to last through the winter. This year I planted my herbs in pots so I could bring them in for the winter. They should continue producing until spring. BIG savings and very convenient. Home grown produce is much better for you and it has SO much more flavor.

  7. Lawanna says:

    Canning is a great way to enjoy produce year round. We got our first picking of tomatoes tonight. I should get more next week too. Then I’ll make pizza sauce and salsa and can it. We love it throughout the year….tasting fresh from the garden. Yum. Don’t believe everything you read online about canning. Start with http://www.homecanning.com and the Ball Blue Book. And get a canning buddy .. someone with more experience than you whom you can call and bounce things off of.

  8. mary b says:

    We also freeze many items when in season…like today we picked 13+ lbs of blueberries, many of which will be frozen.
    An easy project is to make freezer jam, which is easier than regular canning and the jam lasts up to a year in the freezer.
    I do find some ways to save on produce with coupons, often you can get deals on bagged lettuce, salads or other veggies (check Mfg. sites for them). Then sometimes your grocery store may run promos, for example mine runs a get free carrots & potatoes WYB a roast or turkey.
    Also on occasion there are produce coupons on Wine Tags, too.

  9. Jaycie says:

    I’m with everyone else–freeze produce when you get a good price on it. I have had real good luck with blueberries that we’ve picked fresh from a farm. I also freeze corn from the cobs. I blanch them a little, cool them and then cut them off and freeze them in Ziploc bags. (Learned how from here: http://www.pickyourown.org//freezingcorn.htm) Mercedes, I’m not kidding when I tell you that it tastes fresh in winter. (We throw it in our chili for every Bears game we watch!) :) Most farmstands will sell “yesterday’s corn” in big bags for real cheap. It’s the way to go.

    I’m still learning what freezes well and doesn’t but it’s definitely a way to save once you learn the basics.

  10. fairy says:

    I have a vegetable garden and have an abundance of tomatoes and bell peppers, but i need ideas on the best way to freeze both these products, any ideas?

  11. Tracey says:

    We have a garden that we seem to expand every year. I really need to learn about canning because my freezer is not big enough.Last year we froze peppers, beans, corn, zucchini & squash. I also go to an Amish organic stand. They have a ‘second day’ table where everything is $1.50. I have vegetables I pick from my garden that I don’t get to longer than that so I love the bargain table!

    • Anne says:

      I have an All American Pressure Canner. I bought it several years ago. It is expensive, but it is well worth it. But jeepers the sucker is heavy. LOL The pot is huge!

      See if you have a local County Extension Office they would be able to help you with canning. I think Williams-Sonoma stores had a free canning lesson last Sunday. I missed it. :-(

      The Ball Book of Canning is the Bible of canning.

  12. Anne says:

    I have froze 5 pints of blueberries this past week alone. Not to mention 8 plus pounds of strawberries.

  13. Jennifer says:

    Try craigslist too. We have found that some people will list things on there under the farm and garden section.

  14. Janet says:

    My family does not eat five pounds of apples before they go off but I learned this trick long ago.Buy large quantities and then find a way to use the rest it is still cheaper. Example buy 5 pounds of apples , also buy two jars of applesauce , place applesauce in large pan on stove top, slice the extra apples into the applesauce this makes it a quicker version of a sort of homemade chunky applesauce add cin and sugar if you like.
    Peaches can become jam, any berry can become jam, blueberries , bananas and strawberries all can be frozen and used for smoothies. Peel bananas before freezing.
    Buy only what is in season but buy a lot!

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