March 1, 2010

Buying Produce: Getting The Most For Your Money

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What if I told you that you could get about 20% more produce for your money for just a few extra minutes of your time?  I know you’re already pressed for time when you’re at the grocery store.  I promise, though, that your time will be rewarded — and you’ll get a small workout for your arms.

Next time you reach for that 5-pound bag of potatoes or 10-pound bag of oranges, weigh it.  That’s right, head over to the scale and see how much it really weighs.  Regulations require that each bag of produce must weigh at least what it states.  However, natural produce isn’t perfectly sized.

Grab a few bags and weigh them.  Some of these bags can give you 10%, 20% or more worth of produce.  If your potatoes are $0.99 for a 5-lb bag and you can get 20% more, you’re stretching your dollar farther.  Same goes for any prepackaged fruits or veggies.  Doesn’t seem like much to save a few cents, but over time it adds up.

Any fruits or veggies that arrive at the grocer pre-packaged are fair game – carrots, celery, apples, onions, potatoes, lettuce.  Also, don’t forget those items sold by the unit either.  Last week, cantaloupe was $1 each at my local store.  I ended up with two large melons – both nearly 4 pounds – because I took a few extra minutes.  By weighing the melons I was able to buy 50% more for the same  price as if I had done a grab-n-go.

This tip also applies to other items sold by weight.  You can always take that bag of flour or sugar over to the produce section and double check that you’re getting what you’re paying for.

Getting more for your money.  Now that’s smart shopping!

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