I got turned on to discounted grocery stores a few years ago by some friends that took me to one run by a local family near their home…and I’ve been hooked ever since!!
These stores have food that is close to expiration, that have damaged packaging, or that are simply seasonal items…like Christmas candy after Christmas!
It’s like extreme bargain hunting, and you never really know what you’ll find. I suppose it’s a little like thrifting in that sense.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
I most often use discounted grocery stores to purchase things like granola bars, cereal, oatmeal and coffee. Because you never know what they’ll have in stock, it’s difficult to go in with a “shopping list”…so typically I go in knowing what I want to look for in a general sense. It’s also good to know what you’re low on because if you see a deal, you’ll want to pick it up right away. I’ve learned the hard way that it’s very unlikely that items will be there the next time you stop in.
The two stores that I primarily frequent are Dings ‘N Dents in Plain City and Stites in Bellefontaine.
DINGS ‘N DENTS
Dings ‘N Dents is the smaller of the two, but it has some really great features. First, they have a facebook page where they’ll update their followers on their stock – like what’s in or when things are being delivered. Second, the store is extremely clean and well organized. It’s just like shopping at a traditional grocery store in terms of its set up…which makes it very simple to shop in. You can get in and out very quickly!
Stites is a much larger store and, as a result, has a much larger variety of merchandise. Not only do they carry food, but they also have household items like decor, toys, bedding and dishes. It’s quite the treasure trove! The food items are typically separate in certain areas like cereal all in one area and soup all in one area and bedding all in one area. The shelves do require some searching around as they can get a little jumbled with products, given the volume of folks coming through. You just have to take your time and look carefully! I’ve found it can be easy to overlook things so sometimes, depending on how many others are shopping, I’ll go through an aisle twice just to double check!
I’ve gotten some really great steals there…like a Brita pitcher and filter for under $10, a queen sized comforter set with 4 pillow shams, bed skirt and two decorative pillows for under $30. I’ve also found that the assortment of items gives you some great options for birthday and Christmas gifts.
For my typical month to month shopping, I have some pics for you!
$3.99 for 40 individual cups of oatmeal
Full boxes of granola bars from $2.50-$3.00 and bags filled with an assortment for $3.99
$.99 for gum
Crest toothpaste for $1.49
These stores are great places to stock up on coffee as well! You don’t always see the name brands, but there have been trips where I’ve found some Starbucks blends for unimaginable prices. Stites usually has an assortment of kcups as well!
These types of stores really help me to keep a tight food budget while still getting to choose from a variety of items! And the thrill of the hunt ain’t bad either!