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12 Simple Ways to Save Money on Produce

I think we can all agree that produce is pricey. 

We hear all the time about the importance of eating produce for our health, and the American Heart Association recommends four to five servings each of fruits and vegetables a day. 

That can take a really big chunk of our grocery budget!

So how do we get the servings of fruits and vegetables we need without breaking the bank? 

Implement these 12 tips and you will be well on your way to saving a bunch of money on produce.

1. Check what you have on hand

Before looking at produce sales or creating a shopping list, first check to see what fruits and vegetables you have in your home. 

Often times, fruits and veggies get put in lower fridge drawers or accidentally pushed to the back of the fridge where they are forgotten about. I have definitely found a 3 week old bag of lettuce hidden in the depths of the vegetable drawer… lol.

We recommend keeping perishable produce in plain sight in your fridge. This will help you avoid overbuying when you go grocery shopping, and it will help you to remember to eat the produce you already have.

Also, check your freezer and pantry for canned or frozen produce. 

Move older produce that needs to be eaten towards the front of the freezer/pantry or even onto your counter in plain sight to help you remember to eat it.

2. Shop seasonal produce

Have you noticed that certain produce is associated with certain seasons? 

For example: watermelon is considered a summer fruit, and they are generally cheaper during that time of the year. This is because farmers harvest a large abundance of watermelon in summer due to the crop being in season. 

When there is an abundance of a crop, that increases the opportunity for lower prices.

Not sure what produce is in season right now? Check out our Month-to-month Seasonal Produce Guide.

3. Compare prices and make a shopping list

Now that you know what produce you have hand and what’s in season, it’s time to make a shopping list! 

I like to start by picking 2 stores nearby my home that are a short driving distance from each other to compare produce prices. 

I recommend starting with Walmart (everyday low prices) and a grocery store like Kroger, Publix, WinCo, or whatever you have in your area. 

Now, take a piece of paper and divide it into 3 sections. 

Title the 1st column with your first chosen store, the 2nd column with your second store, and the third column with “Max Spend”. 

Check you stores’ weekly ads (or app) for pricing of the produce you’d like to purchase.

Then, write down the prices and fruits/vegetables under their respective store.

Circle the fruit/vegetables under the store that has the cheaper price.

Then, write down how much you’d like to spend on that fruit/vegetable in the Max Spend column. 

I generally only use that column for produce that is priced per lb (pound). This helps me to be mindful of how much I am spending and avoid buying too much.

And now you know which fruits and vegetables to buy at each store! (You don’t have to go to both stores – but we highly recommend it! Especially if the stores are close by each other.) 

If writing this out by hand isn’t your jam, then an Excel spreadsheet or Google sheet works well too. 

Or you can even use the notes app on your phone!

    4. Shop Farmers Markets and Cooperatives ONLY when they are more affordable than your grocery stores

    I am all for shopping farmers markets and Co-ops and supporting local farmers… when you can afford it. 

    But if the prices are higher than the grocery stores when you’re trying to save money, then shopping farmers markets is a no-go. 

    It’s OK to put your financial needs and the needs of your family first.

    Use your Produce Price Comparison printable to compare prices anywhere you shop, and do not overpay for your fruits and vegetables. 

    5. Know your stores' sales cycles

    I cannot tell you how many times (before I started couponing) that I have went to pick up a couple of produce deals at my local grocery store and the sales had changed. So annoying.

    Most grocery stores around the country have weekly ads that start mid-week (Wednesday or Thursday.) 

    So, before you make the drive to the store, check your store’s weekly ad to make sure that the deals you had planned to pick up are still valid.

    6. Weigh your fresh produce

    You have probably noticed the scales in the produce department of your local grocery store. 

    At this point in the savings process, you will have chosen your in-season produce and compared prices to find the best deals. 

    When you get into the store to purchase your fruits and vegetables, it’s important to weigh them to get a good estimate of how much you’ll spend on them. 

    We want to stay within that “max spend” that was calculated on the produce price comparison.

    7. You DO NOT have to buy the whole bag of grapes

    Contrary to popular belief, you do not always have to buy full bags of produce. 

    Grapes, for example, are almost always priced per/lb and stored in a Ziploc bag with holes. 

    To save money, you can move some of the grapes out of their Ziploc bag into another bag of grapes to lower the weight. 

    Or you can take the amount of grapes you want out of their Ziploc bag and put them in a plastic produce bag. 

    Most pieces of produce have a little sticker on them with a 4-digit number code. This code is for the cashier at the register to type in. 

    If you don’t take the original container with you for the grapes or other type of produce, make sure to write down the 4-digit code for the cashier.

    The only time when you would have to buy an entire bag of produce is when it is priced-per-bag. Those bags of produce usually have a price tag on them to let you know they must be purchased in full. 

    For example, I’ve seen bags of apples priced at $6.99 each. So would steer clear of those and buy single apples priced per/lb.

    8. Use Coupons

    Did you know that there are coupons you can print to use on produce? These coupons will scan at the checkout register and take the specified dollar amount off your produce price.

    You can check coupons.com or manufacturers’ websites to see if any coupons are available.

    9. Supplement with longer-lasting produce

    Don’t forget about frozen, canned, dried, and produce in to-go packages and jars. 

    These types of preserved produce last longer than fresh produce and make for a great, convenient way to get your servings of fruits and vegetables for often times cheaper.

    Make sure to compare prices of these as well on your Produce Price Comparison printable.

    10. Use rebate apps

    Did you know that there are several rebate apps that will give you cash back for buying produce? These are the apps I’ve seen with produce rebates that I personally use:

    Ibotta

    This is my go-to rebate app for grocery shopping. 

    What’s awesome is that there is a section in the app under each grocery store specifically for produce rebates.

    Here’s an example of a couple produce deals on the app:

    There are new deals that pop up on the app all the time, so check it out for yourself!

    If you don’t have Ibotta already, you can make $5 on the app by signing up using my referral code and submitting your first receipt.

    Use the code: HYDHOJL

    Here’s the link to sign up: https://bit.ly/3UqMNQW

    Fetch

    This is my second favorite rebate app because it is so easy to use. I’ve seen rebates for canned produce as well as fruit cups and more.

    I like that Fetch is a points-based app. You earn points by submitting your receipts and you cash out the points for gift cards!

    Here’s some examples of produce rebates on Fetch:

    Here is my referral code for Fetch. Sign up and get 500 points ($0.50) just for joining. 

    Use code: UWJGMC

    Here’s the link to sign up: https://bit.ly/3KhoPnW

    Shopkick

    The last rebate app I use and love is Shopkick. The produce deals are more few and far between on this app, but I always check before going grocery shopping.

    Like Fetch, it is a points-based app. The points are called “kicks.” What I like about it is that you get to scan items and earn kicks without even purchasing anything.

    But you make the most points and money back by purchasing the products.

    Here’s a couple examples of healthier food and drink options on Shopkick:

    Sign up to receive 500 kicks ($2): https://bit.ly/3NVkkjv

    Use code: DEAL709682

    11. Do not be afraid to stock up!

    This tip pertains mostly to frozen, canned, dried, jarred, and packaged produce. (Anything that will last longer than fresh produce!) 

    Every time a great deal comes around for certain products that you and your family eats, do not be afraid to buy extra! Having those extra products on hand means you won’t have to buy them at full price later on. That’s how we beat inflation!

    12. Know when fresh produce is ripe

    In order to keep all of our favorite fruits and vegetables in stock, many grocery stores import produce from other countries. 

    Sometimes that causes the produce to be VERY unripe in the stores. This is because unripe fruit and veggies can handle more jostling during transport.

    So when you purchase your produce and bring it home, it is your job to know when it is ripe to eat.

    A quick YouTube search of “How to tell when _______ is ripe” will help you determine when to eat your produce. 

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