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9 Little-Known Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Your Grocery Store

grocery tips

Some people love going grocery shopping, but I think most of us find it to be more of a “necessary evil.” And personally, I have nothing against my neighborhood grocery store (I love it!), and I certainly don’t take for granted the fact that I am fortunate enough to even have this “chore” in the first place.

I guess I just don’t enjoy the process of grocery shopping, and it’s not a particularly fun thing to spend money on either. I’ve been doing quite a bit of online shopping over the past year or so to cut back on grocery store trips, but I don’t get the same sort of cooking inspiration that I often do when browsing the aisles. (Not to mention that I know exactly where everything is at my usual store, while finding certain things online can be tricky.)

In hopes of offsetting the less enjoyable aspects of grocery shopping, I’ve been researching tips that can help me make the most of my trips to the store. I ended up coming across some great ideas, and I’ll be sharing 9 of them with you in today’s post. They’ve given me a whole new appreciation for my local grocery store, and I think they’ll do the same for you!

9 Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Your Grocery Store

grocery tips

1. Save Your Receipts

When you find a great deal on something, save your receipt. That way you’ll have a record of what the sale price was so you know when to stock up again in the future.

grocery tips

2. Shop Late For Bakery Deals

Shopping later in the evening can be a great way to score discounts on bakery items. I can’t even count how many times I’ve heard announcements that “donuts and bagels are now half off” over the intercom when I’ve been at the store during the evening.

grocery tips

3. Get Cheese Sliced

Some of the best prices on cheese are on large blocks of it, but if you’re using it for sandwiches or burgers, slicing it at home can be a hassle. Instead, head over to the deli counter and ask if they’ll slice it for you.

grocery tips

4. Be Sure About Savings

If your grocery store has a 10 for $10 promotion on an item or items, be sure to check the original price of the item. While it probably won’t be that much more than $1, you definitely want to be sure it wasn’t less!

grocery tips

5. Use Meat Department Services

The meat department in your grocery store offers several free services that many customers don’t even know about. Most butchers are willing to slice, tenderize, trim, and even grind cuts of meat for you. All you have to do is ask!

grocery tips

6. Compare Seafood Prices

When checking out the offerings at the seafood counter, look at the small type on the labels. If a product is labeled “previously frozen,” it’s worth it to head to the frozen section of the store to compare the two prices. Occasionally seafood is slightly cheaper when still frozen, so it’s an easy way to save some cash.

grocery tips

7. Look Up (And Down)

The eye level shelves are prime real estate at stores, but not every manufacturer can afford to stock their products there. When you’re shopping, be sure to scan the higher and lower shelves too. You never know what you might find there!

grocery tips

8. Don’t Assume Bulk Is Cheaper

You know what they say about assumptions, and it’s just as true when it comes to bulk pricing. While larger quantities do often cost less, that isn’t always the case—for instance, produce items like peppers, apples, and avocados are often cheaper when purchased individually than in pre-packaged bags.

grocery tips

9. Check The Clearance Shelves

Keep an eye out for your grocery store’s clearance section and visit it often. The marked down items you’ll find there are not necessarily about to expire—the store or the manufacturer may be discontinuing them.

What are your best tips for getting the most out of your grocery store?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Bright Ideas

  • When looking for fresh food items, if the boxes of fruit, vegetables etc the new produce is always put in the box underneath, so move the top box and check the produce and date on the box label: that way, when you get it home it will last longer.

  • Pretty sure that freshly baked bread was displayed in an open bag to preserve the crisp crust and not allow warm bread to steam the crust soft.

  • The majority of these tips can be boiled down to simply getting to know your local grocery store. Learning the services, the culture, and even the store’s normal sales flow really pays off.

  • I’m a dairy manager at my local store and I have to let you know that when you’re teaching to the back to get the”fresher” milk or yogurt etc, you’re pushing everything else to the side and knocking other stuff over, and I have to tell you that’s the most INFURIATING bad habit customers have in any department in our store. I hope you realize that someone has to straighten all of that up after you push everything around like that.

    • Not me…I always put whatever I mess up back. No matter what department. Dairy, meat, etc. And if I disrupt things while finding the one I want, I put everything in its place. I am 65 now and disabled. but I worked in the grocery business as well. We didn’t get to go home at night until that store was in tip-top shape! :-)

  • Sam’s Club clearance section includes ‘last one’ items priced at regular price.

    I believe that if a store advertises something at 10 for $10 they have to (by law) sell the items at the unit price obtained by dividing the amount by the advertised units.

  • I was just yesterday at Costco, I was looking for over the counter allergy eye drops. The pharmacist advised me and came personally to help me and said that I should not buy them from him, but to get the same allergy eye drops cheaper directly from the shelf, a three-pack Zaditor was even on sale.
    Allergy eye drops with a prescription are extremely expensive, so when I get 3 (5ml) bottles with about $ 15 it is really cheap.

  • Where I live, Wednesday is second only to Saturday as the worst day to shop. Most stores here give a senior discount and the senior centers and retirement homes bring their buses loaded. Great service for them, slow and long lines for me! Very early Thursday morning, or after lunch and before school is out, are the best times here. I don’t know about late in the day, we are early to bed people, haha!

  • When I buy a whole turkey, I have the butcher cut it in half. It is more convenient for just the 2 of us. Also if you are buying large amounts of an item, ask for a discount. I have gotten case goods etc…at cost.
    I make meals for people who are recovering from surgeries, etc…I will often ask the manager, if I can get 2 items that are listed as “1 per family”. One for me and one for the charity work.
    Also one last thing, don’t forget to tell them thank you. I just delivered cookies to my local store as a thank you.

  • We shop a lot of our meat from Sam’s and utilize the butcher there. My dh buys a pork roll and has it cut into several pork loins as well as 10-15 sets of pork chops. Used to be he brought it home and did it himself until he noticed the butcher doing it for someone else. At my local Publix we are able to order items even if the store doesn’t normally carry them. I have ordered crock pot meals when we were camping and wine from wineries not nearby for Christmas.

  • I agree with this blog and what Sarah is saying. I too work for a grocery store. Sometimes if certain sale items aren’t on the shelves it’s because of our warehouse being out of it. You can always ask for a rain check on most sale items. These usually give a 10 day period to come back and get the item at the sale price.

  • As a grocery store department manager, I can’t say that a lot of these would apply to our store’s policies. 90% of our endcaps are sale items or have a coupon, the only way an endcap could be construed as being bought, is we are often reimbursed for the dollar amount of a coupon. We would never intentionally place a sale sign between two differently priced products with a desire to dupe our customers, that would only lead to an exchange at the register that would tie up our efficiency and resources. Our company has daily deliveries in most departments; dry grocery, dairy, meat market, produce, deli and bakery all get product in 7 days a week and weekends generally are the biggest deliveries. Because of the compromise of food safety with the potential for bacteria, dented cans should be thrown away not marked down. Unless there is a seriously short date or you are stockpiling, reaching to the back for lengthier dates could potentially raise your grocery prices if that product in the front expires and becomes a loss (the same is true when there is widespread damage from customers leaving refrigerated or frozen products in inappropriate places).
    That being said, we ARE willing to go the mile for our customers (at least, those of us who are invested in our job, and are not just there for a paycheck). If a sale item is out of stock, ask for a comparable product at that price, or at least ask for a raincheck. If you can’t find a product, please don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. If I had a dollar for every time I was told that an item wasn’t where it was suppose to be, when it actually was, good Lord, I could’ve retired long ago. Having spent several years working in a full service meat market, I know there are tons of options that customers may not take advantage of. Custom orders, trimming, tenderizing, seasoning etc, the only limit is food safety!
    I will say this, our company empowers it employees to make a lot of decisions when it comes to customer service, with excellence being the goal. Sometimes there is a breakdown in supply, communication or follow through, because at the end of the day your grocery store, the manufacturers, warehouses etc are run by imperfect beings who are capable of making mistakes, but we ALWAYS want to make it right. Please don’t treat us as malicious or incapable if your favorite organic treat is not available (I’ve been accused of wanting to poison children) and remember to speak to the appropriate people for an effective solution!

    • I have to agree with you! Everything you have stated sounds 100% like the store I visit.
      Most recently I had purchased a large amount of coupons to stock a local food pantry. I went to the store to special order the items so not to empty the shelves. While waiting for the order to come in, the company changed their coupon policy with a limit. I spoke with the manager and they were willing to honor the previous policy due to when I ordered. While still waiting on my full order to come in, my coupons expired. Frustrated for the extended wait, I visited the store and was told they would honor all coupons as if they were still in date. I was amazed at the length they went to ensure the right thing was done.
      In the end, the food pantry was overwhelmed with the donation as well! Win-Win!

    • I am 65 now, and of course much different thinking than when raising my kids. But, I find that most services, grocery or otherwise, really want to have happy, loyal customers. If we ask, they will usually bend over backwards for you. But unfortunately, there are so many unhappy and bitter people out there that cannot be pleased! They would rather leave the store and talk bad about it rather than TRY to resolve an issue! I am sure many people reading this will think I am horrible to say this, but it is true! I have a neighbor like this so I see it all the time. In her personal life as well as every other area, she would just as soon be the “victim” of mistreatment, rather than try any positive steps. We are becoming very entitled, self-absorbed people, and it is sad. I long for the days when MOST people were happy and pleasant while some were unhappy. Today, MOST people are unhappy and you run into a few that aren’t! I smile at everyone. Some smile back, most don’t. Cest la vie! (sp?) ;-) God bless…

    • I’m not Jillee, obviously, but when I read that tip I immediately thought of a canned ham like a Hostess Ham. Not sure many of us purchase those very often and I really can’t remember seeing them in the store recently.

  • Dear Jillee, it appears you have beautiful, bountiful grocery store to do your shopping with wonderful, helpful grocery store employees standing at attention. I don’t really think it is like that everywhere. Where I live, we must dilligently check every date on each item and reach far in the back for most current stock, hopefully, get one that is not expired. Help is stressed out and too busy here. Good article, be thankful.

    • Wow…every store I have ever been to could/would NEVER even knowingly leave expired items on the shelf! Do you live in an area that has a problem getting the products or something? I have never heard of this!!

  • Under Butcher, did you mean to say “If you’re unsure how to cook a certain type of meat, do be afraid to ask your butcher for suggestions.”?
    and under Miscellaneous, “You can return times at grocery stores.”?
    Sometimes our eyes make better spell checkers.

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