Cate emailed in the following tip:
I wanted to share with Money Saving Mom readers about one of the primary ways I save money on groceries for my family: salvage grocery stores.
You know, the little clearance sections you sometimes see at your local chain grocery store? Imagine a whole store of that!
For those who don’t know, salvage grocery stores (sometimes referred to as outlet, clearance, or discount grocery stores) carry items that regular grocery stores are not willing or able to sell. Salvage grocery stores will buy these items at a fraction of the cost and sell them to their customers at prices that are often half or less than what the original retail price was.
Some examples of what you will find at a salvage grocery store are:
- Foods with damaged packaging
- Foods at, near, or sometimes past the “best by” date
- Items that a store has discontinued
There are some crazy good deals to be had at salvage stores, but if you’re anything like I was at first, you have to adapt your mindset. The first time I went to a salvage grocery store, I had to get over the “ew” factor. But let me just say, that problem was pretty much entirely in my mind… and for the most part, unwarranted.
There are some grocery salvage stores out there that are every bit as nice as regular grocery stores, but it’s not unusual to find a salvage grocery store that looks a little run down and maybe even smells a little funky. You are doing yourself a favor to get over your apprehension and check it out anyway. Many of these places can’t afford to have slick decor or an espresso bar; but when you see the prices, you’ll be glad to know you’re passing those things up for good reason.
Salvage grocery stores are making good use out of foods that don’t meet the standards of regular stores. I frequently find items that have absolutely no apparent problem with them and aren’t even close to expiring. Salvage grocery stores seem to always have an abundance of organic and gluten free items, as well as conventional items. So even if you’re not in it to pinch pennies necessarily, you can take your normal grocery budget and drastically increase the quality of food you’d otherwise buy.
Just remember to use common sense, read up in expiration dates, and examine the foods carefully as you shop. These grocery stores are great places to support — see if there’s a salvage grocery store near you!