Thursday, June 7, 2018

Project Pantry - Part 4 - Clearance & Closeouts

Today is the last post on project pantry for a bit.  We have covered so many ways to get food for our pantries - I hope it has helped.

Today I will touch on clearance buys and closeouts.  I have told everyone before - basically I buy nothing unless it is a great sale or markdown.  That is just me.  I know everyone isn't a conscious of that as I am.
Sure, there is always a splurge now and then.  That is what makes life exciting.  But at our house, that also makes it a real treat - because it just doesn't happen often.
It's probably a good thing that G CAN'T go shopping with me any more - because he has always been much more of an impulse buyer than me.  If he wants it - he gets it.

Most all stores have clearance.  It may be in the produce department, it may be in the bakery, meat, or just a clearance section for dry goods.
Kroger has all the above.  You may find items marked clearance randomly throughout the produce department.  Meat is generally in a section of meat department.  We have a rack of bakery goods - and then we have a section MARKED clearance.  Those are my first looks each time I go.

Once in a while I find meat that is marked a great price - and I just can't turn it down.  Most times - it seems the markdown price of meat is still MORE than I will spend!  I do like super sales that are advertised at different holidays and event times.

Meat- wise I usually find ground pork, bulk lunchmeat, maybe ground beef, hotdogs in my good clearance finds. 

Our stores have CLEANANCE and they have CLOSEOUTS.  Clearance is items that can not fit on the regular shelves as they are being stocked. according our local grocers (they keep no back stock).  Closeouts are items that the store is getting rid of that they have decided not to sell any longer.

I have found some of the best deals on closeouts.  They are in the regular aisles with a black and white price sign in front of them.  They are not individually marked - they just ring up cheaply at register.
I get aisle goods and even frozen items for absolute pennies on the dollar.  I have purchased BIG cans of fruit for like .29 when regularly they are well over a $1 or $2.  I have found pasta for around .19 a pack - frozen items for pennies. 
YES, you do need to walk up and down the aisles and just hunt for the special price signs - but it sure can be worth it.  You did need RESTRAINT to not buy other stuff you see!!!!!

WM has great prices on their marked down bakery bread and rolls..  I have purchased Italian bread for as little as .37 a loaf.  Get several - wrap tightly and freeze.  Great for garlic bread or pizzas.  They sometimes have deli items marked way down.

I also go for the .99/bag area of produce.  Some days there are great deals - others not so much.   Markdowns are throughout  the produce dept.  Watch for salad goods or fruit - if you are going to be using it soon.   No sense spending extra money is you are having it for dinner tonight or tomorrow.

Even though you may be in the grocery store - there are other deals to be had.  Health and beauty items, OTC meds, supplements, paper goods, baking items, office/school supplies, candy, canning items, baby stuff, even items used in kitchens.  I have gotten some of just about all of those things.  I do buy items that are not food related for adding to holiday gift baskets - huge savings.

I got these on closeout for 1.74 each.  Good for a quick meal or salad toppers
Whole loins on clearance.  Came home and cut them up into chops and small roasts - so many meals for $6 & change
Items purchased for gift basket add-ins.
Just take time and look at each area and decide what is best for you and your family.  Items can be frozen for later.  Walk the aisles (IF you can be disciplined) and check out deals.  I consider it a game.  The store temps me at every move - I like getting only the deals - then CHECKMATE!!!  I win!!!!!!!!!

You may have stores like Big/Odd Lots or Ollie's - these are closeout stores - and deals can be had - but generally I have better luck with my grocery store.

You might even get acquainted with the manager or butchers or clerks - they can give you an idea when they tend to do markdowns.
Many stores markdown at the beginning of the week - if they have an abundance of sale meat or fresh items left after the weekend.  Some mark down right before the new ad  takes hold.  Just ask - all they can do is tell you to go they don't have a method!  They may just give you the routine!
They want to get rid of stuff and you want to save - WIN-WIN!!

Remember any money you save with great deals - is like money in the bank.  You can stock ALL of your various pantries for pennies.  Plan ahead and save.
Get as much as you can afford  and will use or that someone you know can use.  It won't be there next week!  You HAVE to take advantage when the opportunity arises!

EMBRACE CLEARANCE - most of the dry good items you can get aren't even close to the 'best buy' dates (not that a lot of us worry about that!).  Fresh can be frozen or canned for futures use.


Let us know where you find your best deals!!!!!!


  1. I do the same thing, Cheryl. I checked out all the marked down sections before I do my grocery shopping. I walk up and down the aisle at Food Lion too looking for their closeouts. If we lived closer to Kroger I would do it there as well.

    What a great deal on those shrimp poppers! Another great blog post!

    1. Thanks Belinda.
      So glad to hear others do the same thing.
      Great minds....think alike!

  2. Hello Cheryl, you and I are sister shoppers. I shop very similar to you.
    Our town is small with not many stores but we are getting a 5 Below this month. I’m wondering if it will have real bargains, maybe it will.

    1. Rhonda glad you like a bargain too! I have heard of that store - but I don't believe we have them here. Good luck with it!

  3. I do love the mark-down racks, too. I also don't mind trying new things if they are super cheap for any reason. We are not brand-picky at all. Most of the time, we can discern no difference in products, although we have a couple of things we do care about, such as Lowrie's seasoning salt. That's the one we buy. I also use the mark-down produce when it's any good. I have discovered many new foods we enjoy by being open to getting something new when it is in that Whoo-hoo bin. Also, if there is a huge coupon because they are trying to get people to try a new product, I'm all over it.

    1. I love it Becky. You are so right, it does give one an opportunity to try new things and not spend a fortune if disappointed.
      truth be known, so many brands of the same things are made in the same plant, just labeled differently.
      I am with you - I love that season salt.
      Stay frugal!

  4. I have a quick question do you wrap your bread for the freezer, what type of wrapping do you use, how many layers, etc?

    1. Ellen if I have Italian bread - I get all the air out of the store wrapper that I can. I then wrap tightly in saran wrap. I am usually going to bake or toast it - so it drying out a bit is ok.

      Regular bread - I don't freeze often - because it just doesn't thaw 'fresh like' for me. I have heard to always thaw it standing up - so moisture goes down into a heel and the rest of the bread stays soft. It sort of works!
      IF I freeze regular bread - I squeeze out air and then place in bags I keep from the newspaper. (long skinny bags)
      Hope that helps a bit!!

  5. Hey Cheryl, I too shop like that. Hard to find bargains on cat food and litter these days (I got a new kitten a couple of weeks ago). But I am trying cedar shavings for litter and since she is a kitten, hasn't had time to learn to "dislike" anything. It is cheaper than litter and I have found no odor issues either. Just to be on the safe side, I did invest in a spray bottle of odor destroyer (and it can be used for other areas if necessary). Food wise, I have a good time with meat markdowns at Walmart. You are right, some of the prices are still too high, but if it is at least 335 off, it is usually still a good price. I always shop the discounted produce, bakery and general clearance items first. Makes sense (an cents) to do that. If I buy some produce I am not sure how to use, I google it. Take care.

    1. Norma - that's a good idea with the kitty. Mine are so used to what they use - I think I would create a real problem for Momma!
      I try to watch for coupons on pet products - but they aren't like they used to be. I do have a couple places I go - that have great prices.

      I wish we still had a day old bread store around - they have closed all of ours. I loved those places.
      Same here - Google is my friend! Have a good one.

    2. Hi Cheryl,
      Thanks so much for your blog. It is terrific to have a place to "gather" with other frugalistas. LOL
      I too check out the WOOHOO sections of my Kroger store. My hubby will even ask, "was this WOOHOO" about various items. LOL
      Yesterday I found two 5 pound bags of Bob's Red Mill whole wheat flour for 1.79 each. That is a GREAT deal!

    3. Hi Ellie - thank you for your sweet words. I like having a place to visit with other frugal chicks as well!
      Sounds like you have hubby on board as well. Good for you!
      WOW - what a deal on the Bob's products. Can't beat that.
      Have a great weekend

  6. Just a quick question...I bought a can of asparagus at Dollar Tree that you had mentioned. How do I fix it..cook with some seasoning and what kind or serve it cold. I am not really familiar with asparagus. Enjoy your blog. Keep up the good work. Sharon D.

    1. Sharon - raw asparagus is good with dips. The canned - I just add a bit of seasoning salt or ham seasoning (bouillon) and simmer for a bit.

      You can eat that way or top with an Italian vinegrette. There are many ways.
      I have also made cream of asparagus soup with it.

      Google asparagus and you will find a plethora of recipes. I hope you enjoy it.
      Many times it is an acquired taste. I didn't like it as a child - but love now!

  7. Its the only way I shop. I always check the clearance racks first. I am always friendly to the staff. Some of my best deals are because a staff member pointed me in their direction.

    1. YAY! I am so glad to hear so many people shop the same frugal way. It is so inspiring.
      Love that you befriend the staff and they help guide you along!

  8. You are doing very well with your shopping. My son in VA likes to go to Walmart for meat marked down. Have a great week-end. Nancy

    1. Thanks Nancy. I don't go to Walmart very often. When I have, ours never has meat marked down. Must go at the wrong times!

  9. I shop exactly like you do. There is another me out there!

  10. I shop like that too! During the Summer, when the college students are gone, I find some of my best deals at Walmart. :)