Life is expensive and of course around these parts, I like to say that it doesn’t have to be. A while back, my family and I had some hard times and our grocery budget was slashed almost in half. So I decided to see what I could do with groceries from the 99 Cents Only Store. I can get pretty much everything I need at the 99 Cents Store including fresh produce. The only area that is limited is meat, but with the savings I get at the 99, I buy meat at another store. So, if you are interested in trying to shop at the 99 in order to save some buckaroonies, here are a few tips.
Tip #1: Be Flexible
Keep in mind that there are a few things you can find all the time but many of the food items at my local 99 sort of come and go. So if they have something you really like (as with most things at the 99) I would suggest buying more than one of that thing. But don’t buy them all. That’s a bit of a dick move. The point is, you should be flexible in what you’re buying. Also, you may have to go to more than one store to get the job done since different stores tend to have different items. Last week I got a great deal on cereal:
Tip #2: Schedule
Try to find out what day they get deliveries. That will be the best day to shop. That’s the day they get new products in, and usually when you can find the best food items. Last week I was able to buy full size boxes of Cap’n Crunch Oops All Berries. They usually have some sort of break n bake cookies on these days. I’ve also seen POM juice as well as Bolthouse salad dressings. It’s such a mixed bag but knowing your stores delivery days is key because then you have your pick of the best and newest food items. Check out these key lime pie flavored Jell-O cups:
Tip #3: Don’t Expect Perfection
This goes along with flexibility. I try to buy everything on my list that I possibly can at the 99 Cents Store. This means sometimes I try brands I’ve never heard of or have to improvise. Know that sometimes it won’t work out. The cheese you bought doesn’t melt, or maybe you thought those cookies would be a little better. Perhaps that instant coffee might as well have been decaf. That’s okay because at the end of the day it wasn’t a total loss. You may have lost a few dollars overall but on the flip side, that coffee may end up being great and that cheese wasn’t imitation. You never know until you try. Actually my favorite instant coffee from the 99 is this one:
Tip #4: Buy Staples
I can usually find salt, pepper, spices, condiments like ketchup and mustard, mayonnaise, canned veggies, sugar, flour, baking needs like baking soda and baking powder, coffee, breadcrumbs, vinegars, #younameit. I think it’s a great place to go for these items even if you are not doing the majority of your grocery shopping there. And for me, brownies and treats are always a staple.
Tip #5: Have Fun with It
You never know what goodies you will find and knowing that you can get a few extra things without blowing your entire budget is a great feeling. As long as you are flexible you can work in some extra treats. And always remember that if you see something you really like, just buy it then and there because you probably won’t get it later. Case in point, last week I saw some Bolthouse Raspberry Merlot Vinaigrette salad dressing and I thought “Nah, I won’t get it, I’m not making salads this week.” Then of course, I decided I wanted it and they were all gone when I went back a few days later. Don’t be like me.
(Featured image via lifehacker.com)