Unconventional Places to Save on Groceries

by Christina Brown · 8 comments

in Frugal Living

Unconventional places to save on groceries

photo credit: ICCNS via Flickr

When you live in a rural area that only has a few stores with a limited selection, you learn to keep your eyes open for unique places to save money on groceries.

I’ve scored some great deals on groceries and household items just by thinking outside the box (or, um, grocery store).

Check out these unconventional places to save on groceries:

Convenience stores.  Convenience stores are normally well known for convenience – not great prices.  But a few of my local convenience stores have great sales on milk, juice, and bottled water.  Many stores have rewards programs that reward you for filling up your gas tank.  You can use those rewards to pick up food or household items (like toilet paper) for cheap or even free.

Drugstores.  You can score some great deals on groceries at your local Walgreens, CVS, or Rite Aid with some coupons and a little know-how. Learn to play the drugstore game and you’ll have a stocked pantry at rock-bottom prices.  Chief Family Officer has some good info for beginners on how to save at the drugstores.

Dollar stores.  Dollar stores can be an excellent source for grocery savings – especially when it comes to things like spices or snacks.  And The Dollar Tree even accepts manufacturer coupons, so you can sometimes get things for free or cheap.

Garage sales and estate sales.  While not a reliable source of groceries, sometimes you can pick up new, unopened food or household items like paper towels at garage sales or estate sales.  The prices will be excellent – but buyer beware – you don’t know how the item has been stored.   Check the expiration dates and use caution.  I’ve also been to several sales in which the homeowners sold fresh baked goodies at a bargain.

Surplus stores.  Surplus stores or scratch-and-dent stores can be a good source of discount groceries.  Just make sure to closely examine the packaging and check dates before purchasing.

Online. One of my favorite ways to save on groceries and household items is by shopping online at stores like Amazon.  You can get some great deals – often with free shipping.  You also save money because you don’t have to drive to the store and you’re less likely to impulse shop.

Where do you find deals on groceries?

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lea Ann January 25, 2013 at 8:32 am

Bread outlets: If you have a big bakery in your city, chances are they have a small storefront nearby where they sell discounted baked goods at ridiculous prices. I’ll buy six loaves at a time and keep them in my freezer…that way I go only once a month.

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2 Marta January 25, 2013 at 9:14 am

I was stunned when I realized that my local Target had a much better price on milk (and some other things) than the huge grocery store in the same shopping center. I started comparing prices on a lot of Target’s food items after that.

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3 Christina @ Northern Cheapskate January 25, 2013 at 8:53 pm

That reminds me – there’s a girl that works at my local Walmart who always tells me that Walgreens has the cheapest price on milk in our town. I really need to investigate that!

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4 Chasing Joy July 22, 2013 at 11:59 am

I find the same thing in my area regarding Target, Marta.

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5 Amy January 25, 2013 at 10:26 am

My motto for great savings is “be open to the possibility.” Which means I check for deals wherever I happen to be. Once I bought Target brand Pediasure at Goodwill for my daughter who required it at the time. (Don’t worry, it was unopened and unexpired…plus I could still see remnants of Target sale stickers on it). One of our regional gas stations always has great prices on bananas and they have a program where kids can choose a piece of fruit or bakery with the purchase of a pint or more of milk. I also stack coupons when shopping at Target or Walgreens. Occasionally I take advantage of stores price matching policy because I need to save time too.

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6 Elizabeth January 25, 2013 at 11:00 am

I find great deals at the numerous job lot, odd lot stores, esp. on organic cereal, snacks, jams, tea, etc. But as usual you always have to compare prices!

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7 Steve January 19, 2014 at 8:09 pm

Don’t forget Menards. They have some great specials at times. Not a huge selection, but bargains can be found.

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8 Christina Brown January 19, 2014 at 8:49 pm

That’s a good one, Steve! The closest Menards to me is an hour away, so I tend to forget about it, but I know when I’ve been there in the past, I’ve gotten some great deals on snacks and treats.

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