My spouse says there is nothing frugal about our market trips. Well, we spend a lot, but the quality is high, food stays fresh longer, and I eat way more veggies and fruit. Worth most pennies!
1) Decide what kind of trip – socializing and browsing or focused grocery shopping – ahead of time.
- A social trip for me is a time to visit, check out different vendors, try something new, and be relaxed. Set a budget of fun money and don’t be the one lugging around 5 pounds of carrots.
- A grocery trip is driven by what you need and is efficient and effective. I write “else” on my list to cover the discoveries that you don’t know are there until you get there, like peas in pods this week.
2) Consider when to go: early is good for getting produce or popular baking before they sell out. Crowds are less and parking often easier to find or cheaper. At my local market, parking is free before 9 a.m. and all day Sunday. Being early birds can mean curfews to Friday night parties, tho. Later is good for a social trip – better people watching and bands or buskers and sometimes more vendors arrive later, too.
3) Try different vendors until you figure out your preferences. Using regular vendors can help for those efficient trips but still keep your eyes open for new products or sellers.
4) Subtly check out other people’s shopping to see what looks interesting or new this week. You can even ask a fellow shopper where they got that great looking fennel or for a recommendation for their favourite vendor.
5) If you’re shopping with someone, communicate about what each of you is buying. One week, my spouse and I each bought about 5 pounds of asparagus. Yes, we like asparagus but we were hitting our asparagus limit that week.