You all know that I clip coupons and shop sales. I don’t consider myself to be crazy about couponing or sale shopping, although I love to save money on groceries. I freeze meat and produce, and I get creative with repurposing leftovers. Again, I don’t find those things particularly crazy. There is one thing that I do to save money on groceries, that could be considered a little nuts. Okay, maybe crazy. I shop at a grocery sidewalk sale.
“Huh?” You’re thinking. “What even is that?” Well friends, I have hesitated to share this with you because I don’t want you to judge me, but here goes. I live in Greenville, South Carolina. In Greenville, we have a Sav-Mor discount groceries market. This market is on the cheap end of grocery stores and much of their inventory comes from overstock from Ingles (a grocery store similar to Kroger).
Let me say on the side here that people try to keep this sale quiet to allow for less competition for deals, but I find that kind of selfish, not to mention that Sav-Mor needs customers or they will go out of business.
Every two weeks, my Sav-Mor has a sidewalk sale event where they lay out rows of banana boxes filled with overstock merchandise. Some of this merchandise may be close to expiration, dented, packaging that says “new” when a product is no longer considered to be new. Some of it is garbage, in my opinion, but some of it is perfectly good food.
Instead of allowing people to shop around at their leisure, Sav-Mor makes it more interesting. They line up rows of boxes about 3 feet apart in their parking lot in a gigantic square shape with a perimeter around it. People are allowed to come before the sale starts and walk around the perimeter, but cannot enter. The gigantic square of banana boxes filled with food is probably about 50 ft. by 50 ft.
People tend to mill around the perimeter, squinting to try to see what might be in boxes in the center, eyeing which boxes they’d like to explore. Then about five minutes before the sale starts, a manager comes out to explain the rules. The rules include admonition to be kind and courteous to others. Essentially, don’t fight over boxes.
Then, the start of the sale is signaled by an air horn, and the chaos begins. Once the air horn sounds, people can enter the perimeter and grab boxes to dig through. Ideally, you bring a partner who grabs boxes and pulls them off to the side. Then one person sorts while the other goes back for more. Ryan is the grabber. We have a list of things to look for, and he hunts for items. I am the sorter/packer. I do one initial grab, then I spend my time packing a banana box with only items that we want, and returning the rest to the chaotic pile. Each packed banana box of food costs $8.
Now I know you’re thinking, “that’s crazy!” It is. Let’s just be real. However, it’s also really fun. I’m not saying that sale items drastically affect my grocery bill, but they do help. We try to spend our grocery money on fresh items like meat, dairy, and produce. Because of going to Sav-Mor sales, I don’t have to buy things like brown rice or canned tomatoes at the grocery store. Every little bit helps.
We get to try new things when they’re a good price.
We also end up with extra things that we get to try like protein bars or stir-fry mixes. These are items I typically wouldn’t by often or at all, but because I’m getting them for next to nothing, we get to try them.
Soon, I plan to share a very detailed post about my exact purchase at the last sale, so be on the lookout for that!
Sometimes we go to sales because we need certain things or our little mini-stockpile is low. Sometimes, we just go to sales because it’s tremendously entertaining. The entertainment alone can be worth $8. Even couples we know that make a substantial amount of money come to the sales for fun or to stock up for their pantry.
A little crazy can go a long way.
Sometimes, even a little craziness can affect your budget. We say, if it’s not disruptive to our life goals (strong marriage, careers, focus on God and family), we’ll try it at least once. If we enjoy it, well that’s a perk! We don’t go all of the time, but we probably do one of these sales once every month or so.
Maybe you don’t have this set up where you live, but I’m sure there are deals and sales all around you! You just have to be looking. Google your area and look for deals or sales. Ask your grocery store if they have clearance aisles or discounts. It never hurts to look!
What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done to save money?