Saturday, March 20, 2010

Produce Savings

There are some fool proof ways to cut back on your groceries. We all know about coupons, and rebates, we even know to look for smokin’ advertised sales. Those are the big three. But I was shocked when I read a website today that actually recommended that consumers should not buy fresh produce in order to save money at the register. Eating healthy is a priority in my home. My three growing kids need lots of nutrients, I can’t even imagine deciding to cut their nutrition in order to save a few bucks.

That’s crazy talk. Obviously the author hasn’t been shopping at the right stores. County Market puts several items on sale in the produce department each week. Then again, if I looked at my receipt without my coupons or ad savings, I can easily see where someone who wasn’t paying attention could spend more in produce than in the meat department.

There are 3 big savers in produce. First is the advertised Produce sales can save you 20-40%. This week, lettuce is a steal. Maybe the correct way to save money in the produce department is to plan meals around the items on sale. Adding fresh salad to dinner every night this week will save money and provide nutrition. Carrots are on sale too! Baby carrots make good after school snacks, and I toss them into anything I'm fixing the crock pot.

Fruit is big in my house. Katy loves green apples, Jimmy Bananas, Avry hordes cantelope when I bring it home. There are always a few fruits on sale. This week County Market has Navel Oranges on sale. I purchase enough kid friendly fruits that they can snack on fresh everyday. My grocery list changes according to the sales. I also use lots of Dole and Del Monte Coupons. Check out the bagged salad area. There are usually some peelie coupons stuck on the bags. Also, visit the liquor department regularly. You’ll find no alcohol required coupons around the tops of many liquors that are good for $1 off any produce of choice. These will help stretch your produce dollars as well. You’ll find these on any liquors that promote using fresh fruit in drinks.

Finally, if it will last longer than a week, maybe pick up two when there is a sale. Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, carrots, or onions can keep a month at least. Keep your fridge items in green bags. I’m sometimes amazed what will keep in one of those bags (how do those really work anyway?) Freezing isn’t a bad idea either. I use red and green peppers to cook with regularly, but I always need chopped. Chopped peppers freeze easy and keep nicely. Saving isn’t just about how much we pay, but how much value we get from the purchase.

Just remember: Advertised sale, Fruit and produce coupons, and waste not!