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Milk, most dairy products, breads, fruit, cereals, snack foods and meat all have expiration dates. If you know who to ask and what to ask, you can get discounts of 50-90% depending on the item and expiration date.

Kathy Gillikin, who works here at SAVVY-, investigated and came up with these tips:

  • Generally the store will only discount its own store brands.
  • To get a good price, you'll need to talk to the manager of each dept. Usually the managers have the authority to discount items about to expire. Ask them what the policy is. The first time you talk with them it may take a couple of minutes. After that, it usually only takes a few seconds. Once they know you, you may get deals not available to the general public.
  • As a rule the manager will write the new price on your item with an indelible marker. Be sure to alert the cashier; otherwise he or she may not see the new price.
  • Although items are often discounted just before they expire, it also depends on how many the store has in stock. For example, if 40 gallon-bottles of milk are about to expire in 4 days, you may be able to get them at half price. However, if there are only three or four bottles left, the manager might wait until the expiration date before marking them down.
  • Most milk products will last many days past the expiration date.
  • Meat, in our area, is only discounted on the day of expiration. After that the store discards it.
  • While fruits and vegetables do not have a specific expiration date, you should usually get a big discount when they show visible signs of aging. Since overripe produce is often discarded, you might be able to buy it for 10 cents on the dollar or even get it for free.
  • When it's near closing time, you can often get a discount on deli items, doughnuts and rolls.
  • Name brand cereals are often marked down near their expiration date. Generally you can use any coupons you have as well.
  • Watch for overstock sales. Kathy found that fresh store- brand breads, rolls, and buns went on sale when the manager had ordered too many. tm
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