I’m not one to really keep up with the latest ABS research (that’s the Australian Bureau of Statistics if you’re wondering) but I did hear that the price of fresh produce – fruit and vegetables – has risen considerably this year. So you’re not imagining it if you think everything is a little more expensive every time you shop. I do have a lot of tips to save money on fresh produce so you don’t have to stress when the prices rise and I’ve put together 7 tips to save money on fresh produce.
When I first left my ‘real job’ nearly 7 years ago, I was super budget conscious. Without a full-time income I had to be and now, with two little kids we have to keep to our grocery budget.
But on the other hand, I don’t want that to mean we’re missing out on the goodies. Oh no, I’ll take any chance I can to sneak some veggies into my little men – although I have to say, they’re slowly getting better at eating them on their own.
It makes me really sad when I see that people aren’t eating healthily because ‘it’s so much more expensive.’ Feel free to shoot me off my high-horse but I call ‘excuses excuses!’
It’s really not more expensive, you just have to get used to it and follow some simple tips and tricks like my 7 tips to save money on fresh produce.
(You might also be interested in 10 tips to save you money in the kitchen)
7 tips to save money on fresh produce
1 Buy in season
Buying food when it’s in season means that you’re going to be buying local produce (you’re not paying for it to be transported so far) and it’s easier to grow (so less expensive).
In Australia, The Seasonal Food Guide is a great resource, otherwise, Google to find out what’s in season in your area.
2 Shop at the local farmers market
Support local farmers and save money because they only have what’s in season and it’s grown locally so hasn’t travelled. For the ultimate bargains, shop about 30 mins before closing time. The farmers are never keen on taking produce home. I love this because it’s also an experience for the kids. So many farmers are so enthusiastic about what they do and they’re happy to talk to kids about it.
3 Join a local co-op
Joining a co-op (where someone buys in bulk then divides it between the members) or find a service that does a set box is a great way to save. This way you know how much it is going to be each week plus you get what’s in season without having to do your research. You get good value for your money this way. I use Spray-free Farmacy in Brisbane
4 Be flexible in your cooking
Use different veggies and fruits interchangeably instead of sticking really rigidly to a recipe. For example for a stir-fry, you don’t have to use Asian veggies. Use carrot, broccoli and beans or whatever you can get for the best price. For curries and stews you can pretty much use whatever you like!
Check out this post for other substitutes – simple substitutes to save you moolah.
5 Grow some things yourself
Pick the things that are really easy like shallots. Most herbs will grow from cuttings to. Click here for my tutorial on how to grow basil from cuttings.
6 Buy up on special and freeze
When you see something on special buy up and freeze it. For veggies like broccoli, beans, snow peas, carrots… par-boil them (steam them until they’re almost done), run them under cold water to stop them cooking then freeze in a single layer. Things like berries, mango, banana and pineapple all freeze well – great for smoothies and baking or eaten as a frozen snack.
7 Buy frozen.
I recommend organic to avoid pesticides but frozen is just as good as fresh in most instances – sometimes it’s even better as it’s snap frozen at its peak freshness.
There you have it – 7 tips to save money on fresh produce. I hope this can help you stretch your grocery budget a little bit further. Don’t forget to grab a free copy of my Saving Dinner Time eBook for more tips.