The Fresh Market often gets rave reviews from customers for its quality, ambiance and wide range of healthy and unique products.
But plenty of people shy away from this national chain of gourmet supermarkets for the same reason — because “gourmet” often means “pricy.” And like fellow upscale chain Whole Foods, it can be easy to look at The Fresh Market’s prices and feel stuck between choosing to eat well or stay on budget.
But have no fear, food and finance aficionados — you can shop here with a clear conscious; you just have to know how to do it.
We’ve collected 13 tips to to help you get the gourmet experience without a gourmet chef’s salary, from ways find The Fresh Market specials to strategies for saving even once you leave the store.
1. Buy Gift Cards Online
Save before you even step foot in the store by snagging a discounted Fresh Market gift card online through gift card exchange sites like Raise.
2. Don’t Forget Your Coupons
Never leave home without your coupons. (But you knew that already, right?)
The Fresh Market accepts both manufacturer and digital coupons, so make sure to clip those paper coupons in your Sunday circular.
3. Follow Coupon Matching Blogs
Stacking available coupons with current sales is a great way to maximize your savings, but it can be time consuming.
Let someone else do the heavy lifting for you by monitoring The Fresh Market coupon matchup pages like this one on The Coupon Challenge.
4. Go Paperless
Save money and the environment by signing up for e-receipts. Instead of getting a paper receipt when you check out, you’ll get it by email.
In between visits, you’ll receive customized offers and product recommendations based on your shopping history. Even better: You’ll also get a digital coupon for $10 off a $50 purchase valid for six days after signup.
5. Take Advantage of The Fresh Market Specials
While The Fresh Market’s base prices might be on the high side, its discounts can be competitive — and with multiple specials at any given time, there’s always something on sale.
Start by scanning the Weekly Fresh Deals, then check out day-specific Tuesday and Saturday specials if they’re available in your area. If your local store is close to home or work, you could easily swing by a few times a week to stock up on items when they’re discounted.
6. Sign Up for the Newsletter
The Fresh Market doesn’t offer a rewards program like other chains, but you can get the inside scoop on weekly specials, store events and more by signing up for its “Fresh Ideas” newsletter.
If you’re not a fan of visiting the store’s website regularly (see above) and don’t keep up to date on your social feeds (see below), this option will deliver the latest info straight to your inbox.
7. Follow the Store on Social Media
8. Try Little Big Meals
The Fresh Market offers Little Big Meals, weeklong specials on all the items you’ll need to make a specific meal for your family, along with recipes.
At the time of this writing, there were two Little Big Meals on offer: a make-at-home breakfast omelet for $20 (savings of $10) and a bake-at-home supreme pizza for $20 (savings of $17). Little Big Meals are advertised as big enough to feed a family of four, but we’ve seen customer reviews that claim you can stretch them to feed five.
9. Look for Store-Specific Events
Fresh Market locations offer various events, like free samplings, from time to time. See what’s cooking at your store on its upcoming events page.
10. Consider a Holiday Package Meal
Watch out for fully prepared package meals around the holidays. These meals are ready to go and only require reheating.
They could be a decent bargain compared to buying meal components separately, or could at least save you a ton of prep time, which you can use for other frugal endeavors. For example, here’s what was available for Thanksgiving dinner this year.
11. Redeem The Fresh Market Rebates on Ibotta
Stack your savings further by using the Ibotta rebate app. Unlock available rebates for The Fresh Market before you go, then buy those items. When you get home, snap a picture of the receipt to get cash back via PayPal or Venmo.
(Note: This strategy only helps you save money when you purchase items you were planning on buying anyway. Beware the trap of buying things just because they’re discounted!)
12. Join the Nielsen Homescan Program
Continue the savings at home by joining the Nielsen Homescan program. Simply scan the barcodes on groceries you’ve purchased to earn points you can redeem for all sorts of goodies.
13. Don’t Make Rookie Mistakes
The Fresh Market is beloved by many for its European market/boutique feel, and walking down its attractively arranged aisles of products you’ve never seen before could suck even a seasoned Penny Hoarder into committing some errors.
Before you head out, review these six dumb grocery shopping mistakes, just in case.
Savvy shopping is more than just getting the best deals one store has to offer; it’s also making sure the items you’re buying aren’t cheaper elsewhere. Use this handy supermarket comparison worksheet to view weekly deals across several stores side by side and make sure you’re really getting the best bargain.
Your Turn: Are you a regular at The Fresh Market? What are your favorite savings tips?
Kelly Gurnett is a freelance blogger, writer and editor who runs the blog Cordelia Calls It Quits, where she documents her attempts to rid her life of the things that don’t matter and focus more on the things that do. Follow her on Twitter @CordeliaCallsIt.
Disclosure: This one time, Kyle came into the office with $6 worth of Taco Bell that he planned to eat over the course of three meals. By clicking the affiliate links in this post, you help us help Kyle seriously ease up on the Taco Bell.