Shop Aldi. Tremendous savings can be had on produce by shopping at Aldi, but don’t neglect the refrigerated cases where you can find artisan cheeses and deli meat on deep discount from herb goat cheese logs to smoked salami. In fact, Aldi has partnered with Bon Appetite magazine to feature gourmet recipes that incorporate these ingredients.
While sometimes the produce is riper than you would find at another grocery stores, you’re going to save a ton of money buying it there. For example, you can often purchase seasonal fruits for as low as 99 cents a quart like blueberries. Melons are typically one to three times cheaper than varieties sold at other grocers. Aldi discounts organic produce, but this is a smaller section of their produce area so the selection is limited.
Tip: Bring a quarter in order to use a grocery cart and pack your own shopping bags otherwise you’re going to have to beg, borrow, and steal extra cardboard boxes from around the store to get food to your car. Expect to pack your own groceries. Look for white discount tags on items in the cooler cases. You can score deals on meats including chicken, beef, and some seafood items.
Look for WooHoo Stickers at Kroger. By far one of my favorite foodie activities, besides cooking, is cashing in on WooHoo Good Deal red and yellow sticker savings on Kroger groceries. This sale is not the same as a Manager’s Special deal, which is also another opportunity to save money, and these stickers are orange and black. For example, I purchased Odom’s Country Sausage for $1.79 on a Manager’s Special with was about a 50% discount. I made Sausage Caprese Stuffed Portobellos with sausage purchased from a Kroger’s and mushrooms from Aldi, which is one of my most popular recipes on Instagram.
Tip: Talk to the department manager if you see them facing meats and dairy in the refrigerated cases. They often carry a reel of WooHoo Good Deal stickers, and if asked, will tell you what they are marking down. Score! Don’t forget to shop in the nearby floral department where you can often find a bucket of fresh package flowers marked down to 99 cents a bouquet. These flowers last longer if you swing by the counter and snag a free package of flower food powder.
Shop Back of Store Exit Door Deals. Items marked with discount stickers are displayed, although a little haphazardly, on shelves near the back of the store next to the employee exit doors. You can also grab deals on day old baked items and clearance items from various departments. Because many store-baked items expire quickly because they lack the preservatives found in the bread aisle, they expire quickly. Need a white sheet cake at half the price? How about hoagie rolls for tonight’s barbecue cookout? They’re half price!
Tip: Buy discounted exit door deals on bread and freeze them for later use.
Look for an end cap of marked down produce. You can find ripe produce from bananas to squash in this bin usually located on an end cap in the produce section.
Tip: Can’t find it? Ask the produce manager where it is located. If your store doesn’t have one, ask he or she if they intend to pitch any ripe fruits and vegetables and if you can get a discount. Stores often throw away slightly ripened fruit if it is blemished or softening. Pre-bagged salad greens are quick to expire so be sure to tour those shelves too.
Shop the grocery ads for advertised one-day only special buys. We have a smaller hometown grocery store named Leeker’s Family Foods that sells bananas for 18 cents a pound on Thursdays every week. They limit you to ten pounds. Ha! Does your local grocer advertise a similar deal?
Tip: Look for a random grocery cart full of discounted produce bagged by the manager. I took home ten limes for $2 and made this Spiked Watermelon Lemon-Lime Cocktail and Beach Berry Blast with extra limes.
Buy Dollar Store pantry staple foods. Pay a dollar for white rice, dried pasta, canned beans, and basic spices for your pantry. Your family members or dinner guests are never going say to you “Hey, this isn’t Uncle Ben’s white rice!”
Tip: Buy breadcrumbs at Dollar Store. Who wants to make their own breadcrumbs when you can get them at rock-bottom prices?
Purchase dehydrated fruits and nuts in bulk at Menards. While only a slight discount, it is worth seeking out savings at Menards on fruits and nuts. These items are usually located near the canned goods and spices toward the back of the store.
Tip: You can buy retro candies in bulk there and package them individually for future birthday party favors. Make my Nutty Granola With Cranberries and Raisins for a grab and go snack or yogurt topper using their bulk packaged sunflower seeds.
Cruise the seasonal aisles the day after a holiday. I bet your kids love candy and peanut butter stuffed crackers. You can find these kid-friendly snack items on deep discount after Back to School, Halloween, Easter, and Christmas promotions. Add crushed discount chocolate candy to tonight’s vanilla ice cream dish for a super sweet treat.
Tip: Get there early the day after the holiday and save up to 75% off. These snack items and candy bags go quickly!
Grab and to-go dinner items (in the morning from the deli case) marked with discount stickers. Having worked in a grocery store deli, I know first-hand that last night’s deli case leftovers become the next day’s grab and go savings for you. That’s why you see the meatloaf and mashed potatoes sitting next to General Tso’s chicken in pre-packaged containers with orange stickers on them! This pre-packaged food isn’t bad, it’s just as good as eating leftovers from your fridge and you didn’t have to cook either. Typically, you save 50% on these dinner options.
Tip: Save money on your weekday lunch by buying discounted deli food in the morning on your way to work.
Make deals with vendors during the last hour of a farmers’ market. Although farmers’ markets are only open during warmer months, you can find great deals on homegrown produce there.
Tip: Ask a vendor, during the last hour of the day’s sale, if they are willing to give you a cheaper price for lettuce, kale, or soft skinned fruits that haven’t sold. You’re doing them a favor by keeping them from packing it back up on the truck and you score savings. Where else are they going to sell it that day, right?
Why overspend on groceries when you don’t have to?
If you have a dynamite way to save dollars without using coupons or store apps, write them in the comment section below!