I’ve watched those extreme couponing shows, where the subjects fill three shopping carts to overflowing, then go through the checkout line with a wad of coupons and get everything for fifty cents. I will admit, I was a little jealous, yet inspired, and I decided to try some extreme coupouning of my own.Now, I wasn’t trying to clear the store shelves, like many of the people on these shows. I have no need for 100 toothbrushes, or 65 jars of spaghetti sauce. But I did want to save a boatload of money. So I bought the Sunday paper, and then I searched for printed coupons online, and I even bought one of those binders with baseball card inserts. I was ready to go hardcore.But, when all was said and done. All I ended up with was several small pieces of slick, brightly-coloured paper that always seemed to expire before I could use them. I had come to terms with the fact that extreme couponing wasn’t for me. The fact is, it’s not for a lot of people — that stuff takes some serious time and dedication.
So How Can You Save Money?
Well, I still use coupons now and then. I load them onto my store card. I get them in the mail, and they do save me money. I also still look for coupons for non-grocery items, like Staples Bed Bath and Beyond. But when it comes to grocery shopping, I find that another great way to save is by taking advantage of manager’s specials from the store you are shopping at.
What Are Manager’s Specials?
Manger’s specials are products that haven’t sold well. They are products that have been on the shelves too long, are discontinued, or are near the sell-by-date. You can find manager’s specials on meat and produce items on a daily basis, as these items reach their sell-by-dates fairly quickly, which makes them perfect to snatch up and save.
Manager’s specials are still safe to eat, as long as you follow freezing and food safety, and freeze them the same day. The bargain bins are also a greaty way to stock up on a variety of foods for your family. Dairy products are generally marked down a few days from the sell-by-date. Meats are also safe for use, if you use them quickly or freeze them. And you can freeze most dairy items without diminishing the quality of the food.
Dry and non-perishable items are another category that often end up on manager’s specials. These items include cereals, rice, beans… any foods that are normally stored in your pantry. You can also find non-food items, like water filters, shampoos and toilet paper. Some of these items simply need to be moved to make room for newer shimpments, and some might have been damaged at some point.
Tip: The only damaged items I would not recommend buying are canned goods, and boxed items where the food has been exposed. For example, if you see a damaged box of cereal and the cereal is spilling out, avoid it. if you see a damaged box but the inner plastic bag is intact, go for it.
The thing is, as long as you don’t mind changing up your brands, and you have a good freezer, you can save a lot of money by perusing the manger’s specials and items labeled “Reduced for quick sale.” You can also get the chance to try items you might otherwise ignore, like fancy cooking oils or those special marinades, at a fraction of the price.
You can find manager’s specials on shelves, in their regular sections, but some stores have a separate area at the end of the aisles for these items. If you are not sure if your store has them, or where to find them, contact the customer service desk at your favorite grocery store.
Happy Shopping and Saving!
This is a guest post written by Sara Stringer. Sara is freelance writer from Southern California who loves writing about family. In her spare time, she enjoys maintaining a healthy lifestyle through swimming and practicing yoga. We appreciate Sara for taking the time to help us save money. Drop her some comments below to show her some love. Thanks for reading.