Making the most of manager specials the grocery store wants to get rid of

Buying Grocery Store Manager Specials

by Morgan K Wyatt

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If you think all the bright orange tags on my food, health and beauty, and cleaning products indicate 100% organic, then you'd be wrong. The large bold stamps state manager specials and at least 50% off the regular price. My daughter once joked that everything we bought is manager specials. She's pretty close to being right. Manager specials are only good deals if you know how to work them. Today, I'll show you how.

When you enter the store, head for the specials first. You're not the only one looking for a deal. My grocery ads start on Thursday, which means Thursdays are not good days to look for specials. Once the grocery blitz is over, the day before the ad yields better deals as the store readies itself for the next shopping onslaught.

With dairy items, especially milk, you can buy items with today's date and they should have a shelf life of seven days. I often buy yogurt that's dated that day and freeze it. Cake mixes and cereal can be frozen to keep them fresh, especially since they are already past date. Remember to place them in plastic bags first.

Meat that doesn't sell can be dressed up as stir-fry, kebobs, and even meatloaf with a brand new date extending the shelf life of the meat and raising the price. Check your meat carefully to make sure the color is right.

Frozen foods are usually always a good bargain because there isn't much that can go wrong with them unless the package has been ripped. Avoid any ripped packages. Most dinners and pizzas are on clearance due to the decision not to carry that item.

Cosmetics and toiletries end up as clearance because the package is damaged or the item is discontinued. Check the box carefully. If it is a product that contains more than one item in a box, such as hair coloring, often one of the items is gone, which makes it unusable. Unopened cosmetics are good for a year.

Pet products are usually clearance because the box or bag is damaged. Instead of getting a 17-pound bag of dog food, you'll get more of a 16.5 pound bag at half the price.

Canned goods usually appear as manager specials when they are dented. Check the expiration date before buying.

Dead ripe produce must be used that day. Ripe bananas can become banana bread, smoothies, or banana pudding. Vegetables must be cooked because they won't stand up well in a salad. Salad mixes need to be used that day. Romaine or iceberg is your best bet.

Organic juices and bagged vegetables in the produce aisle do not contain any preservatives. You must use them in three days. You can freeze the veggies if you want to extend their shelf life. They are limp when they thaw, but work well in soups, stews, and casseroles.

Cleaning products are a no brainer. The only thing you want to check is to see if the applicator or spray nozzle works. If you can't get the cleaner out of the container, it is worthless. This is one of the few times you might buy an open container. Laundry booster packs can be bought for a fraction of their original cost if the package is opened and only missing a few.

Remember, it isn't bargain if you don't need it, won't eat it, or can't afford it.

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Morgan comes from a long line of cheapskates who brag about how much they didn't pay as opposed to what they paid for an item. She reigns supreme as cost cutter queen among her frugal family members. She can sniff out a bargain from 20 miles and is glad to share her information. Recently, she started a website to share these tips at

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