Great Money-Saving Secrets for Buying Produce

When you live on a budget, a trip to the local produce section can send your wallet into a fit of hysterics! Short of growing your own garden, here are some workable strategies to decrease the amount you spend on fresh fruits and vegetables, while not sacrificing quality and flavor!


1. Focus on quality, and not appearance. There is a reason for the adage “never judge a book by its cover!” Often times, the items that look bruised, discolored, and a bit wrinkly, will be overlooked; however, don’t be so quick to pass up these forlorn foodstuffs. Many items, fruits especially, are just reaching their peak of flavor when they look their worst; for example: mangoes, pineapple, peaches and plums. Simply stated, if it looks shiny and new, it’s probably unripe.


2. When looking for the day-old items, it’s best to get there early, when shopping in stores. Most produce deliveries are made in the wee hours of the morning; therefore, chances are good that overripe, less than perfect items are still on display. This gives you time to rummage around and pick out the best of the ‘worst’.


3. Don’t be afraid to dig around in the tables and displays. Even with product rotation, sometimes things are overlooked, and you may just find those prize-winning peaches underneath, truly ripe for the picking. Fresh fruit displays, often presented at angles, in boxes, contain more than one layer of fruit per box.


4. When searching for prepackaged items, such as salads, and vegetable party trays, always check the expiration date. If the item will be expiring within the next day or so, and it hasn’t been marked down already, you can always request a markdown based on the upcoming expiration of the item.


5. Once you have selected what you want, simply request that they mark down items due to age, or damaged appearance. Most retailers will be more than happy to mark down damaged items, since making some income from damaged merchandise is preferable to throwing it away.


6. Cut back on laziness! Consumer products base their appeal on convenience.

Time-saving items tempt many consumers into spending unnecessarily! Don’t be lured by the chunked cantaloupe, or the prepackaged broccoli, when in reality you’re paying for speed, and sacrificing taste and quality! You can clean and cut your own fresh fruits and veggies, knowing that what you’ve bought wasn’t cut days or weeks ago, and save enormously in the process. Example: One whole seedless watermelon (20 lbs): $4.99 vs. One pre-cut, wrapped piece of seedless watermelon (5lbs): $3.00


Using even one of these ideas, you can start enjoying fresh fruits and veggies again, and you and your wallet won’t run screaming for the hills!

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