Saving Money, Top 10

Top 10 Ways To Save Money – Number 8 – Buy Fresh Produce

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 –

USDA Farmers Market Search

Local Harvest

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. 🙂

6 thoughts on “Top 10 Ways To Save Money – Number 8 – Buy Fresh Produce

  1. I completely agree. I get so mad at people complaining about the high cost of healthy food and fresh produce. A bag of apples costs the same as a bag of chips, but you can believe that bag of apples will last longer, keep you fuller longer, and be much healthier than that bag of chips!

    This year Mr Chiots and I started growing some of our own food and it has honestly saved us hundreds of dollars. We also buy all of our produce at a local farm market, it’s much cheaper and it supports the local economy & food chain. We have been preserving a lot of that food as well so we can continue to eat locally throughout the winter.

    I just bought a bushel of apples that I picked up at the local orchard for only $2. That’s a lot of apple sauce & apple cobbler this winter for only $2.

    It’s so much cheaper to buy ingredients and make things yourself from scratch (like bread & pancakes). I really hate that new KFC commercial where the mom takes the kids into the grocery store to buy the ingredients to make fried chicken and they decide it’s cheaper to buy at KFC (mind you they included the full price of a bag of flour, didn’t calculate the cost of the amount of flour they were going to use from the bag). GRRR Americans can be so ignorant when it comes to certain things.

  2. I sometimes wonder if really vendors at popular farmer’s markets jack up their prices though. For instance, the NYC farmer’s market in Union Square seems like they get a lot of tourists walking through, and I wonder if their fame causes them to charge a few more dollars than if their only customers were saavy locals.

  3. I’m still renting, saving to buy a house (I’m not doing it without a down payment, even if it is possible!). Sometimes I wonder if I’d be better off setting my goal lower and looking for a condo or townhouse. Thanks for the reminder that if I buy a house, I can have a garden! I don’t like to garden, but I’ll do it for the food–it tastes better, and is cheaper!

  4. i had a very small plot last year, about 6 x 5, with about 5 tomato plants. I kept track of all the produce i got out of it and the tomatoes topped the list with something like 133 tomaotoes. Amazing. I froze a lot of them for winter stew base.

    I plan to double the size next year but i need a better fencing system.

  5. Here’s a lesson I’ve learned many times…

    Make sure when you buy fresh produce that you USE it!

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten produce with a certain dish in mind, then meal plans change, and before you know it the produce has gone bad.

    The money saver then tuns into a money waster.

  6. Farmers Markets are awesome. Not only is the food cheaper by more than half, but if what you’re buying can be grown locally, it will be from a local grower. Also some areas have co-ops that you can buy into as well, and for some that may be worthwhile as well.

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