I'm sure you've noticed in the last few months that produce costs have increased in Canada.
Many people have asked how I go about buying produce without taking out a loan.
My main method to buying anything is to constantly adapt to what is going on with prices, stores and our lifestyle.
Produce shopping is no different. I have changed a few places I shop and what I buy, to stay within a budget and make sure we are well stocked with fruits & vegetables.
I'm not going to tell you to eat what's in season or buy more frozen fruit and veggies in the winter, because I feel like we already know that. Most of us are probably doing that already if we're watching the bottom line.
Here is what I'm doing right now to handle the increased produce costs.
- I'm not buying "convenience" produce, unless I find a deal and it's cheaper. That means we don't buy baby carrots, pomegranate seeds and bagged salads. I'm also not spending hours in the kitchen. My kids know how to peel a carrot, use a salad spinner (which they love!) and my son can de-seed a pomegranate faster than I can.
- I take advantage of PC points at Superstore and No Frills. 100 points is worth $.10 cents and every week I get offers on items like bananas, cucumbers and peppers. In our area, I have been finding fantastic deals at No Frills. I also use guidingstars.ca to get more produce offers and quite often gain an extra 5000-6000 points when I spend $20 on produce. For more info on how to use this easy points program, see this post.
- I'm buying more produce at Costco and H&W. I'm at Costco every week anyway, so I usually get lettuce, spinach, & mushrooms there. It's rare that I buy bananas at Costco (although they're cheap) because they're usually very green. In the summer, Costco carries a huge bag of triple washed romaine for $5. H&W is a store I go to if I need to do a big stock up or my usual stores aren't having great sales. I realize not every city has a store like H&W, but it's a good idea to search your city to find a similar discount produce outlet. Sometimes the Asian markets in a big city have fantastic produce prices.
It's worth your time to keep a list of what your paying for produce every week and start to get creative to pay less.
Can you pick up more produce on 10/15% day? Can you gain Airmiles by buying it at Safeway or Sobey's? Could you use your Air Miles cash to offset the cost?
Can you save by buying in larger quantities and splitting a case with another family?
For us, this extra effort to save on produce is worth it.
It's not an option in our family to eat less produce. We've fostered great habits in our kids and they stay healthy and happy when they're eating well, and so do we!