Shopping at the farmer’s market can be a little more expensive than grocery stores. But you can be happy knowing you support local farmers and small business owners. You’ll eat healthier, know where your food is coming from, and be gentler on the environment. Or, maybe you just want to buy something nice for yourself. That’s fine, too.
If you’re wondering whether you can eat high quality, farmer’s market foods without blowing your retirement savings plan—the answer is yes! With a little patience and planning, you can remain true to your values and your financial plan. And you might even learn to love cooking (if you don’t already).
How Retirees Can Save Money at the Farmer’s Market
If you’ve already committed to an active retirement based on healthy eating, you know that keeping it fresh is the name of the game. Or, it could be, you’re trying to make some changes for the better. Either way, here are our top money-saving tips for farmer’s market shoppers who want to make the most of their retirement savings.
Buy a Little Extra to Save a Little Extra
It’s not Costco - but the bulk discount thing works at the farmer’s market too. When a grower has a lot of something, they may package it in huge bags for cheap. Even if it’s just a “$2 each or 3 for $5” deal - you’ll usually save a few bucks if you buy a bit more. So, freeze, pickle, make marmalade, or buy an extra jar of something for a friend. Farmer’s market products have beautiful packaging and make thoughtful (and useful) gifts.
Go In With a Plan
You’ll be less likely to overbuy if you go in with a rough idea of the meals you want to cook, and a list of potential ingredients. ‘Potential’ because you may show up to find no one has green onions. Your favorite cheese guy isn’t there today. Or there’s a great deal on the just-in-season blueberries. So, be a bit loose with your plan, and don’t forget to consider your schedule. How many meals are you realistically going to be home to cook over the next 5 - 7 days?
Mix Up Your Produce
Keep in mind the varying shelf lives of products. Hard vegetables like carrots, potatoes, beets, and turnips will last a week or longer if stored properly. While greens and many soft-skinned fruits need to be eaten within a few days. To avoid wasting food and money, buy a mix of longer-lasting and “eat now” produce and use accordingly.
Time Your Visit Strategically
Timing your visit to get the best deals can be a bit of a gamble. Getting there early means you’ll get the best selection. But arriving late means you could score discounts from vendors who are hoping to sell out before the end of the day.
If there’s one thing there’s no question about, it’s this. Never go to the farmer’s market hungry. Unless, maybe, you plan to eat breakfast there before you shop. Because everyone knows, food shopping while hungry is a first-class ticket to Expensive-land.
Stick to a Monthly Budget
It’s easy to get hooked on the amazing quality of farm-fresh produce, eggs, and meat. But buying 100% of your groceries at the farmer’s market means you’ll put a bigger dent in your retirement savings, faster. If you need help keeping your eye on the prize (your retirement nest egg), set a monthly budget for farmer’s market goodies, and stick to it.
If you have a hard time sticking to the budget, ask yourself why? What is most important to you, financially and personally? What kind of lifestyle do you want to have in retirement?
Try Out Different Markets & Compare Prices
Denver has an incredible array of farmer’s markets selling hand-grown produce, farm-raised meat and dairy, artisan candles, CBD products, honey, bread, flowers, and more. With so many markets accessible to you, it may make sense to do a little price-comparison shopping. Over time, you’ll get to know which sellers have the best stuff at the fairest prices. And one more perk of retirement is, you can go any day of the week, not just Saturday and Sunday.
Farmer’s Markets Near Denver
Denver-area farmer’s markets are open, with restrictions and expanded hygiene requirements. Always double-check the website before you go so you can be prepared (and assess your level of comfort/safety). Many are also offering pre-order and pick-up, weekly standing orders, etc.
So, are you hungry yet? Check out these options:
- Cherry Creek Fresh Market features all things raised, grown, or made in Colorado. Most Saturdays (8 - 1 pm) and Wednesdays (9 - 1 pm).
- Denver Metro Farmer’s Market has locations in Littleton, Reunion, Lakewood, and more.
- Four Seasons Farmers and Artisans Market in Wheat Ridge takes place Tuesdays – Fridays from noon to 4 p.m.
- Boulder Country Farmer’s Market runs markets in Boulder, Longmont, Denver, and Lafayette
There are so many more! This list has literally 50 farmer’s markets in the Denver area.
Wealth Legacy Institute knows good health and good financial habits are key pieces of a successful retirement. Wondering what else it takes to build your dream life in retirement? Manage your money and master aging well, with the new book from our founder Kim Curtis, Retirement Secrets.