Cut your Fresh Produce Bill in Half

February 26, 2024 | Christine Hradek

red and brown potatoes

Raise your hand if you enjoy spending more money on food than you need to. Anyone? If I could see through your screen, my guess is your hand would be down. Most people like the idea of eating well while also keeping an eye on their grocery budget. With increasing food prices, that feels more difficult to do and can feel out of our control. However, there are steps you can take to put you on the path toward saving money on food.

Sometimes we can save money without really switching up what our family eats, but rather looking at how we buy our ingredients. For example, something as simple as an onion can vary wildly in price based on how you buy it. Here are a couple of examples of this idea from the grocery store down the street from my house.

  • A large yellow onion was $1.28. This onion would yield about 1.5-2 cups of chopped onion. Or, I could buy pre-chopped onions for $4.25 per cup. The pre-chopped onion is four to five times the price. If you love the convenience of pre-chopped onions, you can chop a few onions at once and keep them in the freezer for cooking later.
  • Yellow potatoes are $1.39 per pound. Pre-chopped raw potatoes are $3.19 per pound. The price is nearly double if you buy them chopped.

In each of these examples the difference is the prep work involved with the vegetables. It costs more to pay for someone else to do that work. If you are looking to build up your confidence and efficiency with chopping vegetables at home, check out our new videos below where our friend Tom demonstrates safe and effective knife skills. Committing to buying fruits and veggies whole and cutting them up yourself can save real money.

What fruits or vegetables do you find difficult or scary to cut up? Share on our Facebook page and happy cooking!

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek is a State Nutrition Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She coordinates ISU’s programs which help families with low income make healthy choices with limited food budgets. Christine loves helping families learn to prepare healthy foods, have fun in the kitchen and save money. In her spare time, Christine enjoys cooking, entertaining and cheering on her favorite college football teams with her family and friends.

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