One of the biggest myths about couponing is that you can only save on junk, and there are no deals on healthy food. While it’s true that we’re more likely to find coupons for personal care products and packaged food, there are ways to give your family plenty of healthy produce while sticking to your “Shoestring Budget.” I like to put some of my savings from those other items into healthy, fresh produce for my family, but I also want to get as much produce for my money as possible.
Here are my top 5 ways to save:
- Shop the Sales: Your favorites might not be on sale every week, but there’s almost always something at a reasonable price. Check the sale ad to find out which produce items are the most bang for your buck, and choose those things.
- Shop in Season, or Buy Frozen: This can be hard in the winter, but during the other seasons you’ll find better deals on items that are in season. If you want something that’s not in season, consider frozen–the nutritional quality is comparable, and it’ll probably be a better deal.
- Shop somewhere other than the grocery store: Do you have a nearby farm market or other “alternate” place with great prices on produce? It might be worth a stop once a week to grab their best deals. I got all the produce above for less than $20 at Green Farms, including 3 peppers for $1, and 2 broccoli heads for $1. Aldi is another favorite of mine for produce deals.
- Look for quantity and quality: That 5-lb bag of carrots pictured above was only a few cents more than buying two 1-lb bags. With four kids who think eating whole carrots like bunnies is fun, so that’s a great deal for me! Bigger bags of apples or potatoes are almost always a better deal than loose ones. As for quality, look over your produce really carefully. Don’t pay for bruised apples, squooshed grapes, or moldy strawberries–your money is wasted before you even leave the store!
- Find a great deal and freeze it: I love this tip for fresh-picked berries in the summer, but it’s good all year long! It also works for fruit that’s on its last leg–rather than throw it out, throw it in the freezer! I use frozen bananas and berries in smoothies, and frozen veggies in soup or casseroles. Frozen bananas are also great to have on hand for banana bread–just thaw, mash, and bake!
Bonus tip: Keep an eye out for the SavingStar Healthy Offer of the Week–they usually offer a percentage off a specific produce item, and it’s another great way to save.
I mentioned Green Farms in Alliance and East Canton, and of course Aldi as favorites for produce shopping. I also love Beiler’s in Uniontown, the Hartville Marketplace, and just about anywhere in Amish Country for produce deals. Which other places have great produce quality and prices in Northeast Ohio? Let’s start a list in the comments!