Couponing Basics Grocery

How to Save Money on Groceries with Manager’s Specials

“Manager’s Specials”, “reduced for quick sale”, “markdowns”, whatever your store calls them; they are great for saving money on groceries. Stores will mark down items like meat, produce, dairy, and bread when they don’t think they will be able to sell their inventory before they expire. There is the potential to save a lot of money if you know how to take advantage of these discounts.

Keep reading for tips on how to save the most on your grocery bill by looking for manager’s specials!

While it’s not advisable to buy things you don’t need just because they’re on sale, having an open mind to what’s on manager’s special can save you money and be a lot of fun. Sometimes I’ll pick up dirt-cheap items that weren’t on my list and challenge myself to use them in a meal that week. I think of it as a frugal Chopped challenge!

Finding Manager’s Special Deals

If you can’t find the markdown section of your store, ask an employee. Your store might not have one and the items may be mixed in with all the regular priced items.

Don’t see a markdown? Ask for it! If you see an item with a looming expiration date, point it out and they will likely mark it down for you. They also tend to be more generous with the discounts when you’re standing right there!

Knowing when to shop for these discounts is key. Find out which day your store marks down these items in order to get the best selection. Stores generally mark down on Tuesdays or Wednesdays after the weekend rush is over.


Meat is one of the most expensive categories in grocery budgets. Buying your meat on manager’s special will reduce your bill considerably.

If you find a really great deal, stock up! Portion it out, freeze it, and possibly avoid paying for meat again for several weeks!

Just make sure you are checking the expiration dates. If you buy meat that is expiring that day, be sure to cook it right away or freeze it as soon as you get home. And always inspect the meat before you buy it. Expiration dates are just estimations. If the meat looks or smells bad – don’t buy it!


Produce is another budget killer. Buying produce on sale is really the way to go if you can find it. Bananas, bags of apples and oranges, and bagged salad are a few of the items you should check for markdown stickers. Just remember not to buy more than you can eat before they go bad!


Dairy items to look for on markdown are milk, cheese, sour cream, yogurt, and creamer. Make sure to check the expiration dates on these since it is harder to tell in-store if they’ve gone bad. Some of these items can be frozen as well.


Bakery items that have been marked down can be found at nearly every store. Bread, rolls, tortillas, and desserts are popular items to look for. There will usually be some sort of rack that says something along the lines of “Oops! We baked too much!”

Combine With Coupons

Save even more on manager’s special items by combining the deals with coupons! As far as I know, stores will accept coupons on marked down items. Make sure to point out the markdown sticker to the cashier. Not all items will scan at the correct price and may need to be adjusted.

Do you shop for manager’s specials? Does your store have a special spot for them or do you have to search? I’d love to hear!


  1. As a student on a budget, manager’s specials at kroger are a lifesaver. One thing I would caution against, however, is buying packages of orange sticker bread. If it’s just a small amount of bread and you’re going to use it right away, fine. But never buy more of it than you can eat in one night. Most other things with looming expuiration dates will last a few days if you store them right, but in my experience, the bread always starts growing mold the next day. Of course, if you’ve been buying the bread and haven’t had this problem, feel free to ignore me. After all, there could be a chance that I’m just unlucky.


  2. I just started couponing…Like literally…yesterday. My favorite thing was finding manager specials. I found hamburger buns for 49 cents ea!!! And I found cilantro for 99 cents. I know it’s cheaper out of the package, but I always waste a ton so I figured I would rescue the ones that would get tossed since I’m using them right away.
    I almost did a happy dance when I found out that manager specials were real…you never think you’ll do that happy dance…and then you do haha
    I’m loving this blog! (by the way…I saved $42! not bad for the first of many!) 🙂


  3. Good article.
    I go “orange sticker shopping” at Kroger once or twice a week. I first hit the usual spots in my store where I know the markdowns are placed. Then I do a scan through the store to find any other bargains including close-outs (these are white tags). I combine this with coupons and get super deals. In my store Saturday is always a big mark-down for dairy and meat, sometimes produce including organic, however, if I can’t get there by Noon, the items are gone. Shopping in the evening is the worst time and you will rarley get a deal. Mid-week is more likely for merchandise markdowns.
    Also, Kroger will accept expired coupons, supposedly from within the last week, however, I have had much older coupons go through just fine. I also recommend to do a little ‘cashier profiling’. Your best bet is a young male. He will likely be calm, easy going, and scan anything you hand him.
    Additionally, when an item on sale rings up higher they are supposed to apply their make-good policy which is, if the item is below $3 you get your money back and the item for free. If the item is more, then they will subtract the original amount plus the difference and ring up the correct amount, so you still get it cheaper than the sale price. Different locations my have different policies, I’m not sure, (I’m in Ohio) and oftentimes you will have to ask.
    Good luck and happy krogering 🙂


  4. My Krogers marks down organic milk frequently, so don’t forget to look in the organic section.

    As for meat, I tend to by beef at Costco because the prices on the steak and pork chops are the same or slightly lower per pound and the cuts are excellent for the price. I haven’t been lucky in finding managers specials on meat.


  5. This is one of the ways I’ve shopped for a long time, well before couponing. Every time I go to the grocery store I look at their meats to see if anything is marked down, they even do this at Sams club so you can really get some good deals. I tend to look every time I go and it’s funny how we end up w/ tons of one kind of food. For a few weeks we had mostly pork products now it seems they are doing a lot of chicken so it evens out! I rarely buy meat unless it’s reduced or on sale for a great deal. it’s too expensive to feed a family of 5 any other way!

    amy’s last blog post..


  6. Nice post
    A budget is a spending plan that includes everything you will spend money on. A good budget is a spending plan that includes everything you will spend money on and stays within your income.
    Budgeting tips, information, advice, and resources to help you set up a successful budget and stay motivated.
    Budgeting is something that many of us don’t like to consider as we think it will tie us down. But if you really stop and think about it, budgeting is simply a means of looking at your income and expenditure and deciding on what is most important to you.


  7. Does anyone have a suggestion on how to find out what days things are marked down? I used to find manager’s special meats constantly but I haven’t seen any in a long while at either my Krogs or Tom Thumb.

    If I go on Tuesday, I find it more difficult to get items that are in the ads about to expire. Fridays are the least busy most well stocked days for me (particularly if you wait until about 7pm) usually, but never any manager’s specials. What’s a girl to do?


  8. Yes, I love to find orange and yellow stickers at Kroger. I always go at least twice a week on the days they mark things down. Great post! That corned beef brisket made me think of reubens-yum!


  9. The meat is such a great suggestion. I LOVE to find a great cut of steak in the managers special section at a really good price. It’s rare that steak, or a really good cut of steak, is anywhere near cheap enough for me to put it into my cart. This is about the only way my husband ever gets any!

    Kristen’s last blog post..My shopping Trip


Post a Comment

ABOUT COUPONING101 is a free resource for all who are interested in learning more about couponing and saving money.  Couponing 101 offers a variety of money-saving strategies that encourage and motivate readers to get creative and explore different savings techniques.