Shopping Tips

Fruits and vegetables can fit your budget

Here's how: (Source: USDA)

Buy foods in their simplest form

Buy vegetables and fruits in their simplest form. Pre-cut, pre-washed, ready-to-eat, and processed foods are convenient, but often cost much more than when purchased in their basic forms.

Buy in bulk when items are on sale

For fresh vegetables or fruits you use often, a large size bag is the better buy. Canned or frozen fruits or vegetables can be bought in large quantities when they are on sale, since they last much longer.

Buy small amounts more frequently

Some fresh vegetables and fruits don’t last long. Buy small amounts more often to make sure you can eat the foods without throwing any away.

Celebrate the season with fresh foods

Use fresh vegetables and fruits that are in season. They’re easy to get, have more flavor, and usually cost less. Your local farmer’s market is a great source of seasonal produce.

Plan and cook smart

Prepare and freeze vegetable soups, stews, or other dishes in advance. This saves time and money. Add leftover vegetables to casseroles or blend them to make soup. Overripe fruit is great for smoothies or baking.

Stick to your list

Plan your meals ahead of time and make a grocery list. You’ll save money by buying only what you need. Don’t shop when you’re hungry. Shopping after eating will make it easier to pass on tempting snack foods. You’ll have more of your food budget for vegetables and fruits.

Store brands mean savings

Choose store brands when possible. You’ll get the same or similar product for a cheaper price. If your grocery store has a membership card, sign up for even more savings.

Try canned or frozen vegetables

Compare the price and the number of servings from fresh, canned, and frozen forms of the same veggie or fruit. Canned and frozen items may be less expensive than fresh. For canned items, choose fruit canned in 100% fruit juice and vegetables with “low sodium” or “no salt added” on the label.

Why pay full price? Cut coupons

Check the local newspaper, online, and at the store for sales, coupons, and specials that will cut food costs. Often, you can get more for less by visiting larger grocery stores (discount grocers if available).