How to Save Money on Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
We all know that eating fresh fruits and veggies is better for our children and ourselves, but it can be very costly and cut a big chunk out of our budget. Over the years I have come up with some inventive ways to save money on fruits and veggies that work well for me and my family and hopefully it can help you. Some may not work for you in your area, but I think you can get a basic idea and work it into your lifestyle.
Growing your own
Growing your own is always the easiest way to save money on fruits and veggies and it is fairly simple to do if you have the space to plant a garden. Now, don’t go getting all nervous if you don’t have a green thumb, because I don’t either! Here is a list of fairly easy ones to grow and get you started learning some basic gardening skills. Don’t have a big yard for a garden? Try planting some in containers or window boxes, that’s what we do! A lot of cities now offer a community garden, this is a great idea if you live in an apartment or don’t have the yard space to plant your own garden.
Here are a few of my favorites:
- Squash or Zucchini – You will only need to plant one (or more, if you have a bigger family) of these as they are a very high yielding plant. They do take up more room than other vegetables that you can grow at home, so keep that in mind when deciding what you want to plant. If you have the yard space, be sure and leave lots of space between these and your other plants.
- Carrots- Don’t take up very much room to plant, although they do need a deep soil base to grow. Don’t throw those tops away! They are great added to a salad.
- Cucumbers- These take up quite a bit of space so make sure you plant them far enough apart. This plant spreads out just like the squash plants.
- Tomatoes- These are great plants to place in planter containers. I recommend using tomato cages around them. This will help them to stand up tall and strong. You can find them at your local hardware store. We got ours at Fred Meyers for around $2.50 each on sale. They average about $4-6 depending on quality.
- Strawberries- These can be grown in a pot, window box or straight into the ground. Our’s have grown back over the years, so we haven’t had to replant them. The grandkids love coming over and picking their very own strawberry and eating it right away. Don’t let your dogs know how good they are. Our’s decided to pick them for themselves last year!
- Lettuce- Plant a few different varieties and you will have yourself a killer salad. They are quick growing and continue to grow as you cut them over and over again.
- Potatoes- Simple cut up several old, rotten, potatoes in quarters and place in the ground. If you have a really deep box, you can plant them that way, but generally they do best planted right into the ground. The leaves are poisonous to cats and dogs, so make sure you plant them in an area that they can’t get to them.
- Garlic- If you use a lot of garlic in your cooking, try growing it yourself. It grows great in a planter container, but make sure it has room to grow tall.
- Green Onions and Chives- These grow great in planter containers. I love walking outside and cutting some off the plant to use whenever I need some.
- Herbs- If you use a lot of herbs in your cooking, you should really consider growing your own. They are really easy to grow and they need very little attention. You can use them fresh, or you can easily dry them out and keep them in a mason jar so you have them throughout the winter too.
Buy in Bulk
If you buy in bulk when items are in season you will get the most bang for your buck! You do end up with a bigger up front cost, but it should save you money in the long run. Make sure you only do this with foods that you know your family will eat. You don’t want to buy something in bulk and then have it go to waste. If you have a food dehydrator, foodsaver, or if you like to can, buying in bulk will be a great option for you.
Shake off wet veggies before buying!
This is something I have been doing for years. It might sound like a silly thing to do, but grocery stores often mist their fresh veggies to keep them longer. When you are paying by the ounce or pound you will pay more if they are sopping wet. Give them a good shake before you put them in a bag, if you get funny stares so be it! You will be the one smiling all the way to the bank!
Weigh all pre-packaged produce!
Ryo and I do this with all of our carrots, potatoes, and other veggies and fruits that have been pre-packaged. Make a game of finding the best bang for your buck. Check a few of the packages of potatoes to see if I am correct. They may only be different by an ounce or two but if you’re paying for it you might as well get the bigger bag. We have found that with some things there can be a big difference between bags.
Shop farmers market or roadside stands.
Often times I have gotten the best deal on the side of the road. These places often sell their produce for much less than your local grocery store and you are supporting the hard working men and women of your community as well. This can really save you some money when it comes to buying organic vegetables and fruits.
Do you have any tips on saving money on fruits and veggies?? Tell me about it in the comments, I may just give one of your ideas a try!
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