October is Vegetarian Awareness Month!
As I said last week, people often say that eating healthier costs more money. Using the Dirty Dozen list to know which produce to purchase organic vs buying conventional is one way to buy more wisely. Here are some more tips for saving money when making healthier food choices:
Buy in season
When you buy food that is in season the food is likely in abundance so you will often get great deals. You might want to consider buying extra so you can enjoy some now and enjoy some later. The Sustainable Table website has a Seasonal Food Guide to help you know what is in season.
Additionally, buying food that is in season AND local to your community means the food doesn’t have to travel as far to get to you which usually means a lower price. One of the best ways to buy what is in season AND local is the second tip…
Go to farmers markets (check out “Tips for the Farmers Market”)
I believe there is a misconception that farmers markets are expensive (at least a handful of people have made this comment to me). This is how I see it – Farmers markets are just like the many options you have when it comes to grocery stores, except they are at one location. There are some vendors that are pricey and others inexpensive. Shop around to find the vendors that are priced for your budget.
Here are some websites that can help you find local farmers markets and/or CSAs:
- NFMD – National Farmers’ Market Directory – This is a no frills website where you can search by Zip code or by State, then City to find farmers markets in your area.
- Local Harvest – Real Food, Real Farmers, Real Community – This rich website gives you the ability to locate nearby CSAs, farms, and farmers markets. There is also an online store so you can purchase products you can’t find locally.
- USDA – United States Dept of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service – This is a portion of the USDA government website that gives you the ability to look for farmers markets, CSAs, food hubs, and on-farm markets near you.
Buy in bulk
This may be more expensive up-front; however, it saves money over the long-run. Consider getting together with a friend or two to make bulk purchases. This may be buying at a warehouse like Costco or Sam’s Club or it may be buying in bulk from a vendor at the farmers market.
Look at discounted produce shelves
Vendors at farmers markets and grocery stores will often have mark-down items. The latest deal I got was 2 cantaloupe and 1 honeydew for $1. Yes, all three for $1! Another deal was about 12 bananas for $1. As with buying in season, you might want to enjoy some now and freeze some to enjoy later.
Try new stores that you wouldn’t normally shop at
Now I shop at places I either didn’t know about or just didn’t shop at years ago. As a Health Coach, talking about food is an everyday thing, which leads to talking about places to shop. Some of the places I go to for amazing deals include:
• Superstition Ranch Market
• Dollar stores
• Food City
It is just like shopping anywhere else, be selective. One of the things I like about these places is I have tried new foods at a low cost. How disappointed will I be when I spend $1 to try something new? Not very! (I bought canned mackerel for $1 and I liked it!)
There are great deals to be found if you have open eyes and an open mind. There are definitely more ways to save money. What are some of your favorite tips?