Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Shop to Win - Different Strategies

Most people go to the grocery every week or so.  You may have one or two places that you regularly shop.  Those may not always be the cheapest or best places to find deals.  Think about looking outside the box.

MARKDOWNS/CLEARANCE- always, always check the clearance aisle.  You can get so many deals there.  Most items are well within the "best by" dates.  Actually most are exactly the same as what is in another aisle for regular price.  Our area stores markdown all stock that won't fit on the regular display - as they keep nothing in the stock room.
The fresh produce areas often have a markdown section as well.  Kroger has it's .99 bags and the items a near perfect.

AISLE DEALS - always check the aisle for deals.  Those who are familiar with Kroger or affiliates - watch for the white shelf tags that say "manager markdown".  Those are items that the store is no longer going to restock or carry - so you can get some great markdown deals.

BAKERY DEALS - most stores all have an area where they have marked down bakery goods.  These items are much cheaper and can be taken home and used immediately, refrigerated or frozen.

DAIRY MARKDOWNS - always check the dairy aisle.  Often milk is marked down, as is yogurt, cheese, etc.  I can't remember the last time I purchased yogurt for full price (except at Aldi - it's cheap).  Milk can be purchased and drank, turned into cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, sour cream, etc.  You can also freeze milk (remove a bit before freezing) and use at a later date.

Look outside the box.  You can often find deals in places you would not think about.  I have gotten some of my best deals at stores not commonly thought of for groceries.

DOLLAR STORES - Whether the Dollar General, Family Dollar, or Dollar Tree - there are deals to be had.  Now you need to know your prices - as some things aren't deals - you just have to look.  I get many things at the $Tree, that are super expensive at the grocery.  Shelf stable milk is one thing.  $1 a container at $Tree and at least twice that at grocer.
Cleaning supplies and health and beauty items are sooooooo much cheaper at the $Tree (brand names - watch sizes).  I get most of my first aid stuff there as well.  Why spend money that you don't have to?
Many dollar stores have coupons on receipts that on certain days you can get $5 off $25 purchases.  With cheaper prices and a lot of clearance at these stores - it sure can stretch your dollar.

I know this sounds crazy - but check them out!!!  Farm & Fleet, Tractor Supply, Rural King, Lowes, Home Depot, Menards, etc.
I get the best price EVER on vinegar at Rural King.  I always stock up whenever I get there.  Garden seeds can be purchased for lesser prices as well as yard and garden items.  Food of all types are now being sold at these stores.  I have purchased canned veggies for .33/can at Menards and they often have sales on canned chicken/ham/turkey for a $1 can.  Great shelf stable items for your long term pantry.
With all the shortages people keep speaking of on cleaning items, hand sanitizers, and paper goods - check these places.  They usually have ample supplies.

Sam's and Costco are the two big ones.  Can you save money?  Sure - but again, remember, you need to know your pricing.  NOTHING is a good deal, if you can't use it before it goes bad or you simply waste it.  Buy fresh meats and veggies and repackage and freeze when you find a deal.  Non food items are often very cheap at these places.  If you can not store for a later date or you will not use it all, think about splitting purchase with another person.  You both get a deal and stock up.
These stores also have markdowns and clearance - usually because they are going to stop carrying that item.  You can get some phenomenal deals if you watch the labels closely.

I am not fortunate enough to have one of these close by any longer.  The last one closed a couple years ago.  If you can find one - go and check it out.  There can be so many great deals.  If I ever get back to the Amish store (quite a drive), I will check out their scratch and dent section.  Make sure the cans are just slightly dented - no leaking and no rust and no bulging.
BREAD STORES - are also great places to get bread and snacks items for a cheaper price.  Our last one of these closed a couple years ago as well.  That made me sad.  Hmmmmm - sounds like we have a couple business opportunities in my community!!!!!

There are places like BIG LOT'S/ODD LOT'S and OLLIES that sell store buy outs and over stock from places.  Many deals can be found at these places as well.

Osco, CVS, Rite-Aid, Walgreen, etc. often have food and grocery deals.  I have found many items on special (especially at holidays), that sure make it worth stocking up on.  Always look after the holidays for at least 50% markdowns on holiday items.  Who cares what the packages look like  - the product is the same.  Stock-up on these deals for a later date.

In the past there have been many members of the community that were AVID coupon queens and they would sell their deals at yard sales for pennies on the dollar of store prices.
Of course shopping/stocking doesn't always mean groceries - keep eyes open for school supplies, toys, clothes, bedding, household goods as well.
It is amazing what people buy - then never use - and sell for next to nothing.  Obviously they have more money than sense!!!!  Well, sometimes I figure they have little of both!  LOL
You can take advantage and get great deals.
THRIFT STORES can also be a place for good deals.  You can usually find a bit of everything - although these places are looking to make money - so your deals may not be as good as yard sales.

NEVER dismiss any type of store/outlet for a getting a deal.  Think outside the box.  Keep you mind open.
Watch all the ads and watch the aisles whenever you enter a store - sometimes the best deals are NOT advertised!
If you find a great deal - let others know as well.  I realize not everyone will run out and purchase or even look for a deal - but if you can help someone else save a penny or a dime - DO IT!



  1. Lots of good ideas, thank you.

  2. We check the markdown section of every store we enter. We can usually find something good there. We used to shop at Sam's Club, but have not renewed our membership in a few years. I agree that you definitely need to know your prices if you shop there. Great blog post. :)

    1. Thanks. I always manage to find the markdown section as well - no matter where I go!
      My renewal is coming up for Sam's - thinking of not renewing myself. Haven't been in ages.

  3. I do all of these things. I always shop the sale rack first. Hubs clothes are expensive and I was able to get a vest and new jacket for him at 75% off. The vest and the jacket were a tall I shortened the sleeves. We did not ind the length.

    1. Love the sale racks. Good for you on finding him new clothes with that great of sale. Huge savings.

  4. Our grocery stores offer weekly sales but never clearance pricing. I watch the ads regularly and unless it something I have to have, I only purchase items on sale and stock up. This week my best buys were BOGO on pasta sauce and 18 eggs for $2.99 (regular price for these eggs was just over $5).

    I do go to dollar stores for some items as well as Giant Tiger (discount store) and the drug store. What's really important is knowing the prices. I keep a spreadsheet and when I'm checking adverts I compare the prices to the last time I purchased something.

    I don't go to Costco often because the size of the products are generally too large. But I will pick up some items - again, when they are on sale.

    But my favorite thrift shopping are the local thrift stores for household goods, clothing and books. I don't allow myself to go often but it's rare to not come home with a nearly new item for next to nothing.

    1. Knowing your prices is so important. I don't have a spread sheet, but I do keep things in mind when shopping. I have a general idea.
      Good job on trying to buy just items on sale. That is when to stock up for sure.

  5. Thanks for the ideas! I am going to stock up on a few more things this week, before the college kids come back from spring break. Then I'm not going to set foot in a store for a while.
    I have never frozen milk before, does it really freeze well and taste ok once thawed? Thanks!

    1. Your welcome. We have so many choices of places to shop - it really is amazing.
      You have to let it thaw slowly in frig and shake really well after it thaws. I think it tastes fine. You might try a half gallon sometime just to give it a test try.