Extreme Couponing Tip: Evaluate Bagged vs. Loose Produce Options

When deciding between bagged or loose produce items, there are several factors to consider, including type, weight, and convenience.

On average, bulk-bagged produce is less expensive. If you know what to look for, you can save up to 50% just by purchasing something already in a bag. The best deals usually are on potatoes, apples, carrots, oranges, and onions. At my local grocery store, they sell brown paper bags of apples that include a coupon for $1 off when you buy the bag as opposed to the loose apples. Make sure to carefully check the bag for bruised or damaged produce. Possible downsides to buying bagged fruits and veggies are that the produce tends to be smaller than the pricier individual items, and you may end up with more than you’ll use. If you have a small family, you can cook, can, or freeze the extra or split a large, less-expensive bag with another family or a neighbor.

Exceptions include pre-sliced or pre-cut produce, such as broccoli florets, snapped green beans, or shucked corn on the cob which all tend to be much more expensive than buying the loose product and doing the preparation yourself. You’ll also want to evaluate items like bagged lettuce vs. buying a head, bunched spinach vs. bagged to see which is cheaper per ounce/amount. Time is also a factor. For some, products such as peeled baby carrots save time and are convenient for quick snacks and tend to last longer than their loose full-size counterparts.