Jan 7, 2010

TOT Thursday - Discount grocers!

I was guilty for SO many years of just grocery shopping at the store closest to my house. I can't even imagine how much money I wasted for the sake of convenience. Making a commitment to pay the lowest price possible for the things I need forced me to look beyond the first parking lot to cross my path...and discover a few not-so-secret goldmines for grocery savings! Here's how you can put a big dent in your grocery budget this week:

Hunt down the discount grocers in your area!

Sounds simple, and I'm sure many of you are already shopping happily at these establishments. But some of you may not know that Wal-Mart isn't the be-all of discount grocery stores! Not everyone lives in an area with multiple options for grocery shopping, but if you do a little investigating, you may be surprised at what you find!

Discount grocers come in many forms - some (like Price Rite, Shop Rite, Aldi) are straight-up grocery stores with mostly store-brand items. Others are "ding & dent" or salvage stores - the ones that get the bruised boxes and cans deemed not good enough for the fancy big chains :) 99-Cent stores will usually carry SOME selection of pantry items, in some areas they even sell produce! And many restaurant supply stores will sell to the public at wholesale prices. Local farmstands are another great way to get in-season produce at lower prices, since they don't factor in shipping to the cost of the fruits and veggies.

It's worthwhile to get to know these "secondary" shopping resources - most sell private-label (translated: store brand without the recognizable brand name) goods or damaged package/overstocked brand names. I can easily find about 90% of what I need at the Price Rite, and only go to the big stores for specialty items and crazy sales that stack with coupons. The cost difference is SIGNIFICANT, and if you've never shopped a discount grocer, it could potentially cut your spending in half with NO COUPON CLIPPING!

Here are a few examples of discount grocers that may be in your area, but Google and the Yellow Pages are great resources for finding your own hidden gems! Comment with your favorite discount store in your area and I'll add them to the list!

Aldi - store locator (many locations nationwide!)
Price Rite - store locator - CT, MA, NY, PA, RI
Shop Rite - store locator - CT, DE, NJ, NY, MD, PA

This site has a Discount Grocery store directory listed by state! Mostly salvage-type stores.
Here's Wikipedia's list of US supermarket chains, many of which are discount grocers!

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