Spring is finally in full swing and summer is just around the corner, which means your local farmers’ market has more than likely opened up again. Shopping at the farmers’ market can be a real treat in more ways than one. Not only are you able to grab some fresh produce that isn’t treated with harsh chemicals, but you’re also able to support your local farmers, artisans and more. This can be a very rewarding experience that will make life exciting for the whole family. Of course, shopping at the farmers’ market can be pricey too. Luckily, there’s a few things you can do to cut back on your spending there. So, get ready to make the most of your weekends as your budget shouldn’t hold you back this year.
1. Use Your Eyes
Your eyes can be your best asset when it comes to saving money at the market. Although many people like to memorize the produce that is currently in season, just viewing the items for sale can help you make an even wiser choice on the foods that are at their freshest. This is great because seasonal items may come in slower or faster than the guidelines account for. So, try to choose produce that looks good. If something looks wilted and less than desirable, then it’s probably not the best time to buy it or it isn’t a good crop. If you do plan on buying these items, then try to talk the seller into a lower price based on the overall health of the produce. You should also try to eat these items as soon as possible.
2. Shop Bulk
If you really want to add savings to your shopping experience then you may want to shop in bulk, opposed to just buying a few items at each stall. Sellers tend to enjoy selling lots of their produce at once because it allows them to spend less time at the market and more time enjoying their day. You might talk to some of your favorite stands prior to buying bulk too. If you let people know how much you want, then your order might be ready and waiting for you when you arrive. Of course, make sure to have plants for the produce so you don’t waste money. If anything, freeze your excess produce to save you even more money.
The farmers’ market allows you to enjoy an old school feeling whenever you visit. In this sense, some sellers will even let you barter and haggle, which can save you a lot of money. One of the best things you can do is bring items to trade for the things you want. You might ask around to see what some vendors would be interested in trading and then return the next week with the times. If trading isn’t your thing then do a little haggling. There is a respectful way to do this, so make sure to be polite so you don’t offend the person you’d like to purchase from. All in all, this should allow you to have some more fun at the market, while keeping your budget in check.
4. Use Social Media
If you love a specific vendor at the farmers’ market, then it is always wise to follow them on social media if they use it. This will allow you to discover discounts before you even set foot outside. On top of that, you can learn what the vendor plans on bringing to the market each morning. This will allow you to make sure your budget is okay for all of your big plans. You can also follow the farmers’ market in your local area. This will keep you up to date on exciting information, sudden closures and the vendors that will be available. You might even find job opportunities that will help you earn even more money. Sometimes, the market will release special phrases to help you save even more money on the items you love. Connecting on social media allows you to ask questions and connect with other people in your community, which can help you find even more savings while improving your market experience each week.
5. Avoid the Extras
When you step foot into the market, it is hard not to be overwhelmed by all of the delicious smells and fun things to check out. However, it is important to keep your mindset on your budget, so you don’t go overboard. One of the best things you can do is go straight to the booths that are on your list. Hopefully, these boots are mainly produce because coffee, baked goods and prepared foods can often cost more than you like. You might want to hold off on these items until you have purchased the necessities. Flower and craft booths should also be avoided until you see how much money you can play with after necessities. It might be hard to do, but you’ll be thankful for your discretion.
6. Research Store Prices
A lot of people go into the farmers’ market thinking it is going to be the cheapest possible option. This isn’t always the case though. Although many vendors do strive to offer the cheapest items, sometimes they simply can’t cut the price as low as some stores. So, if you’re shopping at the market to save then make sure you do research on other prices in your area. This should help you know what items you should be looking for at the market opposed to which you should buy at the store. Of course, if the items are similar in price then you might want to purchase with local vendors in order to support your local economy and encourage more people to grow natural products.
7. Look Around First
A farmers’ market can be pretty overwhelming, which is why many people buy from the first vendor that catches their eye. However, this can be a costly choice to make as you may find better deals just around the corner. One of the best things you can do is look around the entire market before you make your decision. This will allow you to price all of the items that you need. With this knowledge you can purchase from multiple stands in order to maximize your savings. Doing this also allows you to check out items you might want to splurge on. This will help you make a decision, so you don’t miss out on something you’d prefer to purchase. This is especially helpful with children who want so many items but wind up disappointed when they purchase too soon and miss out on something even better.
8. Make Friends
One of the best things you can do when shopping is actually try to make friends with the vendors. This probably won’t happen overnight, but if you’re a regular shopper at the market then you’re certain to make a great impression on some of the vendors you shop with. Make sure to be friendly and polite while shopping to get your relationship started on the right foot. As your friendship grows, you might be privy to discounts and even the occasional freebie. You might also have better luck purchasing items in bulk or getting in orders during the week opposed to having to wait for the market to open on the weekend.
9. Show Up Late
They always say that the early bird gets the worm, but this isn’t always the case when it comes to the farmers’ market. There will always be some vendors that offer a deal for the early hours, but most of the sales will come before it is time to close up shop. A lot of vendors don’t want to hold onto their items, especially if they are selling food, because it means they will lose out on money. So, coming late might help you see a drop in prices. Sometimes, you might even be able to land a two for one deal, if there is a lot of produce left over. You should always be careful when shopping this way though as you won’t get the prime items of the day. So, check to make sure you’re not getting items that will be bad tomorrow before you embrace your late shopping sales.
10. Bring Cash
These days, most vendors will actually have a card reader to add convenience for their shoppers. However, sometimes these card readers will actually cost you a bit extra. A lot of vendors will charge a transaction fee to help cut back on the money they are charged for using the service. Plus, if they go through many payment programs then they are losing money on the deal too. Some vendors won’t charge this fee if your purchase is over a certain amount, so keep this in mind when shopping. Keeping cash with you will allow you to embrace the advertised price without a fee. It will also help you stay on budget, so you won’t have to stress about spending later on.
Spending time at the farmers’ market can be a blast for the whole family. This shopping experience doesn’t have to force you to spend a lot of money though. These simple tips will allow you to shop with ease, so you can enjoy your purchases without stressing about spending too much. This will also make you feel great about supporting your community.