9 of the Best Ways to Save on Fresh Produce

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Whole foods produce with Stetson

Save money on fresh produce at the grocery store!

We all know that the fresh produce department is often the hardest place to save on your grocery bill. Fruit snack coupons are plentiful, but actual fruit coupons are harder to come by. That being said, check out our simple tips below for ways that you can save money on fresh fruits and vegetables!


1. Start your own home garden.

lettuce-onions-in-dirt-pot

There’s nothing better than growing and picking fresh, homegrown fruits and veggies! If you’re new to gardening, consider starting with easy to grow seeds (like cucumbers or peas). You can also place vegetable scraps that can easily grow in water by a window, such as green onions, lettuce, or celery.

We tried a couple of these methods and they REALLY do work!

green-onions-growing-in-cup

Grow Green Onions in Water

  • Keep the white part of the onion with any intact roots, and place it into a small glass with water. After a few days, green shoots will start to emerge from the tops of the bulbs. After that, they’ll grow very quickly. You can keep them in water for a while, but they will do best when transplanted to a pot with soil before they start to weaken.

lettuce-green-onions-in-cups

Regrow Romaine Lettuce from a Stem

  • That’s right! Just cut off the bottom from the head of lettuce and place it in a bowl of water near a window with sunlight. Replace the water every 1-2 days. Within a few days, you’ll have small leaves sprouting up. With this method, you will not regrow a full-sized head of lettuce, but you can enjoy the smaller leaves on a sandwich or in a personal-size salad.

Regrow Celery from Stalks

  • Slice about 2″ from the root end of a bunch of celery and place it in a shallow bowl of water. Place the bowl near a window with sunlight. After a few days, you should start seeing small leaves emerging from the very center of the top. In about a week, you may see small stalks and leaves. Plant the celery in potting soil or directly into your garden.

diy-stacked-herb-garden

Also, growing herbs indoors for fresh year-round use is easy, and fun to incorporate in cooking (check out our Stacked Herb Garden idea). Or, if you have the space in your backyard, using a Raised Garden Bed is an easy and affordable way to set up your home garden – and you can do it in under an hour! These garden beds are low-maintenance, weather-resistant, and will not rot, crack, or peel.

Hip Tip – Want to give gardening a shot? Select libraries have packages of seeds that you can score FREE with your library card! You can also snag four packets of seeds for $1 at Dollar Tree during gardening season.


2. Join a community garden.

community-garden-plot

Have a green thumb but don’t have space to grow a garden? Consider purchasing a plot in a community garden in your area where you can conveniently grow your own produce.

As an idea, there are two community gardens in my area with plots ranging in price from $12-$20 per year for residents – and they even include water and a rain harvesting cistern (garden plot prices will vary by region).


3. Shop locally or at farmers markets.

farmers-market

While farmers markets can vary greatly in regards to availability and pricing, you can often get really good deals. Just visit near the end of the market, when a seller is more likely to lower prices to get rid of remaining items.

Hip Tip: View this map to find a local farmers market near you.

Store front of Sprouts Farmers Market

Also, if you live near a Sprout’s Farmers Market, they offer fantastic weekly sales on produce, especially on Wednesdays when their weekly sale ads overlap (you score deals from BOTH ads)! As an idea, during a recent sale at my local Sprouts, I was able to score organic Gala apples for $0.98/lb, cantaloupe melons for $0.98 each, 2lbs Roma tomatoes for $1, and fresh pineapples for $0.98 each!


4. Consider a food co-op or CSA.

Farmhouse-Delivery-Produce-Box

Let garden weeds be someone else’s problem! If you’re lacking in gardening skills, or don’t have space (or energy) to grow fresh foods yourself, food co-ops and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Groups are a great way for you to purchase produce from area farmers.

  • Community Supported Agriculture: Under this model, a farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of produce, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (“membership” or “subscription”) and in turn receive a box (or bag/basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.

Find a local CSA near you. You can also try searching “community supported agriculture” or “CSA” plus your city/state.

  • Food co-ops: Food cooperatives are worker- or customer-owned businesses that provide high-quality grocery items to their members, usually for good prices. Co-ops can take the shape of buying clubs or even retail stores. Food co-ops are committed to consumer education, product quality, and member control, and they usually support their local communities by selling produce grown locally by family farms.

Check Local Harvest or this co-op directory to find a food co-op near you.


5. Pick your own produce.

man-holding-strawberries

No farmers market nearby? Check for local farms where you can pick your own fruits and vegetables. It takes less time than growing your own, and you can still get better deals than at a grocery store. Plus, it makes for a great family-friendly activity!

To find a local farm that offers the option to pick your own produce, search your city and state here to view your options (call ahead to confirm the hours of operation before you head out). Note that depending on the time of year, the farms in your area will offer different fruits and vegetables. If you prefer to pick a specific fruit/veggie, call ahead to confirm that this item is in season.

Before you go, ask about the cost in advance and available methods of payment, since many farms only take cash or checks. Don’t forget to dress appropriately and bring sunscreen, bug spray, bags, and plenty of water to drink! You may also want to bring a wagon (if you have one) to hold kids and produce.


6. Only buy what’s in season.

basket of vegetables

You already know that seasonal food is fresher, tastier, and more nutritious than produce consumed out of season. Did you also know it’s also cheaper, since it’s most plentiful?

For the best flavors and dollar savings, buy fresh fruits and vegetables when they can be purchased directly from a local grower shortly after harvest. Use this cool Season Food Guide to find out what’s in season right now where you live.

Crops picked at their peak of ripeness are better tasting (unlike out of season produce, which is harvested early for shipping and distribution to retail stores). Plus, studies have suggested that fruits and vegetables contain more nutrients when allowed to ripen naturally on their parent plant, making it softer and sweeter!


7. Use coupons and cash back apps.

A great way to save on produce is to keep an eye out for ALL printable coupons for fruits and vegetables. Print them as soon as they pop up since they’re rare and never last long!

Where to find produce manufacturer’s coupons:

Produce store coupons:

Cash back rebates on fruits and vegetables:

  • Ibotta app – get cash back on groceries purchased at select stores – including fresh produce!
  • Fetch Rewards app – earn points for any grocery purchase!
  • Checkout51 app – get cash back on produce purchased at ANY grocery store!
  • SavingStar – get cash back on fresh produce, like bananas.
  • Makeena app – get cash back offers on fresh organic fruits and vegetables!

Hip Tip: If Ibotta and Checkout51 both have offers for bananas, be sure to submit for both rebates! Then, submit your receipt in the Fetch Reward app to earn points toward rewards! You can really stack the savings when you do this!


8. Shop at discount grocery stores.

If you have a discount grocery store nearby, such as ALDI or Grocery Outlet, you can usually find great deals on produce if you keep your eyes peeled. For instance, at ALDI, you may be able to find fruits and vegetables on a BOGO sale (buy one, get one free) whenever they’re about to remove them from the shelves. Just be sure to examine the packaging and produce items closely to ensure they’re good quality.

And, if you end up buying a product from ALDI and not liking it, not only will they replace your product, they’ll also refund you the money for that purchase as part of their double product guarantee!


9. Weigh pre-bagged produce.

Seems silly, but it adds up… To get the most bang for your buck, be sure to use the produce scale to weigh the bags of produce you plan to buy (apples, potatoes, etc). For instance, a 5-pound bag of apples actually may weigh more than 5-pounds since it is packaged by volume and not necessarily weight.

Producers won’t put half an apple in the bag to get it to reach at least 5-pounds, so you may save a little by purchasing a bag, rather than choosing individual items and paying by the pound.

Also, produce in the refrigerated section is often sprayed with an occasional mist of water. This may seem trivial, but that water can accumulate and weigh down your produce. Gently shake off your fresh veggies before placing them on the scale to save a bit at the register.


Save on fresh produce at your local Asian Market, too!

Join The Discussion

Comments 21

  1. Mendy

    Thank you for all these awesome ideas, I will definitely be taking advantage of some of them ASAP!

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      You are SO welcome, Mendy! Glad these tips will be helpful!

  2. Bethany

    Check with your health insurance company for ‘Wellness Reimbursements’ too! We have a plan that gives up to $100 per person over 18 in your house to make healthy choices. We use it for our CSA which we split with another couple. After our reimbursement, we spend about $6.00 a week to get 20 weeks of fresh veggies in the summer!

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      What a great tip! Thanks for sharing, Bethany! Good to know!

    • Malina

      Thanks Bethany , for this wonderful information. Till your reply and this post, I wasn’t aware of this kind of reimbursement. We have been paying lots of bucks for gym n all, n we never claimed our expenses to your expensive health insurance plan..because of our ignorance. Now I have started researching, n came to know that I can claim for fitness reimbursement. But now sure if we can claim for fresh produce as well like ur plan does. We have Aetna insurance through my hubby’s employer. If you don’t mind, then can u please share ur insurance company name? Also in ur comment, I didn’t understand what is CSA? It would be nice if you can give us more details about what kind of reimbursement u get , how u apply …I mean u need receipts of store etc . I would love to know all these if you can provide these details please 🙂. Also thanks hip2save team for bringing this topic . Great job 👍

  3. Maggie

    1. Grow microgreens in your kitchen window. They’re ready to eat in just a few days, and the cruciferous ones are super-charged nutritionally so that a small amount packs a big punch. You can grow them in a tiny bit of potting soil in a reused berry container, water with a spray bottle, and snip with scissors to harvest. 2. Check out programs like Top Box (http://topboxfoods.com )–they offer very low-cost subscriptions for prepaid, monthly boxes of produce, delivered by truck to churches for people to pick up. For example, the 14 lb. fruit box or 18 lb. veggie box costs $20, delivered to the drop-off point (church). The churches get a 5% donation for the trouble of hosting, since non-members can pick up at the designated points too.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      How neat! Thanks so much for the helpful comment, Maggie!

  4. Emily

    I use imperfect produce (imperfectfoods.com), and it saves a fair amount on groceries! It forces us to try new veggies, to eat what’s in season, and to actually meal plan around our produce!

  5. Heather

    My local Hispanic grocery store (Rancho Markets in Utah) has AMAZING produce prices!

    • rochellemcgee

      Yes, and our local hispanic supermarket is awesome on the price of meats, too.

  6. J

    Ebates has $10 cash back for those getting a Disney+ subscription.

  7. Nikki

    I just wanted to add that learning how to store produce correctly has been a game-changer in our house. I was frustrated that my produce was seemingly going bad faster than we could use it. A few changes and I no longer had a problem. Some of my veggies are lasting months now versus a week! Here are a few changes I have made so far:

    Wrap a head lettuce in a paper towel and place in a baggie (the paper towel absorbs the moisture instead of the lettuce which ruins it – if it’s a bag of mixed greens, I just work a paper towel into it.) This works with other greens and veggies that deteriorate with moisture too!

    Soak carrots in water and keep in the fridge

    Green onions should be done exactly as you mentioned above with regrowing them. Keeping them in a glass in water just maintains their freshness and they continue to grow.

    Tomatoes are best kept on the counter and not in the fridge for long-last. It also helps to maintain the taste!

    And I’m still learning (just googling) as I go…I’m sure there are more ways and different options for other veggies.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Wow! These are great suggestions! Thanks so much for taking the time to list these out! I’ll have to put them to use in my kitchen too!

    • Amy F;)

      If i wrap celery in aluminum foil, it lasts way longer too.

  8. tipaye

    Very thorough article, thanks so much!

    • Joy

      Wash fresh berries in a vinegar wash. Just add a capful of white vinegar to a bowl of cold water and dunk your berries in. Drain, then let dry on paper towel lined tray before refrigerating. Makes berries last a couple of days longer. They will not have a vinegar taste. Prevents molding.

  9. Bunny

    I purchase most of my veggies at my local Asian market. The produce is simply beautiful and much cheaper than my local Kroger, Lidl or Aldi. Plus they have a huge variety of fresh herbs for very little money.

    In addition, they have very interesting items that I have never seen before so it’s always a great education. I end up asking nearby shoppers for advice so it’s always a great learning experience too!

  10. Cassie Sue

    I’m not in a place that has CSAs, and I work when the local farmers market opens, but I’ve been using Imperfect Foods which takes fruits and vegetables that are misshapen or surpluses and sells them. It helps reduce food waste (good for the environment) and you get stuff cheaper. You customize what you want in the box, with a $30 minimum purchase, I think the only downside is that you have to pay $5.99 for shipping, so I’m hoping they figure out a way to reduce that cost. PLUS, when they messed up my order (they didn’t send me some pears that I bought) they refunded me the money, gave me a $4 credit on future purchases, and responded within the hour, so their customer service has been really awesome. So overall I’ve been really happy with them.

  11. Ann

    So wish there was an ALDI in Boulder, CO. I used to go all the time when in Memphis………miss it

  12. Amber McNulty

    I order from Imperfect Foods and love them. 20-30% off what I usually pay for produce and lots of it isn’t ugly!

  13. KAREN OKEEFE

    Good to know the bestbbuys

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