Today, it is hard to eat healthy while on a budget. The prices of healthier foods seem to be two to three times as much as those of junk food. You can pick up junk food at the Dollar Tree for, well, a dollar plus tax. But, what about healthy nutritious meals?
There are a handful of places to find fresh fruits and vegetables, but if you are new to healthy eating, it can be a challenge to track down the right places.
Many of us visit stores on a weekly or monthly basis and with today’s economy, we are all looking to save a couple bucks. If you live a couple miles away from the store, it makes shopping easier. However, if you don’t know how shop with a grocery store’s market, it can be a challenge.
Most of us have a favorite grocery store that we enjoy shopping at for all our trips. The problem comes when prices seem to be twice the size of our budgets.
Shop Sale Prices
The easiest way to save money when buying fresh produce at grocery stores is to shop the sale ad prices. Simply meaning that you look at the sale ad each week and plan your list from that. If you want to make fajitas this week, but bell peppers are $2 each, you would want to wait until they are on sale for 4/$5 if you need them or when they hit $1 for each of them.
Today, many stores offer reward programs if you buy from them. For example, Safeway offers J4U prices and points for gas, while Kroger offers points and coupons; it all depends on which store you visit. However, by using the store’s rewards, you can save money. If organic bananas are usually $1.89 per pound, but Safeway has given you a J4U price for organic bananas at $.89 per pound, you would be going to Safeway to save money.
Farmer’s Markets and Road Side Markets
Most city’s have a farmer’s market that is close by. Some places have Farmer’s Markets that meet once a week, while others have so many that they require a week long Farmer’s Market. No matter what your city offers, fresh produce is just around the corner. Buy from local farmers who work hard to provide you with excellent produce and setup their markets in the early morning hours to come to you.
One of the best places for finding affordable produce are ethnic markets. They are stores that often sell Asian foods and have extraordinary prices on fruits and vegetables. You may normally pay almost $2 for a bunch of green onions, but if you take a few minutes to explore an ethnic market, you can catch them with an unbelievable price of 2/$1. The affordable prices do not stop there though, find your local ethnic market to get more amazing prices.
Locally grown and organic produce have become more popular over the last few years. While more folks are looking for chemical-free produce, it can be hard to find organic produce at a great price.
U-Pick Farms are a rare find in some areas, however finding a farm that allows you to pick what you want is not only a money saver, but can be a real adventure too.
Don’t pay labor costs
Why pay for someone else to pick your produce when you have the time to do it yourself? You can save a few dollars by paying for what you pick, instead of paying for someone to pick them for you.
Get the produce you want
An added benefit of visiting a U-Pick Farm is that you can pick the produce you want. If you prefer blueberries that are have a tart flavor, head on over to your local U-Pick Farm and find the berries you need, rather than sorting through cartons at your local grocery store trying to find the carton with the most unripe berries.
CSA is a wonderful program for those who have the chance to try it out. With a wonderful opportunity to try out vegetables you may not have heard of and support a local farm or group of farmers.
Wide Variety of Products
Some CSA programs offer other products with their service such as eggs, cheese, sour cream, butter, milk, locally made pasta and much more. No matter what you are looking for, you can find a CSA in your area and enjoy fresh vegetables every week. While some let you choose what you want each week, others provide you with a newsletter, recipes and a surprise list of what you will receive.
Plant Your Own Garden
The idea of planting your own garden is a dream to many–whether it is a good dream or a nightmare, well it all depends. However, planting your own garden is a great way to save money. Spending $100 or less on seeds, plants, fertilizer, compost and more allows you to create a one-of-a-kind garden for your family.
While shopping sales and using store rewards help you save a good amount of money, there are other ways to save money on produce including buying produce that are in season, buying excess when you find a sale and freezing them.
While finding affordable produce may be a challenge, it does not have to be impossible.