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How to Find Great Markdowns at Kroger

Find the BEST markdowns at Kroger with these 4 simple tips! This is so helpful!!

As I’ve been sharing my $70 Grocery Budget posts, the question I keep getting from people is, “Where do you find the great markdowns at Kroger?”

Well, the simple answer is: I just go through the store and look for them! 🙂

I know, that’s not super helpful! But it’s the truth.

There isn’t some super secret place to look for markdowns or some super special day or time to go to the store (some stores do mark down certain things on certain days, but it really varies from store-to-store). It just takes some practice, getting to know your store, and knowing what to look for.

With that said, here are some tips to help you find great markdowns at Kroger (note: these tips should also work at most Kroger affiliate stores, too):

1. Look for the Yellow Tags

This probably goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: train your eyes to find the yellow Woohoo stickers. If you have kids, bring them with you to the store and make a treasure hunt out of it. It can be so much fun!

The more you get used to looking for these, the easier they will be to spot! Almost every time I go to the store, I see them in unexpected places because I’ve learned to scan the shelves and aisles and refrigerator cases for them.

Today, I found a cart in the middle of an aisle with markdowns in it. Last week, there was a table with markdowns near the front of the store. You just never know where they might pop up throughout the store, so keep your eyes peeled!

With that said, there is an organized “method” I use for looking for markdowns at the store…

2. Search the Perimeter of the Store

When I go into Kroger, I rarely go down the aisles (unless I’m looking for a specific deal). Instead, I shop the perimeter of the store.

I start by going through the produce section looking at the salad tubs and bags for markdown stickers. Then, I head to the reduced produce shelves. They should look like this:

These are usually located near or behind the aisle where the bananas are. These shelves typically have red bags on them and each bag has an assortment of produce. Each individual bag is $0.99.

You never know what you’ll find here. As shown above, this day there were pretty slim pickings. Sometimes it’s fruit, sometimes it’s vegetables. Or it might be potatoes and onions. Or, sometimes it’s a little bit of a hodgepodge.

Right now, there have been a lot of peppers and apples and oranges at my Kroger stores. But sometimes, I’ll find grapefruit or avocados or bananas or cucumbers or mangoes… it’s always a surprise what you’ll find here! Sometimes, there is even organic fruit there!

Every once in awhile, you really hit the jackpot… such as this cart FULL of marked down produce I found last week!

Once I’ve checked the produce section thoroughly, then I move onto looking for the Reduced Bread shelves. These are usually somewhere near the bakery — though it varies at every store. You might have to hunt a little bit.

This is what you’re looking for:

This cart will have bakery goods, cakes, cookies, muffins, pita bread, pies, Naan, homemade bread, rolls, hamburger buns, and more. Again, you never know what you’ll find.

Sometimes, it’s really well-stocked. Other times, there’s hardly anything on the shelves. So again, it’s always a fun surprise to see what you find.

Everything on these shelves is usually marked at 50% off and it’s usually within a few days of the sell by date. I typically will buy the items and then stick them in the freezer. My favorite finds here are whole wheat naan, whole wheat bread from the bakery, and King’s Hawaiian Rolls (my kids go nuts for those!).

If you need to bring treats or cookies to a party or get-together, always check this shelf because you might find exactly what you need at a much cheaper price!

After I hit the bread shelves, then I head to the meat section. While it’s pretty typical that you’ll find a section where they have put most of the marked down meat, I usually look throughout the entire meat section as I’ll often find yellow tags scattered throughout the meat section. Also, be sure to check the lunchmeat and sausage section as there are usually deals there, too.

Tip: How to Save $$ On Meat

I try to buy ahead when it comes to meat. This means, I’ll buy whatever meat is on a great deal that I can fit into my budget that I know we’ll use. And then I plan our menu based upon what meat we already have on hand. This way, I never pay anywhere close to full price for meat and we always have a great variety of different meats to choose from for dinner recipes.

After looking at the meat section, then I head to the dairy section. This is always a very hit or miss thing. Sometimes, I’ll find lots of markdowns on yogurt, milk, cottage cheese, eggs, creamer, etc. Sometimes, there is almost nothing. I just scan all of the refrigerated cases quickly looking for those yellow stickers and see if I find any!

Bonus tip: If your store has an organic refrigerated section, be sure to check it. I’ve found some steals there — including deals on farm-fresh eggs, almond milk, organic creamer, and organic yogurt. And don’t forget to check the floral department for marked down flowers. I found some for just $0.49 yesterday!!!

3. Ask Your Produce/Meat Managers

Many people have asked me if there is a certain time of day or a certain day of the week that you should shop. I find that it just really varies and, at least at our stores, there’s no one set day that is better than another day.

However, you could ask your meat manager or produce manager at your local store if there are certain days or times when they tend to mark things down. You can also ask them what their policies are on marking things down — such as how close to the sell by date do they mark milk down, etc.

In some cases, if you know this information and have a relationship with the produce manager, you can go into the store and just look for milk that has a sell by date that is 3-4 days out (or whatever length of time they told you) and then go ask them if they will mark it down for you. I’ve never done this, but I have friends who have.

4. Visit Your Store Frequently

While I know that this isn’t something everyone is able to do, if possible, I recommend stopping by your store at least 2-3 times every week. I’ve found that there are usually new items marked down every other day or so. If I only go once a week, I’ll miss a lot of great deals.

It only takes me about 10-15 minutes tops to get in the store, check for all the markdowns, and buy my groceries. And we’re blessed to live where there are three Kroger stores that are really close to areas of town we are in multiple times per week. Because of this, it’s incredibly simple for me to go to Kroger at least 4-5 times per week.

That might not work for you… but could you find a way to run into Kroger at least two times per week to look for markdowns? If you could shave off $15 from your usual produce and meat expenses by spending an extra 15 minutes per week, would that be worth it? If so, consider how you could make it work without it causing a lot of stress or taking extra time and effort!

What are your best tips for finding great markdowns at Kroger? I’d love to hear!

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44 Comments

  • Julie says:

    Okay, so I live in the Pacific NW and we have Fred Meyer. After work today, I went to FM to check out what deals I could find. I went to the produce section and found that they had marked down Wholly Guacamole to $1.39/tub (normally 2/$7), I found salad for dinner tonight for $1.49, there wasn’t anything in the bread department, nothing in dairy, but I found Smoked Bratwurst for $2.09/pkg of 6 (normally 2/$7). Then I purchased my spaghetti for .49/each and a hair color for $3.50 off plus $2 coupon on your next visit. It was fun and I feel like I’ll just get better as I do it more. Thanks for the inspiration. I do have to say that I did self check out and left my receipt and $2 off next visit coupon at the register. Doh!!

  • Chris says:

    I am loving these posts you are doing about your Kroger mark downs and the meals you are making with them. They remind me so much of some of your earlier days of MSM. I know you are helping a lot of people think outside the box with their grocery bills with this series of posts. Yes, we don’t have the coupon deals we used to when MSM started, but there are still ways to save.

  • Kim says:

    I just want to say how thankful I am for you! We are paying for some expensive therapy for one of our kids now and money has gotten really tight. I had gotten in a more relaxed state lately with grocery shopping but I really need to pinch pennies now! Thank you for the good ideas, reminding me to live simple, recipes, coupons and more. It truly is a blessing to my family. Thank you! I think you are so cool!

  • LeaDawn says:

    Our store does mark downs in the morning, so if I go close to 8 am I can get the best deals. They do bundle deals on meat mark downs that are a steal!

    Thanks for sharing this challenge!

  • Debbie says:

    I agree with all your tips! Just get to know your store and where they put all the markdown products and look for the yellow stickers! Sometimes you can also find good deals with the white and red “closeout” tags on the shelf. I found a bunch of great water bottles recently in their home goods section with those tags, ranging from 50-75% off. I also like to go after a major holiday (Valentine’s, Easter, etc) to get their discounted candy or related products. I was able to buy some cute stuffed animals at 75% off for my OCC shoeboxes later on this year.

  • Jennifer B. says:

    Thanks for the tips!

    Two thoughts I had:
    (1) One of my Kroger locations has discounted (shelf-stable) bakery items (like those mentioned in the post) at the very back of the store near the meat; another has them back in the corner near the eggs and dairy. There are often mark downs in the refrigerated section of the bakery area too. I’ve found discounted slices of cake and whole cheesecakes marked WAY down. Just keep your eyes open for those stickers!

    (2) As with everything, pay attention to prices at check out. If the WooHoo sticker is not properly covering the UPC bar code, the item may ring up regular price. This happened to me and I didn’t notice until I was home. My Kroger made it right, but it required another trip (and showing them the package and receipt).

  • Jen says:

    Thank you! This was very helpful!!

  • Mary Ensley says:

    I’m so glad you’ve been able to find so many great markdowns! That’s a fun hobby that simultaneously saves money. We don’t have a Kroger or an affiliate store in our area. Every once in a while I will go to Albertson’s and check for meat markdowns. I manage to luck out about once a quarter. I’m have about the opposite type of grocery routine. I spend as much as I can at Costco once a month, load up both freezers and fridges and fill in the rest of our needs with Walmart Grocery pick up or maybe the (military) Commissary for staples some months. With three young kids and homeschooling we are not in the season of life for frequent grocery trips. It takes me 10 minutes just to get everyone pottied (don’t think that’s a proper past tense verb!), shoed and into the car. Another 8-10 to the store, unload and walk around the store with a toddler who screams in the shopping cart and then I hope no one wants to go to the bathroom while we’re all the way at the back.

    It easily takes me an hour to go to the store just for $25 worth of milk and eggs staples. Our stores don’t typically have markdowns with the exception of a few bakery sweets or breads. Basically I just avoid the store when at all possible! Plus even though I’m putting down a pretty large sum of money down in one shopping trip I find it keeps impulse purchases down. We are always out of something and it’s so easy to pop into the store for milk and bread and suddenly you have a $75 bill of items you realized you were actually out of (or maybe that’s just me)

    • Jessica says:

      This sounds like what I’ve gone through over the years! I don’t homeschool, but I do look forward to this autumn when all three of mine are finally in school! I had one who could walk at 9 months. She would unbuckle from the car, shimmy down the side and take off within 10 seconds. My son would get lost, he’d stop to look at something and I wouldn’t notice, then he’d be lost. My oldest would antagonize the other two, pinching or tripping them! And yes, the potty thing. They only need to go when they’re in the back of the store!

      • One of my favorite things to do when my kids were younger was to go to the store in the evenings when my husband could watch them. It was my hobby that also saved us money! 🙂

    • I definitely think that shopping frequently doesn’t work for everyone. Thanks for sharing your perspective and what works for you!

      And if you are going to be going to the store regularly, it’s so important that you have grocery budget that you are very strict about sticking to! Because it’s certainly not saving money of you’re just spending time and money on things you don’t need and/or wouldn’t buy otherwise!

  • Keri Travis says:

    As mentioned in another comment, I also look for the close out tags throughout the store. Today I bought organic apple sauce, fruit cups, plastic wide mouth plastic lids, and more all at 50% or more off the regular price. I love Kroger! I also want to thank you Crystal for these videos and posts, they are a huge inspiration to me!

  • Chris says:

    I don’t know if this is considered deli or not, but sometimes I find markdowns in the area near the bakery and produce that has hummus, fancy cheese, and prepared foods on far wall.

  • Chris says:

    My store has markdowns in the health food section, produce, deli wall, meats, breads, yogurts and sometimes a little other dairy. They also have a clearance section and sometimes clearance carts full of stuff. Thanks for this great article. I learned these things from my mom but a lot of people don’t know that grocery shopping is the ONE BIG KEY is saving money. It’s probably the biggest monthly budget variable that is a necessity. I usually plan my meals around the sales too.

    • YES! I always tell people to start with their grocery budget if they are looking to save money. Because everyone has to eat and buy food — and there are so many ways to save on food!

  • Chris says:

    My store has markdowns in the health food section, produce, deli wall, meats, breads, yogurts and sometimes a little other dairy. They also have a clearance section and sometimes clearance carts full of stuff. Thanks for this great article. I learned these things from my mom but a lot of people don’t know that grocery shopping is the ONE BIG KEY is saving money. It’s probably the biggest monthly budget variable that is a necessity. I usually plan my meals around the sales too.

  • Pam says:

    My Kroger had gallons of skim milk marked down to $1 this morning. Not sure why as they didn’t expire until May 12th, but I was excited to get all our milk for half-price this week!

  • Mireille says:

    Thanks for the tips! I am slowly stocking up my pantry and freezer with what the good deals I am finding!

  • Aubrey says:

    Oh my…you can get milk for $2 a gallon regular price?!?
    I live in PA where milk is price controlled by the state gov’t. I’m currently paying almost $4 a gallon for 1%.
    I, too, enjoy these posts by Crystal, but it takes a lot for me to not feel a little jealous that I can’t get anything close to the bargains she does – and believe me, I’m as savvy a bargain shopper as there is! A lot depends on what kinds of grocery stores you have available, and with no Kroger stores or Aldi nearby, it’s hard to get the kinds of bargains she posts.

    • Just remember: I’m sure there are amazing benefits to living where you live that I don’t have here! 🙂 Housing is SO much more expensive here than it was in KS and I can’t get at all the deals on organic products that I could at the health food stores there. Everywhere we’ve lived, there have been pros and cons. I try to focus on the pros and be okay with the cons! 😉

  • Emily F. says:

    In Cincinnati, the home of Kroger HQ, many of our stores are transitioning to incorporate Clicklist. I’ve noticed that this change, with the required construction and store reconfiguration, has affected how and where I can find markdowns. Anything not refrigerated is now all together in a totally separate area. I’ve also noticed that the smaller stores tend to have way more Manager’s specials than the larger stores.

  • Sara says:

    In addition to all of your tips, my Kroger store has a shelved section that has all sorts of random markdowns of non perishable items.
    At my store, it is tucked at the end of the cleaning supply aisle.
    We have found all sorts of goodies in that section, dark chocolate, Lara bars, kale chips, plantain chips, cocoa powder, etc.

  • karen b says:

    Love this post all but one thing. We live in the country & the closest Kroger is over 10 miles from our house so not feasible to try to go to the grocery multiple times per week. Now if I am out & close to one & always pop in & see what the deals are.

    • Yes! It’s definitely not feasible (or smart!) for everyone to run to the store as often as I do! But if you’re going to be close to one and have a few minutes, it can pay off big time to run in and grab some deals!

  • Kimberly Walker says:

    While we do not have a Kroger here per se, we do have Smith’s, Safeway, and Bashas’s as our local grocers. I have signed up for the online “shopping” with Safeway (our store of choice) and have found that the “Just for U” is just flipping amazing!!! Yesterday, using my club card and my digital coupons, I bought $73 worth of meat and only paid $22!!! It takes time to review all the coupons online, but it is so worth it. I am also finding that if I plan out my week of meals around what is on sale and/or what I have in my pantry/freezer, that that helps a lot too! I keep a master list on the computer and just mark it off when I have used it (and then put it on a grocery list to buy when it goes on sale). That may be too OCD for some people, but it is working for us. We are not YET down to $70 per week, but we have gone from $150 a week and wasting food down to a little over $100 and wasting less. It is a process of learning and refining what is working for you.

  • Tracy says:

    I’ve noticed that my Kroger affiliate store has been marking down frozen items and putting them in the freezer at the endcap at the back of the store. They keep putting new mark down items in this same freezer. Many of these items at our store are also gluten free because they are removing them from their regular stock.

  • Kelly says:

    We don’t have a Kroger near us, so I usually skip over your Kroger posts. However, we are vacationing in a cabin in Tennessee later this summer and there is a Kroger right down the road from where we are staying. So I guess I will have to start reading the Kroger posts and picking up some tips! Do you have to have a loyalty shopping card to get some of the price markdowns?

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