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We’ve figured out where to buy cheap fruit! If you think you can’t afford to eat healthy on a budget, think again. We’ve aggregated all of the best advice on the internet to help you find cheap fruit near you.
Save money by remembering when, how and where to buy cheap fruit.
If you’re wondering where to buy cheap fruit, you may be interested to know that it’s just as important to determine when to buy cheap fruit. There are many different factors that affect pricing, so knowing how to strategize your shopping can help you save a lot of money.
Where to Buy Cheap Fruit
There are several ways to get cheap fruit!
The Farmer’s Market is a great resource.
If you have a local Farmer’s Market, use it! These seasonal shops can provide a great deal on locally-sourced produce. In fact, we get $10 in free produce from our Farmer’s Market every week that we visit!
If you have food stamps or WIC, many farmer’s markets participate in double-up programs that will give you twice as much food for your money.
I could go on, but I think you get the point: Farmer’s Markets are a great place to go if you’re wondering where to buy cheap fruit.
Imperfect Foods will deliver cheap produce to your door.
Did you know that approximately 40% of the food in the United States goes uneaten? Over $218 billion in uneaten food is thrown away every year. That’s a tremendous amount of waste!
Imperfect Foods strives to end food waste and save consumers money by selling food that is, well, imperfect. It’s still edible and delicious, but it may have minor defects. For example, they sell scarred almonds and eggs that don’t conform to standard sizes.
The food they sell includes:
- Discontinued items
- Surplus items
- Cosmetic imperfections
- Ends & pieces
- Short-coded items (close to expiration)
You can customize your boxes to ensure that you’re only getting food that you actually want to eat! According to the company, you could save up to 30% on your produce just by signing up for Imperfect Foods!
Participate in a CSA or Farm Share.
Farm Shares, also known as Community Supported Agriculture, allows local farmers to sell a portion of their crops to local families. You’ll pay a flat rate and receive a portion of the crop in return, usually through a weekly produce box.
Look for local produce in your community.
Many people with gardens and fruit-bearing plants produce far more than their family can use. Keep an eye on your local Buy Nothing groups to see if someone is giving away their produce!
In our small hometown, it is not uncommon to see boxes of produce sitting by the side of the road with a “free” sign. There are road-side fruit stands, and even farmers who invite people to glean produce from their fields for a fraction of the usual price. If you’re willing to do a little work, you can save a lot of money.
Grow what you can.
If you start a home garden, you may be able to avoid spending money on produce. If you have food stamps, you can even use your food stamps funds to purchase seeds and produce-bearing plants! You can also buy fruit trees, if you have space for them.
When to Buy Cheap Fruit
It’s not just where you go; it’s when you go.
Find out when your local store stocks new produce.
Most grocers stock new produce in the middle of the week and they need to make room for their new shipments. If you’ve figured out where to buy cheap fruit, you may be able to save even more by purchasing the older fruit on the day before the newer fruit arrives.
Keep an eye on local sales.
Timing your purchases with local sales can help you save a lot of money. If your mailbox is stuffed with grocery ads, skim them to get a quick idea of what will go on sale that week. Try to plan your menu around the cheapest produce that will be available.
Be careful, though! Produce sales can be tricky. The items are usually close to expiring, so be sure to use them quickly. The items may also disappear quickly, so plan to get to the store early to snag the best deals!
Stock up when it’s in season.
Most produce doesn’t grow year-round. Stocking fresh fruit and vegetables in the off-season requires the store to invest in more shipping costs, which are passed on to the customers in higher prices. To save money, stock up on seasonal fruit.
For your convenience, here’s a quick-and-easy seasonal guide:
- January & February: Citrus (grapefruits, lemons, oranges, tangerines, etc.)
- March & April: Pineapples!
- May: Apricots, cherries, pineapple, strawberries
- June: Apricots, blueberries, cantaloupe, cherries, kiwi, mangoes, peaches, strawberries, watermelon, etc.
- July: Apricots, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, kiwi, mangoes, peaches, plums, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon, etc.
- August: Apples, apricots, blueberries, cantaloupe, figs, kiwi, mangoes, peaches, plums, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon, etc.
- September: Apples, cantaloupe, figs, grapes, mangoes, pomegranates, pumpkins
- October: Apples, cranberries, grapes, pomegranates, pumpkins
- November: cranberries, oranges, pears, pomegranates, pumpkins, tangerines
- December: grapefruit, oranges, papayas, pears, pomegranates, tangerines
Shop fresh markets at the end of the day.
If you’re one of the last ones to visit a farmer’s market stand, you’ll end up with the best prices of the day. If you don’t buy, they’ll have to haul their produce back. It can be damaged along the way. For infrequent markets, the produce may rot before the next sale day. It’s often in the seller’s best interest to negotiate a lower rate than accept a total loss.
How to Buy Cheap Fruit
If you’re looking to eat healthy on a budget, knowing how to buy fresh fruit is just as important as knowing when and where to shop. These money-saving tips can help you make the most of your produce budget.
Buy loose fruit instead of packaged.
Have you ever noticed that the fruit that’s in packaging is more expensive than the loose fruit in the bins? If your’e wondering where to buy cheap fruit, check out the bins of unpackaged produce.
Buy whole fruit and cut it yourself.
In most cases, you’ll pay extra for fruit that is cut or prepared in advance. You can save a lot of money by purchasing whole fruit and prepping it yourself.
Buy cheap fruit in bulk.
If you find a great deal, buy it in bulk and use it right away. Buying in bulk will ONLY save you money if you actually USE the fruit quickly. Otherwise, it will spoil and you will have wasted more money than you needed to spend.
You can freeze many types of fruit. You can also process the fruit into jams, dehydrated fruit chips, or frozen smoothie mixes to save storage space.
There are many types of fresh fruit that you can freeze and use later. Be careful with fruit that has a high water content, though, because it may not freeze well.
You can usually freeze this fruit safely:
- Berries of all kinds
Remember, fruit with a high water content won’t freeze well. That includes melons.
I like to buy my fruit at Costco. You can even shop there with a food stamps card!
Buy items on the brink of expiration.
If you know you’ll cook or eat the produce right away, purchase items that are on the brink of expiration. These items are often deeply discounted, because the seller knows that they’ll be a total loss if they aren’t purchased right away.
Have a plan to use the produce right away, though. You may want to process it, freeze it, or dehydrate it so that it lasts longer.
Prioritize your organic purchases.
Organic fruit is usually more expensive. Buying organic may be important to you, but it can be prohibitive on a low income budget.
First of all, decide if organic is important to you. Experts generally agree that it’s better to eat non-organic fruits and vegetables than to avoid fruits and vegetables altogether. If you can’t afford organic, buy the non-organic option.
If buying organic is important to you but you’re on a limited income, focus on the fruits that retain the highest amount of chemical residue. Fruits with thick skins, like oranges, are generally less affected by non-organic farming than thin-skinned items like strawberries. You can check the Dirty Dozen list for more information.
Don’t buy the lie that frozen fruit is inferior.
Throughout this article, I have assumed that you want to buy fresh fruit. However, studies have shown that fresh fruit isn’t necessarily nutritionally superior to canned or frozen fruit. In some cases, canned and frozen fruit may actually be more nutritious than fresh!