Tricks to help save money at your local farmers market

There's something so special about shopping at the farmers market. Perhaps it's the way you get to know your local farmer or maybe it's the fact that you can better understand where your food comes from, but each visit is a delight. However, you might feel like there could be better strategies for shopping to get the most bang for your buck. With just a few tips and tricks, you too can become a farmers market shopping pro.

Some of the easiest tricks to employ at the farmers market are really quite simple. The first way to save money is to walk around and browse before you buy anything. Many of the vendors will have the some of the same produce, so you can compare prices and quality before purchasing. A lot of produce that isn't the prettiest, but is still good for cooking with (dubbed "ugly produce") will also often be marked down — so that's another simple way to save money. Instead of displaying good but bruised "ugly" produce, use it in more processed dishes like jam and smoothies, or chopped up in a recipe. Another great tip might take a little bit of homework until you know your harvesting seasons, but if you know what fruits and veggies are ripe throughout each season, then you can focus on buying those to save money. During peak season, there's a ton of the produce that's ripe, so vendors are more likely to sell it for less (via CheatSheet).

Buy in bulk to save even more when shopping at the farmers market

While you can definitely use the quick and easy money-saving tips above, there are a couple of more strategic shopping plans too. One way to save money at the market is to buy in bulk. For example, Business Insider explains that if one bunch of kale is $2, it's often possible to get three bunches for $5. Another example they offer is buying four packages of tamales and getting two free. Not to mention, the vendor might throw in an extra item at a discount price if you buy a lot. Though these aren't massive savings, they definitely add up.

However, getting deals like that may depend on what's at the market week by week and the time of day you shop. While it's a bit of a gamble, both outlets agree you can score some great deals by shopping towards the end of the day. You just need to be a little more flexible since some items might sell out. When you shop at the end of the market, farmers want to take as little perishable food home with them as possible, so they'll often come down on the price or offers special deals. To them, it's better than no sale at all. So, use these tips and tricks to shop smart and make the most of your dollar at the farmers market. You just might be surprised by how much you save.