Number 8 – Buy Fresh Produce
When you purchase a item from the grocery store, you’re paying for more than the item itself. You’re paying for the cost to advertise, package, ship, store, and sell the item. If you want to save money, consider skipping the traditional grocery store – and look for inexpensive shopping alternatives.
Start A Garden
If you have the space, grow your own food. I’m going to do this next year, especially now that I’m eating only lean meats, fresh vegetables, and fruits. (JD and Kris from over at Get Rich Slowly have been tracking their time in the garden this year. There results have been very interesting.)
Depending on your level of green thumb-ed-ness, having your own garden can be a great way to save money – and it might give you a brand new, profitable, hobby. If you have room in your freezer or pantry, learn how to freeze or can foods, for those long winter months.
Find A Farmers Market
Not interested in growing your own, but you’d still like to save some money and enjoy fresh food? Consider a farmers market. If you’ve never been to a farmers market, you need to go! You’ll be amazed by how much better (in my opinion) the vegetables taste than the ones you find at the grocery store!
Here are some online tools to help you find a farmers market in your area -
If you can’t find a market using one of these online resources, don’t give up! Just ask around – I’m sure that there is a “hidden gem” in your area, just waiting to be discovered.
Parenthetically, since we live in the rural south, it’s easy to find fresh fruits and vegetables, especially during summer and early fall. Nearly every little town has a roadside booth, where one can buy fresh peaches, watermelons, squashes, turnips, and onions. Last month, I bought a big, beautiful bag of peaches for $3.00!
Coordinate With Friends
I don’t know if this is a southern thing, or a rural thing, or both – but, where I live, people love to share goodies from their gardens with each other. Last year, a friend brought us a “mess” of corn, several quart bags of green peas, and several 5-gallon buckets of potatoes. If you’ve got friend with a garden, you’ve got a great friend!
Taking things a bit further, if you have a friend who is into gardening, it would be a great idea to work with them, coordinating the foods you grow. For instance, maybe your friend really likes to grow potatoes, but isn’t interested in planting corn. Well, you plant the corn, the friend plants the potatoes, and when harvest time comes, you share.
Growing up, my dad and our next door neighbor, Mr. Terry, used to do this. I remember one warm day when I helped Mr. Terry pick strawberries. As he picked them, I was supposed to put them in a bucket. Instead, I just ate them, standing right there in the garden. When he stood and turned around, and asked for the strawberries, all he got was an empty bucket.