5 Ways to Save Money on Fruits and Vegetables
We eat a lot of produce. Like a lot. Think 15 pounds of apples in a week if I ration.
“No, you cannot have another apple, kid. How are you not on the toilet all day? Eat a banana.”
Most people agree you should eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. We try to emphasize the vegetables over the fruits, but there’s the whole fruit-tastes-way-better thing. So if we eat plants I call it a win.
Here are 5 ways I buy fruits and vegetables without opening a wholesale grocery store account.
1. Sales at Aldi
Here’s Aldi again. Hands down the best prices on produce. They stock all the staples – lettuce, celery, apples, bananas – and carry great prices on whatever’s in season. Additionally, they sell LOTS of certified organics at prices that beat other stores.
2. Bulk Natural Foods
My other staple is Bulk Natural Foods. They sell seasonal produce by the box throughout the year. We buy bushels of peaches in the summer, then apples and sweet potatoes in the fall. If we don’t eat it all, I freeze it the easy way.
Make friends at your local farmer’s market or with the couple selling out of their truck. I can’t tell you how much free produce I receive by shopping at one stand, building relationships, and negotiating deals.
The best ones involve getting “seconds” (bruised and overripe produce – perfect for freezing or cooking) for free or asking something like “If I fill this box every week, what would you charge?”
4. Frozen Vegetables & Fruit
If I buy something that’s not in season, I buy frozen. Frozen produce is picked when it’s ripe, frozen quickly, then shipped. Conversely, out of season fresh produce is picked unripe, sprayed to keep it from ripening, then shipped. The taste and quality is inferior. And frozen produce retains most of its nutrients.
Aldi comes to the rescue with consistent $1/bag frozen vegetables. Costco is a great source for organic frozen produce at rock bottom prices.
It’s not everybody’s thing, but I slowly cultivated my gardening skills over the last 7 years. I started with a pot of tomatoes and lettuce (epic tomato fail). Then expanded to cucumbers and herbs (epic cucumber fail).
I won’t claim gardening absolutely saves you money. It can, but be willing to slowly learn and experiment.
What We Avoid
Generally, we avoid canned vegetables outside of tomatoes and tomato paste. They’re nutritionally inferior, there’s the whole BPA thing, and the taste is ho-hum.
Almost everyone agrees that lots of plants is good for your diet. Maybe I need to ration our apples a little better. However, as long as I follow these 5 guidelines, we keep a healthy variety of fruits and vegetables in our house without breaking the bank.