How to Save on Produce
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How to Save on Produce

Posted on Monday, March 19th, 2012 at 8:58 am
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It has been said that eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables is a great way to stay healthy.  Unfortunately, fresh food often costs more than than junk food does.  This doesn’t mean that your family has to do without them, though!  Here are a few ways to save on produce.

Grow a garden.  Those of you who have a large backyard can set aside part of it and create a garden.  This will require an initial investment of time, effort, and money.  Eventually, the seeds you have planted will grow big and produce plenty of fresh vegetables.  Once you get to that point, then it won’t cost anything extra for you to go and harvest some of those vegetables when they are ready.

Read the sales papers.  Grocery stores will put certain fruits and vegetables on sale from time to time.  The best way to find out about the produce that will be on sales is to check over the weekly sales paper.  Sometimes, this is done at the end of a season.  For example, you will notice that things like watermelon and strawberries tend to go on sale at the end of Summer.  Buy your produce during the sale.

Cut the food yourself.  Buying a whole watermelon, that you have to cut up after you get home, is going to cost less money than if you buy a package of pre-cut watermelon.  You end up paying for the convenience of having it already cut, and ready to eat, when you get home.  Purchasing a whole watermelon, (or other type of melon), and cutting it yourself is going to give you more food than the small package of pre-cut melon will.

Visit a Farmers’ Market.  This is a great way to pick up some fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers when the foods are in season.  You can purchase exactly the amount that your family will be able to eat before it goes bad.  It is not unheard of for the vendors to throw in an extra tomato, or a few extra strawberries for free, once in a while.

What are you going to use that vegetable in?  This is a good question to ask yourself as you are grocery shopping.  If you already have in mind the recipe that you plan on making this week, then it is very likely that you will use those vegetables before they go bad.  If the food goes bad before you can use it, then you have wasted the money you spent to buy the food.

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.