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There are a few questions I get A LOT, and one of them is: “How do you save on Produce, Meat and Dairy that doesn’t have coupons?”
* Remember that these items still go on sale so you can still save on them without the coupon. If you would like to save more though…
My first answer is: “I always buy my tweezers!” Meaning I always buy the items on the list that are free and make overage. Tweezers are one of those items that show up recurrently on my favorite grocery store list. Those items are really money off other things in your buggy.
My second answer is: “Don’t always look to buy it at the grocery store.”
The Farmer’s Market
Since we are only going to save by buying produce that is in season (and thus on sale), why not go directly to the grower? If you are near a medium to large farmers market you can get some great prices. We just headed to ours today.
What we got (price in parenthesis is the sale price at a grocery store):
32lbs of Squash at .37/lb (.99/lb)
21lbs of Zucchini at .57 /lb (.99/lb)
8lbs of Strawberries at $1.12/lb ($1.66 lb)
25 lbs of Peaches at .25/lb (.99/lb)
100 ears of Silver Queen Corn .14 cents ea or $7 per bushel (.25 ea)
25lbs of Vidalia Onions at .48/lb (.79/lb)
8lbs of Shelled Butter beans at $2.25 lb (not sold in stores)
(this is high $ purchase but it is a love, and well worth not having to shell them!)
Total Spent: $83
Total if purchased at the grocery store on sale: $163 or more
Total Saved: $80
(this will be added to our grocery budget numbers)
We are still in the process of blanching and freezing everything; I’ll post a final picture to give you an idea of quantity.
Want some tips to get the best prices??
The USDA has a program that can be very helpful for us. Go here and you can see the current market report for a large market near you. This will show exactly how much corn is being sold for at one of the larger markets. It will also give you an idea of what vegetables are at the market and are “in season”. While it might not be exactly what your area is offering it gives you an idea.
Open air markets are still a place where it is okay to “haggle”. Again check the market report, and you will have an idea of what is a fair price. If you are at a smaller market that is probably the price they paid to purchase the vegetables. If it is a farmer, then that is the price they would get if they took it to market so they shouldn’t mind selling it to you for that. It also doesn’t hurt to offer a few dollars less and let them talk you up to the fair market price.
My husband also likes the trick of “How much will you give you me for $xx” today this got him an entire half bushel of peaches for $5!
For smaller markets that do not sell in half bushels, look at your weekly grocery lists and see what grocery prices are for in season items. Your goal will be to get a little bit lower than those sale prices if possible. Ask questions about their produce:
Is it Local? Did they grow it? or did the purchase it to resell? Realize though that your best savings is in a market with more than 4 or 5 vendors. Competition breeds lower prices… I think I learned that in economics.
Do you have any tips for Farmer’s Market shopping?
Part 2 on Tuesday… Vegetable Co-ops