We shop in a variety of ways. One of my favorite ways to "bargain hunt" is to shop at discount grocery or surplus stores. We've kind of made it our "thing". Every time I go on vacation I first look up all the discount grocery stores that will be in the area we are going to so we can visit them!
The fun thing with discount grocery stores is that you never know what you are going to find! You might come out with nothing or maybe with an entire cart full! Once on a trip not too far from home I scored a case full of Applegate Farms Organic Beef Hot Dogs for only $1.99 a package. We put them in the freezer and are still eating them up!
Before I head to a store I check this list of surplus and discount grocery stores first. (Weird fact, I'm pretty sure I've been to a discount grocery store in every single state I've ever been in!) Locally we have 1 store that's fairly near to us and I like to stop in about every 2 months or so. There is new products every time! I made a trip there the other day and I snapped some pictures to show you along with some tips for shopping and making the most of a surplus grocery store.
1. Know your prices before you shop. Unless you actually know what's a regular price and a sale price for something before you shop at a discount store you might end up paying way more than you should or you might pass up a bargain without even knowing it. In the picture above I found unbleached flour for $1.25 for a 5lb bag or $0.25 per pound. I normally pay $0.50 per pound for unbleached flour so this is a great deal!
2. Again. Know your prices! I can normally get toothpaste for under $0.50. This tube was marked $2.12. Not a good deal!
3. Don't be afraid of a dented box or can. Some people are extremely picky when it comes to a dented can or box. First check to make sure no seals are broken. Make sure there is nothing leaking from the can or any funny colors around the dent or seal. Cans with minor dents aren't a big deal but you do want to stay away from cans with major dents. If somehow a seal has been broken, bacteria could get into the can and make you very sick. Also make sure the can is not bulging in any funny way.
4. Don't think you can only get processed products. Most surplus stores that I've found have a nice selection of organic canned products, crackers, snacks, and more. Plus, most surplus stores have quite a few products that are not even food. Many have everything from over the counter meds to paper towels!
5. Try not to get overwhelmed. Surplus stores aren't always large but the ones I've been in have always been packed with items. Make sure before you go that you will have plenty of time to look around. go down one aisle at a time. Don't stress too much about being able to see everything, even if you come back in the next day the selection will have changed!
6. Don't feel like just because you stopped to shop that you have to buy. In my latest trip we only found these boxes of 15 Power Bars for $3.50. I was tempted to pick up one or 2 more things on my way to the checkout because they were a great deal but I wasn't sure if we'd actually use them so I skipped them.
7. Know when to stock up big time. this refers back to tip #1. As long as you know your prices and you will know what's a "Buy Price" for you, you will know when you can stock up on an item. Just like in my story above. I knew that Applegate Farms Hot Dogs cost at least $5.50 per package so not only was $1.99 a buy price, it was a stock up price!
So that's pretty much it! Take your time, know your prices, and you will be ready to shop! With surplus stores you never know what kind of treasures you might find!
Disclaimer: This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.