Where to go for Super Cheap Groceries: Supermarket Savvy
As our economy continues to limp along, more people with downsized grocery budgets are turning to salvage food stores. These are stores that sell dented, damaged or “about to expire” products at reduced prices. The products come from grocery stores, food manufacturers, and even from food auctions. Historically, many of these items would have been given directly to a food bank, so as demand for salvage stores increases, donations to food banks have fallen off in some regions.
Salvage food stores allow shoppers to get low-priced foods without the extra work of couponing. Additionally, salvage stores sometimes carry items for which coupons aren’t typically available, such as specialty food items. There are, however, some things to keep in mind. When products are past their “best by” or “sell by” date, their flavors can start to fade. They’re still perfectly safe for consumption, but they just won’t taste as good. Second, the risk you take of losing good, fresh flavor isn’t always worth it. In my experience, I can usually get fresh products at regular grocery stores for less than salvage prices if I combine sales and coupons. However, salvage food stores do hold a certain appeal — you never know when you might stumble upon perfectly good power bars for a quarter apiece, or your favorite gourmet condiment for under a dollar.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has compiled a bevy of helpful safety tips about salvage food shopping. Use it as a reference if you decide to go salvage!
Shop smart and save! Check out more tips on couponing and savvy shopping: