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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