One of the best lessons I've learned when it comes to saving money on groceries is to simply just waste less food. If you actually eat something, then it's money well spent! So it kills me to throw away fresh fruits and veggies just because something has gone bad before I've gotten to it. Over the years, I've picked up three little secrets that help me with this.
Here's how I get the most bang for my buck in the produce section at any grocery store.
1. Look for locally sourced ingredients.
It's simple science: The less time it takes for something to get from the farm to your fridge, the fresher it will be. My nearby Walmart, surprisingly, uses a lot of local farms to stock their produce department. So does my neighborhood Aldi, Lidl, and sometimes Costco. Most stores will advertise on the produce signs if the products are local or not, but if not, just ask or go online — store websites are usually proud to tell you where the stuff comes from.
2. Get friendly with the produce department employees.
If you see someone stocking the fresh produce while you're shopping, say hi and ask them when their trucks come in each week. I'll be honest: Some workers have no idea, and others will tell you deliveries come every single day and that there's no best time for you to come in (that means they likely don't know). If you aren't satisfied with the answer you get, ask (nicely!) for the store manager or call when you get home and ask to speak to the head of the produce department who can inform you more.
Find out the day the produce gets delivered and put out, and that's your new day for grocery shopping. The logic is the same — the fresher the produce, the better it is. And that means you'll have more time with it at home before it even starts to turn.
3. Learn how to store your groceries properly.
How you store the stuff when you get home will impact how long it will last, too. So learn which items should go in the fridge, in a crisper drawer, or on the counter — and how long they can stay there. You might even consider investing in an appliance that helps your food last longer once it's in the fridge, too.
Do you have any tips that have helped you get the most bang for your buck with your produce?