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If you like searching for deals at the dollar stores, maybe it is time to take it to the next level. I recently saw a news story about the growth of sales at salvage grocery stores which take unsaleble stock from traditional stores to sell at a reduced price. I always like the idea of a bargain, so I decided to check one out for myself.
First thing I noticed is that it is not convenient to shop this way. The store closest to my house is only open on Fridays and Saturdays, so I had to drive to a rural town (population: 3,000) to find an open store. Situated on the one and only main drag, the store looked a smaller version of your typical small town supermarket.
Inside was well organized, but with a limited (and eclectic) selection of items that have seen better days. Items were various states of distress: dented, stained, taped together, dusty, open, or crumpled. Don't get me wrong, it's not like there was soup oozing out of the cans or anything! Salvage stores are regulated and inspected; however, expiration dates offered by manufacturers don’t seem to be a concern. I bought some Lime Jello mix with an expiration date of November 18, 2007. Curious, I made and served the Jello after dinner last night (so far so good!) All of the other items I purchased had expiration dates sometime in the future.
That comes to about a 60% savings. I have to admit that when I did the calculation, the dings and dents didn’t look quite so bad! I would certainly recommend following a few rules when shopping salvage such as:
1. Plan your trip because stores have odd hours.
2. Don’t buy stuff you wouldn’t normally buy anyway.
3. Check the expiration dates.
4. Wear your rose-colored glasses.
But with those things in mind, savvy scavengers can find some exceptional bargains.
im glad i found this on the web i sure hpe you have this store in southern california
This is kind of like what I just read about "gleaning" http://blog.greensherpa.com/index.php/personal-finance/slashing-your-grocery-budget-using-ancient-methods/ Has anyone else tried this and been successful in keeping your grocery budget at a minimum?
Wow! Do they carry the same inventory (more or less) or is it totally dependent upon what's damaged that week? Do they accept coupons?
I'm loving the price you got on batteries! Awesome deal.
So, do these stores have any REAL food, like produce or fresh meat?
Who really eats things like packaged, powdered mac & cheese, or sugary powdered chemical-laden Jell-O? And do you know how easy it is to make real cornbread, how much cheaper it is, and how much better it tastes than something that comes out of a box?
I live in Chester County in southeastern PA, and with the exception of fresh produce and meat, do the bulk of my shopping at discount supermarkets. In our area we have Amelia's and Aldi's, as well as the listed Swann's. While the stores are not large, at least five or six aisles are in each store, and organized by category like the big stores. I bought a 32+ oz can of Maxwell House coffee for my coffee maker at $4.99! This costs $8.00 or so in the big stores. Boxes of cereal, crackers soups, salsa and all condiments, are generally at least 50 to 60% off. A can of Wofgang Puck soup for $0.99, while it usually sells for almost $5.00!! A half gallon if ice cream for $1.99 to $2.50 is fantastic. I save a great deal of money by smart shopping at these stores. And yes, their business has at least doubled if not tripled in the past 18 months.
Jonathan, Honey Brook, PA
For a list of stores in your area, visit: http://www.andersonscountrymarket.net/directory
My wife and I have shopped at salvage stores for years. We go on a regular basis (once or twice a month) We have found all kinds of items. One salvage store we frequent also sells frozen salvage at very good prices.
On the experation date issue. Experation Dates are nothing more (except on fresh milk) than a marketing ploy...if it were anything else why would a container of motor oil have a "best when used by" date on it I use to own a grocery store and several of our local customers that were generally single parents would shop late at night looking for the expired or about to expire items as they knew they were going to get those items Free or at a drastically reduced price...there is nothing wrong with those items. We liked having those customers as they would help us keep our inventory fresh and I paid for that service with drastically reduced prices and the food did not go to waste. The media has convinced us that an experation date is for our "protection" fooy.
One needs to understand that if the store or mfg. should sell defective food and it should make someone sick they would be sued...big time. Salvage stores are all over the country and most are thriving. I personally would not hesitate for one second about shopping and consuming salvage items
and No they do not accept mfg coupons.
Larry Phoenix, AZ
[...] Money Management tweeted about a site which lists discount grocery stores by state and then blogged about some of the savings she’d found. Just a few days earlier my boss told me we were running low on the commercial hand soap I’d [...]
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