10 tips for saving money on produce

Justin Sullivan/GettyThere are tips that can save you a lot when buying produce.

  • There are tips that can make eating healthy more affordable.
  • Buying local, seasonal produce as often as possible keeps costs low.
  • Taking a little extra time to weigh produce, do some simple calculations, and compare competitors’ prices will also save you money.

Getting more fruits and vegetables in your diet is important for your health. This produce, from tomatoes and spinach to bananas and melons, provides key vitamins and minerals to keep our bodies functioning well. Fruits and veggies can also give you the energy to power through a long workday or hard workout, and they can also make your skin and hair glow. Although eating healthily can be expensive, if you follow some of the following tips, you’ll find it can be affordable.


Buy seasonal produce.

iStockCheck what’s in season.

When produce is in season, it is more bountiful and often travels a shorter distance to get to the store shelves. This means the price will also be lower, but only for the time that the produce is in season. Do a little bit of research beforehand to find what fruits and vegetables are in season in your area before you visit the store.


Stock your freezer with frozen fruits and veggies.

miran/FlickrConsider buying frozen veggies in bulk.

Frozen fruits and vegetables have been proven to be just as nutritious as fresh, with an added bonus of lasting longer. This is a great trick for enjoying berries in the dead of winter or Brussels sprouts in July.


Don’t be afraid to pick up discounted produce that is scarred or near expiring.

Dragon Images/ShutterstockYou can always freeze them.

More and more grocery stores are setting up small shelves of produce that might have bumps and bruises. You also might get lucky and see fruits and vegetables with manager special pricing, because they are about to spoil.

As long as you have time after your grocery trip to properly store these more fragile items (such as canning or freezing them), this can be a huge money saver.


Do the maths on individual items and pre-packaged.

Stephen Chernin/GettySometimes individual items are cheaper than buying in bulk.

Fruits and vegetables are priced by the item, the pound, or by package (think bags of oranges, apples, or potatoes). There’s no secret tip to reveal that one of these is cheaper than the other – you’ll just have to do a bit of maths to find which is the best price by the per unit value.


Weigh pre-packaged produce to find the biggest bang for your buck.

PXHereTake an extra moment to weigh the bags to find the heaviest.

While you are doing the maths on the per unit value, don’t forget to actually weigh bagged produce. These bags are packed by volume, so you might just find that one five-pound bag of potatoes is actually six pounds for the set five-pound bag price. According to this grocery store manual, bagged produce must reach a minimum fill, but there are often no overfill limits. This is a win for the consumer, as long as you take an extra moment to weigh the bags to find the heaviest.


Sign up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).

Ariel Schwartz/Tech InsiderThis is also a great way to support your community.

CSAs, or Community Supported Agriculture, is a system where you pay a farmer upfront to help support the farm and in return, you get a regular box of fresh, seasonal, and local fruits and vegetables. The initial cost can seem daunting, but for the amount of food you will receive for months to come, you will save tons of money compared to grocery store prices.


Opt for “ugly produce.”

Imperfect ProduceImperfect Produce is one company that sells ‘ugly’ produce.

If you aren’t shopping the shelves of not-quite-perfect produce at the grocery store, then try a system that saves produce not fit for grocery store shelves. For example, Imperfect Produce is a start-up that is growing in cities around the country, offering low prices on produce that is perfectly edible and nutritious, but not visually perfect.

Read more: ‘Ugly’ food is having a moment – here’s why you should be eating it


Price match your produce.

Megan Willett/INSIDERPrice matching is a great way to save money.

Some stores will offer price matching, even on produce. When you visit these stores, have some adverts from competitors ready (either paper or on your phone). Some major retailers that offer this price matching on produce include Walmart and Target, but don’t be afraid to ask your grocer if they offer a price matching policy.


Grow a garden, big or small.

ShutterstockConsider growing produce in your backyard.

Even city-dwellers can make a small herb garden, and it is worth it to do so. Seeds or young plants are cheap, and with the proper maintenance, they will last you a long time. If you have more space, grow plants that will thrive in your region and that you will eat often.

If you love salads, save money at the store by growing your own leafy greens, tomatoes, onions, and more.

Read more: 8 essentials everyone needs to start a garden from scratch


Check out your grocery’s weekly ads, and plan meals around the produce that is on sale.

While you might love squash and berries year-round, it might be time to go out of your comfort zone to save some money and find new favourites. Track your grocery store’s weekly ads, and plan your meals for the week around whatever produce is on sale. This also aligns with eating seasonally – you’ll often find that the items on sale are priced low because they are in season.

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