If you’ve visited me at the Bungalow, you will have noticed that we live behind The Fresh Market. I’d been introduced to the store before moving and found the European open-air market concept positively irresistible. Something about the scent of fresh flowers greeting me and the sound of classical music wafting overhead causes a reaction that makes me actually enjoy the process of cooking, not just the outcome, and I impulsively find myself reading labels of exotic spices and selecting fresh-cut meats from the counter.
With 176 locations in the United States, The Fresh Market (TFM) doesn’t appear to be losing any steam, even though many people have affectionately renamed it “Fresh Mark-Ups” due to the reoccurring sensation of picking up three quick things for dinner and paying $65. TFM also doesn’t offer coupons, which can make budget-couscious folks think twice before entering the doors.
Yes, TFM has its flaws, but there’s lots more to love than hate, and the convenience factor has led me to many quick trips to pick up midnight snacks, dinner for impromptu company, or vanilla for mid-cookie-baking shortage. I’m getting pretty familiar with the store, by now, and probably a little too comfortable because I have no shame combing the aisles sporting wet hair and sweatpants. I’m so excited to pass along few bargain tips I’ve learned along the way that I wish I would have known when I moved next door. Enjoy!
1. Sign Up for Emails. TFM emails tell me everything: when salmon is 1/2 off, when bread is BOGO, when cotton candy grapes are coming, and when free cooking demonstrations occur. They even have coupon reminders for the rare weekends they offer $10 your next purchase.
2. Mark Your Calendar. TFM offers consistent daily specials. Tuesday is meat, Thursday is Little Big Meals, Saturday is wine, and each weekend offers a different selection. Go in on the right day and you can save major money. I make my meal plans around their daily specials.
3. Follow Weekly Specials. These change every week and you can find them out by email or entry way signs. They typically have multiple BOGO options and meat selections, so it helps vary my dinner menu by shopping what’s on sale.
4. Check Signs at the Deli Counter. The deli counter has all these secret sales not shared via email, like “Free Croissants with Chicken Salad” or “Free Cookies with Roasted Chicken” or my favorite deal, “Free Layer Cake, Cornbread, and Sides with Meat Purchase”. Make your meal go further by getting all the bonus extras!
5. Scan Individual Item Signs. Just like other stores, individual items often go on sale and I find myself spending the same amount I would anywhere else on my favorite yogurt, salsa, beans, and pasta. These sales are not listed in weekly emails and can change regularly. I often buy whatever brand is on sale and switch it up!
I’m still lobbying for a rewards credit card and frequent flier bucks, but for now, I’m sticking to these strategies. I still have to practice self-control to not put the whole store in my shopping cart, but I have figured out how to eat lots of tasty food for much less money and hope you can do the same. Check their website for more recipes and food tips.
Any other TFM strategies I missed?