Saving Money at Farmers' Markets

I have fond memories of going to the farmers’ market in Rochester on Saturday mornings and being able to get anything I wanted for $1. A basket of tomatoes, apples, cucumbers, squash, berries…all for $1. It was the cheapest, freshest and most delicious way to eat. The farmers’ market in Rochester, NY will always hold a special place in my heart and I have yet to find one that can match it. I keep trying though and along the way have found some wonderful markets to get cheap, fresh produce for the week.

Coupons minus the Sunday Paper

At the request of some people I know that do not get the Sunday paper I did a little research into online sites that provide the same, as well as additional coupons to people that you can get in the paper.  Some of the sites charge a fee, but if you are really using the coupons they provide then it is worth it. However there are a number of free sites as well. Below is a list of websites that I found that looked pretty good. Know of any others? Send them along and I will add them to the list.

http://coupons2.smartsource.com/smartsource/index.jsp?Link=5S2ZUA6PWPEPO
Smart source allows you to find coupons based on your zip code. The main function of the website is to aggregate deals that are available on other websites. There are a lot of good coupons on here for name brands. Best part, its free.

Stock up on Holiday Sale Items

Memorial day savings

Every holiday has food items associated with it. Whether it is hot dogs on the 4th of July, ham at Easter or Turkey at Thanksgiving, these holidays are a great time to stock up on sale food items that have a longer shelf life. Memorial day is only a few days away so some of the items that were on sale this week that I thought would be good to stock up on are hot dogs, sausages, chips, salsa, baked beads, condiments and salad dressing. This general food selection for the Memorial day is not an expensive one, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't save where you can. For example for Memorial day Safeway has a coupon that allows you to buy 2 packs of hot dogs for $1.98. Pretty much every store has specials that allow you to stock up on hots dogs and sausages for next to nothing. Salad dressing specials range right now from $5 for 5 bottles of Ken's at Superfresh to $4 for 3 bottles of Kraft at Safeway. 

Turkey is obviously a great purchase around Thanksgiving. Granted after eating turkey on Thanksgiving you might not want it for a while, but if you eat a lot of turkey sandwiches or like to put turkey on salads this is a great time to buy an extra one to keep in the freezer. Turkey sells for as low as $.49 a pound. If you compare that to the $6 you pay per pound for lunch meat (granted your not paying for the weight of the parts you aren't eating) or the prices you pay for turkey breasts the rest of the year, it can add up to big savings. Turkey can be kept in the freezer for at least 2 months. 

As other holidays come to pass I will mention some of the best products on sale that you can stock up on and save for the rest of the year. Please feel free to pass along ideas of your own as well. 

 

Growing Tomatoes

Tomato plant

Fresh tomatoes are one of the most delicious additions to any salad or sandwich, as well as on their own. The problem is the tomatoes in the supermarket don’t always have that fresh taste. Farmer’s markets are the best place to buy tomatoes, but even better is having your own tomato plants. The great part is you can grow them pretty much anywhere. I grow them out on my balcony and they thrive.

There are some key things to keep in mind about tomato plants when growing them to ensure that they grow strong and produce a plethora of fruit for you.

1.    Tomato plants love and need sunlight. They should be getting at least 7 hours of direct sunlight a day. 14-18 hours under a grow light.

2.    Tomato plants love water. Water them consistently and daily. Do not let them completely dry out or your fruit may not be as tasty as you were hoping.

3.    It is important for tomato plants to grow a strong stem.  Having them in a breezy location will allow this to happen naturally, however another option is to put a fan on them for 5-10 min a couple of times a day when they are first growing. This makes the balcony a great place because it generally gets a pretty good breeze.

Grocery Store Deals

Every day grocery stores are trying to find new ways to get you to come to their store as oppose to the competitor's store right down the street, or even across the street in some cases. In order to entice you to come in grocery stores will create all different kinds of deals whether it's spend $500 at Thanksgiving and get a free turkey or earn airline miles for each dollar you spend in our grocery store. Some of these deals are just to get you to come in, while others are to get you to sign up for a club card of some kind so they can get statistics on you and what you are buying. Regardless of their reason you can benefit from them. Even if it just means using coupons that are specific to their store. 

I will do my best to monitor the deals and promotions that are going on with different grocery store chains, and write about them so that you may take advantage of each and every one in your area. This is just another great way to save money on items that you would probably be buying any way. If you read about any good deals, send them my way and I will make sure that other's hear about them as well. After all this is a big country with a lot of grocery store chains and only just so many hours in the day.