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by the author of The Ultimate Guide to Frugal Living and Lifestyles of the Flat Broke and Resilient
These days, if I can score cheap groceries, I’m practically jumping for joy in the middle of the Piggly Wiggly. (People stare when you do that. #AskMeHowIKnow)
Where are these elusive “cheap groceries,” you ask? They’re in the humble “last day of sale” aisle. These marked-down foods can be the Frugalite’s best friend.
But…they come with a caveat. You have to manage them immediately, or you risk wasting all the money you just spent on them.
Last week, I went to the store on a Thursday afternoon. I got four prime rib burgers from the meat counter for $1.50. I got a bag of organic lemons as well as a head of sad-looking-but-still-edible cauliflower for a buck each. I got 3 pounds of mushrooms for $2. I also got some pre-chopped sweet potato and diced onion for less than a dollar. Everything got immediately used or put back so that it wouldn’t go bad.
Here are some ways to make the most out of last day of sale groceries.
Make dinner from them.
First things first, make yourself a yummy dinner with the deals you just got. I usually use the nicest cut of meat and make something delicious with it. Everyone thinks it’s a treat, and they have no idea you just basically stole it. I used my prime rib burgers and mushrooms to make tasty burgers with sauteed mushrooms and gravy. I added some mashed potatoes and roasted veggies, and I was a dinner-time she-ro.
You can also make a meal you aren’t going to eat right away just to get things cooked up ASAP. Make a soup or stew with your last day of sale goodies and then store it in the freezer to pull out on a busy day.
Roast those veggies.
There isn’t much I love more than roasted vegetables. Cut away anything that looks less than appetizing. I like to toss them in olive oil, season them with my homemade seasoning salt, and drizzle them with a teeny tiny bit of honey.
I use roasted veggies in lots of different ways. First, there are just plain old roasted veggies – they’re a wonderful side. But I use them after that too. You can reheat them in the oven for the best texture, or you can use them cold in salads.
From my recent grocery expedition, I roasted those sweet potatoes along with some garlic, onion, and cauliflower. I had them the night I went shopping, and then I used the leftovers for a tasty “bowl.” I love, love, love veggie and chicken bowls. This one had brown rice, roasted veggies, and diced chicken, and I drizzled the entire thing with Thai peanut dressing. Absolutely divine.
You can also puree your roasted veggies for a decadent and flavorful soup.
Did you end up with a crap-ton of bananas or zucchini? Whip out the baking supplies and make yourself some tasty bread. You can eat them right away or let them cool, then stick them straight into the freezer for later. I’ve also made a memorable impromptu pie from a bag of iffy pears and a carton of berries.
A lot of things are fine to go straight into the freezer. I stash away any last-day-of-sale meat that I’m not cooking that day straight into the freezer. Make sure the packaging is still okay – you might need to rewrap it with plastic wrap or a big ziplock. It would be a shame to bring it home and save it, only to end up throwing it out later due to freezer burn.
Some produce can also go into the freezer. I used the little snack zipper top bags to divvy up my diced onion. Most herbs can go straight into the freezer, and fruit for smoothies or baking can too.
My dehydrator has been humming along non-stop since my trip to the store, dealing with all those mushrooms and the lemons. I’ll add the lemons to herbal tea blends. I powdered the lemon peel and the mushrooms for tasty seasonings. (They don’t take up much space this way, but you still get the nutritional oomph from it.)
Other things that dehydrate well are fruits, greens, root vegetable slices, and peppers. Did you know that you can also dehydrate bread? Yep, you sure can. Add your own seasonings to it and stash it away for your own stuffing mix, or zap it in the food processor to make your own panko-style bread crumbs.
If you enjoy canning, consider using this method for putting back some of your goodies. I’ve made pressure canned soup, and I’ve water-bath canned homemade jams and apple sauce from the last day of sale aisle.
What about you?
What is your best last day of sale find ever? How do you use or preserve last-day-of-sale purchases? Is this something you do to stretch your food dollars? Let’s talk about it in the comments.
Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites. 1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2) The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.
Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at SelfRelianceand Survival.com You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.
8 thoughts on “What to Do with Last Day of Sale Groceries”
My wife and I picked up a freeze dryer so now we are loading up on sale days to maximize the impact of inflation on our wallets (we got blackberries going which we found for $1.50 at Aldi).
I highly recommend people looking at their meat aisle and notice which day they mark down the meat they need to sell. I can usually get thick t-bone or NY strip steaks for $5 a lbs – we get them home and freeze them immediately.
Since I’m the chef in the fam, I find it way cheaper to treat my family to a steak dinner at home, with some wine and a homemade Caesar salad at a fraction of the price of going out and getting lousy service. I make my own wine so it costs $2 a bottle and the steaks are usually $10-$12 for my wife and I. Can’t beat that!
There is no doubt your location drives meat deals. Angus steaks can be found in the mark down section for $5 or $6. One doesn’t need a 16 oz steak, a smaller steak and good (read inexpensive sides) make a fine meal.
Groceries in general are reasonably priced in my area but at times, the stores end up with a glut of two or three flavors of soup. Which don’t always move fast so tend to be on sale on a regular basis. At times, butcher shops (we have three in our area) have had steaks at greatly discounted prices due to having a small visual “muscle”. Doesn’t affect the quality of the steak but is a turn off for some consumers.
Don’t forget farmers markets at end of season, especially those in potato growing areas.
I found 7 decent sized lemons at Walmart, so I zested them and hubby juiced them. I dried the zest for baking, and the juice I’m using when I peel and dry some huge apples I got for 89 cents a pound. Up here on the Island they’re usually more than $2/pound. Prices here have gone up a bit but what’s really gone up is meat and butter. Just scored some chicken breasts and pork loins at my Co-op. Chicken has already been pressure canned and I’m doing the last of the pork as I type. Best of all I got a raincheck for 4 more loins. I went a couple of times to the farmers market in my area and I found the prices far too high. During peach season someone was trying to sell 15 lbs of peaches for $70. A few weeks later they were half price which I still thought was a bit pricey.
Another thing I do is a have a good rapport with the meat and produce guys at a couple of local stores.
They have no last day of sales where I live around here. They do donate to a food bank/soup pantry. I have used these tips for really good sales. I have two squash and a sugar pumpkin stored in my closet. It’s the coolest place.
Your article has inspired me. Thanks.
I literally received a wheelbarrow of squash. I baked it in turns, and then I scooped up the flesh and froze it in 3-4 serving bags. Wonderful! I had tons of baking dishes to wash by hand, but that’s okay. The seeds I gave to a friend to plant and roast for herself.
What kind of dehydrator do you have? 🤔
I have this one: https://amzn.to/3Uabh0z
Be warned, it’s not very big. I live in an apartment and have a small kitchen. 🙂