Another way to save money at the grocery store is to stop by the markdown racks each time you shop for groceries.
Grocery stores mark down items they want to sell quickly. Sometimes the food is about to hit its expiration date. Other times they are discontinuing a particular product and just want to move them to make room on the shelves for something else.
Here are some of my tips for finding and making markdowns work for you:
Talk to a manager - Either a dairy, meat or produce manager. Or the managers in the sections of the store you’re interested in getting markdowns from. They’ll let you know what their policy is on markdowns and when they tend to mark items down. Keep in mind though that some stores do not do markdowns as a part of their store policy.
Plan your trips around the new markdowns - If you just discovered, by asking, that your store tends to mark things down daily between 1-3pm, shop during that time to snag the best deals.
Find the markdowns in your store - I usually shop at the Superstore on a weekly basis and they’re great for item markdowns. Especially in the produce and bakery sections of the store. In my local Superstore I generally find big markdown racks in the produce, bakery, pharmacy, household and in the entrance of the store. I also find a few markdowns with orange tags in the organic/gluten free aisles. Each store is different though, so scope out the stores you shop at!
Rework your grocery list - If you were planning on buying some green peppers for your meals during the week at full price, stop at the markdown rack to see if there are any vegetables that you could use in place of the peppers. Perhaps a bag of baby carrots is on the rack along with some cauliflower? Use those instead to save a large chunk on your grocery bill. Or maybe you were planning on making some apple muffins, but notice that there are some drastically reduced brown bananas that would work great in some banana bread! Use some creativity to see the possibilities of markdowns.
Don’t buy something just because it’s cheap - If you know that no one in your family likes papaya, you’re not saving yourself any money if it’s only going to go bad at home! Maybe you found some white bread marked down, but you’re trying to go the whole grain route for the health benefits; stick to your family’s principles. Before purchasing something that’s marked down, try to have a plan for how you’re going to use the item.
Don’t be afraid to ask for a markdown - Just because an item isn’t marked down, doesn’t mean it can’t be reduced. Perhaps you noticed a jug of milk that is only days away from expiring or some apples that are a bit past their prime which are still at full price. If you simply ask a manager if the item could be discounted, I’m sure they’d be happy to oblige. I learned this lesson last summer while I was away at the Savvy Blogging Summit. Once we were back in Canada, Stephanie and I stopped at a local grocery store to pick up some milk for her family. She spotted some organic milk that was about to expire the next day so she asked if she could receive a discount. She ended up getting 2 bottles for $0.25 each!! If I didn’t have such a long drive home, I would have snapped some up as well! Obviously the lesson here is to never hesitate to ask for a discount.
Do you shop your store’s markdowns? If so, which stores do you typically see the best deals? Have you got any tips to share with others?