Monday, March 19, 2012

5 Money Saving Dangers of the Local Farmers Market

I enjoy wandering the local farmers market. It’s a nice way to start a Saturday morning, it’s a great way to get a little fresh air, and it gets a secluded, self-employed person like me, out and about.

While I do most of my shopping at local grocery stores, I like to keep my eye out for something special at the farmers market. I find it feels good to buy fresh occasionally and in the process, support local growers and merchants. There are however, a few money saving dangers that I have encountered at the local farmers market.

When the farmers market is only blocks from your home, the pure convenience can be a danger to your pocket book. Waking up in the morning and just wandering over, even when you really don’t need anything, can lead to unnecessary purchases.

While you might reap the rewards in quality, some farmers markets charge a premium on their products. I’ve found that many of the items sold at our local farmers market are a good 25-50% costlier than at our area grocery stores.

While I understand that the local producers have to pay for their time and labor, that they may not have many of the advantages of larger growers, and that their products may be of better quality and healthier, it’s hard to pay the significantly higher premium on their products.

Trying New Things
As my mother says, “It’s good to try new things.” This can be true, but it can also be costly.

We recently bought some fava beans at the farmers market. We’d never tried them before, and let’s just say there weren’t our thing. While this was largely an isolated incident in our farmers market purchases, trying new things can get expensive, just ask my son.

He always wants to get a balloon animal from the “Balloon Man” or get his face painted, buy a snow cone or a hot dog, or have some similar novelty item. While such items can be fun treats, they can become costly over the course of our visits.

Familiarity Breeds Spending
One of the money saving dangers of our farmer market that I feel most prevalently, is that of familiarity. For me at least, as I begin to get to know some of the local merchants, I also begin to feel obligated to buy from them.

While I know I shouldn’t feel that way, walking by a friend, neighbor or associate’s stand with no customers in front of it, tugs at my heartstrings. I then feel obligated to make a purchase whether I actually need or want what they are selling or not.

The familiarity I breed with those selling things at the local farmers market begins to turn to guilt if I don’t buy. I realize that some of these people are starving artists or just trying to make a living like myself, and I start to feel obligated to buy their stuff. Especially if I stopped in last week and make a purchase, I feel kind of weird passing by the following week, just waving or throwing out a kind word.

I’m sure not all people are susceptible to such feelings at their local farmers markets, but these are a few of the dangers I encounter when it comes to how my money is spent at such locales.

1 comment:

  1. Agree with the familiarity breeds spending. My friend, who is good friends with our local grocer, has been buying $12 gallon milk. Don't feel bad if you walk by without buying high priced merchandize! I usually buy token stuff, like $4-5 flowers, baked goods, pickles or berries which are very reasonable.