My Story: Who You Know at the Grocery Store

contributed by Stephanie Andrews

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It's not always what you know that gives you the advantage in many situations. It's who you know. It's true when climbing the corporate ladder, getting your student into a private school, or being selected for the part of the dancing carrot in a high-paying commercial. It's also true when trying to save money at the grocery store.

You don't always have to pay the price marked on the package when shopping at the supermarket. Depending on who you ask, you could save 30 to 50% or more!

For the biggest savings, get to know the butcher. He (or she) can tell you when the meat is marked down for savings of up to 50%. Meat is generally marked down the day before, or the day of, the expiration date. The store is not allowed to sell expired meat so they either chop the price by 50% or throw it out.

Next, get to know the baker. The bakery is also a site for perishable items that need to be sold or tossed. Find out when they move their items to the day old rack and get there first for some hot savings.

Another person to chat with regularly is the produce manager. You can often get great deals on perfectly good produce when it starts to look less than peachy-perfect. Produce that has matured and may be ready for canning or freezing doesn't always shine, but it's ripe for savings.

Lastly, meet the manager. Tell him that you really liked the Super Bowl theme the store had last week. Then ask when they plan to discount the boxes of Cheerios featuring the 49ers or the frozen cookies with the football-shaped centers. The manager wants to move these outdated products and improve his bottom line.

Who you know can really help the savings add up. Add that to what you know, and you have a recipe for hundreds of dollars of grocery store savings a year.

Stephanie Andrews has been shopping for more than 25 years and has been a grocery store mystery shopper for two years.

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