We all know that even on a frugal budget, we still need to eat healthy foods. Of course, that means that we need to include as many fruits and veggies as we possibly can. But, what is a frugalite to do? It seems that fruit and vegetables are becoming more and more expensive all the time (along with...um...everything else!) So, here are five new frugal tips on how to buy fruit and veg for less.
- Grow it. For some of us, this isn't an option. But, for most of us we can grow at least a few fruits and veggies to supplement our food supplies. I'm a (happy!) apartment dweller, and some years I've had some success with growing veggies in containers. If you have a yard of your own, then a garden is the obvious way to grow your produce. Aim to produce the veggies and fruits that you can easily freeze, can, or otherwise keep on hand for longer.
- Check for markdowns. Get familiar with when your local supermarket marks down their produce. (This is not the time to be shy, frugalites! Ask the workers in the produce department when the produce gets reduced.) Certain items - like bananas - are marked down often, since they go off quickly. Bananas can easily be frozen in chunks for smoothies. Or, mash those nasty bananas in 1-cup portions in freezer bags and you're prepared at any time to whip up some fresh and yummy banana bread or muffins. Other overripe fruits like pears or peaches can similarly be mashed and are excellent for baking.
- Get stuff from friends and family. No, I'm not exactly suggesting that you become a big moocher. (hardy har har.) But, when your pals have extras, don't be embarrassed to take it, and gladly. Or, you could do a swap.
- Farmers markets - sometimes. It just depends on where you live. Sometimes, farmers markets are a fantastic way to save money on your fresh produce. Other times, farmers markets are actually far more expensive than the grocery store. This is where knowing your prices really helps - you'll know quickly if you can find true bargains at local markets.
- Stock up on sales items. Fresh berries, peaches, and other fruits are great when frozen. Again - these make for quick and handy options for smoothies. (Minus the $5 price tag that most smoothie joints charge!) Ditto for veggies on sale...if the price is fantastic, then stock up and freeze or can those little vitamin-packed babies up! (I'll be totally honest -- I'm not a canner by any means, but even I can freeze with some finesse.)