Fruits and veggies seem expensive when compared to the price of processed foods. When you compare their nutritional value, however, you realise fresh produce is well worth the cost considering you are paying for complete nutrition. Processed foods, while cheaper, are higher in fat and salt, often contain preservatives and unfamiliar ingredients that you can’t pronounce or attempt to identify!
Quality food is my priority. You really are what you eat! I want to feel the best I can so the bulk of my monthly spending is devoted to food. I don’t mind shelling out close to £400 a month on fruits and veggies.
Still, I’m all about trying to save as much money as I can while at the grocery store.
Here are my favourite money-saving tips:
Hunt for discounted produce
I hate paying full price for fruit! I try to only buy discounted stuff. Tesco is my favourite place to buy produce. Some Tesco’s have a special section for discounted produce and food. Others keep discounted produce mixed in with the regularly priced stuff. Either way, take a stroll around the produce section and look for the discount tags. I find lots of discounted produce (grapes, berries, mushrooms, potatoes) in the smaller Tesco shops. I think the turnover on produce is higher in these smaller shops since people don’t buy produce as often.
Buy conventional and skip organic
Don’t feel pressured to buy 100% organic all the time. Organic produce can be more expensive than conventional produce (but not all the time), so be flexible depending on your budget. I let my taste buds decide if I buy organic or not. I’ll splurge on organic berries only if they taste better than conventional ones.
Buy in bulk
If fruit is on sale, buy a bunch and prep it for the freezer. Rinse and slice your fruit before transferring it to a Ziploc bag or airtight container. Add frozen fruit to your smoothies, oatmeal, cereal, or just eat them as a snack.
Avoid shopping at Whole Foods and specialty shops
The produce in Whole Foods looks lovely but you can find the same produce (even organic) at other grocery stores for much cheaper. In the States, Trader Joe’s is usually the cheapest for produce. They have some organic produce too, and everything is high quality and delicious! Only shop at Whole Foods for specialty items that you can’t find elsewhere. Smaller specialty shops have lovely produce as well, but these shops often stock the same produce found in the larger big box shops (like Tesco and Morrisons), yet they charge a lot more! Some of these shops only provide the illusion that you’re supporting local farms. Check the labels for the country of origin to be sure.
Tropical fruit is a splurge
Depending on where you live, consider fruit like dragon fruit, passion fruit, and mangos as treats if you are on a tight budget. They tend to be pricey. You might be able to find good deals though, so shop around.
Buy frozen fruit
Frozen fruit is just as nutritious as fresh fruit, and sometimes it’s cheaper. Shop around and compare prices. The benefit to frozen fruit is that you can enjoy your favourite fruits even when they are out of season. We found affordable frozen cherries at Tesco the other day. Instead of waiting until summer to satisfy my cherry cravings, I can enjoy a wee cherry smoothie now, in what Scotland considers spring, as I watch the snow fall in Dundee….
Avoid pre-cut fruit
While most stores conveniently offer pre-cut fruit like melon, mango, and pineapple, I don’t recommend these if you are on a budget because they are more expensive than whole fruit. The pre-cut pineapple fingers from Tesco are amazing, though. If you find them on sale, buy all of them. Eat them quickly or freeze them!
On that note, I’m about to dig into the last of my grapes and a massive smoothie for lunch before heading to Tesco.
How do you save money on food?