10 Tips to Save Money Shopping at Farmers' Markets
Money Girl gives 10 tips to save money by spending less at your local farmers' market.
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Savings Tip #6: Know Prices
It’s a good idea to be familiar with grocery store prices for in-season fruits and vegetables. Otherwise, you really don’t know if the organic heirloom tomatoes at the farmers' market are a good deal.
Some produce may actually be less expensive at a conventional grocery store. However, choosing the least expensive food isn’t always best, since the quality may be poor. Or, you may prefer to support local farms regardless of price, if you can afford it.
Savings Tip #7: Don’t Buy Too Much
While this might seem like an obvious tip, don’t overestimate how much you can eat or how long produce from the farmers' market will last. Wasted food equals wasted money. Think about how many ears of corn or stalks of asparagus you can eat within the next week and err on the side of buying less rather than more.
Or, if you like buying in bulk you can certainly get additional savings. Most fruits and vegetables can be frozen for up to several months, as long as you prepare them properly and have room in the freezer. Check out Domestic CEO's tips on how to freeze 60 pounds of vegetables and 40 pounds of chicken without wasting a thing.
Savings Tip #8: Shop with a Money-Savvy Friend
If you want to keep yourself in check, consider shopping with a friend or family member. Not only can they help you stick to your spending plan, but they may be interested in sharing bulk purchases with you.
Savings Tip #9: Become a Market Volunteer
Many farmers' markets are sponsored by organizations that rely on volunteers to help keep them running. Consider becoming a volunteer in order to get to know the vendors and how the market is operated.
Volunteers may be rewarded with free or discounted produce or have the pick of items in oversupply.
Savings Tip #10: Shop Right Before Closing
Although a stand’s selection might be picked-over right before a farmers' market closes, many vendors would rather discount what’s left than have to take it home. Plus, the produce could be starting to ripen quickly or wilt.
Not all markets allow last-minute discounting, but it’s worth watching for. It’s in a vendor’s best interest to make sales and not end up with rotten produce.
If you have other tips for saving money at farmers markets be sure to share them on the Money Girl Facebook page.
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