We all know that the health benefits of eating well are priceless. Yet the costs of fresh foods can get expensive. Organic products can sometimes be twice to three times the price of regular items! Here are some of our most creative and strategic money-saving ways to save on fresh food.
Good news: coupons for healthy and organic products actually do exist! Driscoll, Bolthouse Farms and Naked Juice offer printable coupons right from their sites for up to $1.00 off products. Coupons are also found on company's Facebook pages. "Like" their page and you'll receive special offers. You can also sign up on a company's website and subscribe to their newsletter to receive coupons via email. The Krazy Coupon Lady newsletter features a daily roundup of top deals, often deals with direct links to coupons that will save you money on fresh foods.
Support your local farmers—and save money! Through a co-op, you sign up and receive a share of a farmer's crop by the week or month. We've each been doing this for the past couple of years and not only is it exciting to receive a box of goods, but the fun is discovering new produce that we typically wouldn't purchase. To get started, go online and contact your local community supported agriculture program (CSA) for a listing of participating farms in your area.
What in the world is "cow-pooling"? Basically, the concept is to buy meat in bulk. Purchase a cow from a local farmer and split the expense and meat with friends or family. Keep in mind that meat can be frozen for up to a year. Prices for organic beef can be in the upwards of $6.00 – $7.00 per pound at a grocer versus under $2.00 per pound with "cow-pooling."
4. Buy in season
One of the best ways to save on fruits and vegetables is to purchase them when they're in season. We often purchase large volumes of strawberries, for example, when their prices drop to less than $1.00 a pint. Most of them are then frozen for future use. This past December, I found myself using frozen strawberries I had picked in July for smoothies.
5. Pick your own
An activity like picking your own apples, cherries or blueberries is a great family activity. My kids can spend hours pulling apples from trees and even enjoy eating them fresh on the spot. The price of a pint of blueberries at a farm may cost $0.89, versus the in-store price of $3.29. This is also another time to buy big and freeze what you don't eat right away.
6. Store sales
Watch your newspapers or emails for extra savings on fresh produce at your local stores. To avoid going to multiple places in order to get the best deals, find a store like Walmart that carries produce and will price match. We do this all of the time. Grocery stores will offer a few "loss leader" items at a really low price to entice you to shop at their store. Simply take a copy of the newspaper ad to Walmart and if it's the exact product, Walmart will price match. I just bought a pound of bananas that were $0.52/lb for only $0.32/lb when I brought my Safeway ad to Walmart.
7. Rebate apps
By now you've probably heard all about rebate apps like Ibotta, Checkout 51 and Shopmium. These downloadable rebate apps feature cash-back offers for purchasing specific products from specific stores on their app. What's exciting is that rebate apps include fresh food! Checkout 51, for example, is offering money back for eggs and salad mix this week. Simply purchase the item. Next, scan the product barcode into the app along with the receipt and you'll start saving. Just by purchasing eggs and salad mix, I earned $0.75. Sometimes you can even stack a manufacturer coupon with the rebate app offer and the savings double!
It's a great idea to know the markdown schedule at your local stores. For us, Kroger marks down produce on Tuesdays. There's nothing wrong with the produce—the store is simply getting ready for their shipment of new items the following day. We've been known to score bags of organic lettuce for $0.25!
With these tips we hope you see that purchasing fresh foods—and eating healthy— doesn't have to break your budget. We encourage you to try these methods and to be creative with the ways you save!