What, When, and How Much to Spend on Fresh Produce when your Savvy or Flat Broke

With my nutrition background, I always felt inclined to help people when they seemed to look confused or ready to ask a question in the aisles of a grocery store. Giving tips has always been really gratifying especially when I ask nothing in return other than they are more knowledgeable or had a delicious, new dinner. At one point in college I had to do a report on every brand, every price and analyze quantities, and unit prices. I loved that trip to the store and since then memorize prices and brands religiously, weekly. As a child I read all nutrition related labels, weights, and sizes and knew I would endure those studies as an adult. So here’s what can be helpful to you when shopping around and on a tight budget.

Keep in mind I am not a huge advocate of Walmart, and always prefer locally grown. When saving is more important, get the best bang for your buck to feed your family. If you’re broke sometimes quantity is more important than quality. Those in dire situations know the truth to that mentality.  

Produce Tips and Price Guidelines to Save a Buck or Two 

  1. Buy Bananas for less than .70 cents a pound at all times, Walmart gets there fruits from the same countries that Publix or Winn Dixie does many weeks in a row, so stock up where they are .40 cents a pound. 

Once lightly spotted with brown flecks, peel, place in plastic bag and put in freezer. Take them out and mash them up with ice cream, yogurt, or throw them in a blender with any ingredients that sound pleasurable. Smoothie recipes will be added to this site 3 times a week for those interested.

2. Lettuces/Romaine: Do NOT buy lettuce for more than $3.00 a package. There are sales all the time at competing grocery stores for Buy 1, Get 1 (BOGO’s) and Dole consistently offers that deal at grocery chains. For bag a salad, and quick dinner ideas wait for the sale!

3. Cabbage: I know it sounds soooo boring, and bland, but not only is this hardy vegetable super duper helathy, it’s also dirt cheap, keeps for up to a month in the fridge (even after cutting) and adds crunch to sandwiches, soups, stir fries and more. It is such a nutrient powerhouse, and if you don’t have health insurance you should be eating a lot of cabbage. I go through almost 1 head of cabbage a wk, and am addicted to it it’s crunchy crispness.

Price should be .40-.60 cents/pound. No more.

4. Lemons/Limes: For the vitamin C powerhouses stock up when they are 3 for 1.00 or 3 for $1.99, I mentioned in last post that citrus (especially in FL) can get down to .15 cent each at farmer’s markets or  steals like 5 for $1.50. Stock up, make lemon honey shots when you’re feeling lethargic and citrus keeps well in produce crisper in fridge for 30 days. Preserve apples, avocados with lemon juice and add lime juice to tortillas, tacos, and other Spanish delights like salsa. Nice punch.

5. Squashes: Great Vitamin A, B vits, fiber, Vitamin C, colorful and easy to cook. Just cut in half, scoop out the seeds for crunchy treat later, and cook at 300 degrees for 45 minutes, or microwave for 3.5 minutes. Try to find squashes all varieties, for less than $1.50/pound. They should be heavy, and meaty so picking squashes when the price isn’t right can cost you about $5.70 with it’s weight so pick smaller ones or wait for good deal. Walmart has squash in stock daily, and farmer’s markets also sell local and inexpensive beauties.

If you don’t like mashed, or cooked squash, you can cut it up into small diced portions and top salads with them. I’m all about crunch, and healthy crunch so try it you won’t be disappointed.  Email me for the seed recipes if you want some snack ideas or were used to throwing them away. 

That’s all for now will be adding more but dinner’s about to burn! If prices are higher in your area I’d like to know what’s current in your produce area, maybe I can help.

Vanessa Image 


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