How To Score Free Groceries (Seriously)

ReadyNutrition Guys and Gals, this is a piece dedicated to help you take a more proactive role in your urban and suburban food gathering.  A few tidbits you may have previously neglected or that have gone unnoticed can be categorized as “grocery hustling.”   In the end, it can help to trim down your grocery bills and provide some extra cash for survival gear or preps you will make in your home.  These are some simple tips, and they work…if you use them.

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Learn how to hustle

“Hustle” as used as a verb is defined as “To sell or get by questionable or aggressive means,” as printed so thoughtfully in The American Heritage Dictionary.  If you ask me, the definition is a little skewed, because questionable can refer to something not agreed with in the norm, such as buying 300 cans of tuna fish for $20 from a man selling from a pickup truck bed.  Aggressive is looked at only negatively in a physical sense or by those in positions who do not want them threatened by those looking to make gains (yet will counter those moves with aggressive actions of their own).

No, aggressive should not be confused with taking the initiative.  That is what you’ll be doing here.  There is (most of the time) a superabundance of food, and with lowered sales, a superabundance of wasted food.  Here is the way to handle this to your advantage.  Visit your local grocery stores.  Make the rounds and make your contacts.  Meet the department heads, and have it cleared (if you can) through one of the assistant managers or general managers.

It’s all about the connections

The objective is to pick up fresh produce and meats on the fringe or just passing the fringes of the expiration dates.  You can do it.  Check, for example, with your fresh produce manager.  Ask him to sell you vegetables meant for the hog farm or the dumpster on a markdown special.  He’ll be more than happy to oblige, nine times out of ten.  The reason for this is that it is better for the company to take in a little bit on a product rather than throw it out.  Then it’s just a matter of your own personal standards.  A small present for them every so often can sweeten up the deal and make him or her even more amicable.

Does this sound “questionable?”  It shouldn’t.  Here is JJ’s point: If you won’t think out of the box now in easy times, you will not when the times are tough.

There are plenty of types of stores with managers that will sometimes even say, “Well, we have to throw it out…but I’ll put all of these bananas and string beans in a cardboard box and look the other way when I take it out back in five minutes.”

These guys are your contacts.  Wanna learn about barter?  Here’s your chance, nitty-gritty, style of da city!  Slip the guy five or ten dollars every once in a while.  He’ll be grateful, and then he’ll be more than willing to give to you what would have been thrown out, and you make his life a little better in the process.

It’s amazing what you can find if you just look around for it.  Here in the area where we live are potato farmers that’ll sell you a 100 lb. bag for $10.  The last time I checked, you might be able to get about 20 – 30 lbs. for that amount in the grocery stores.  The only limitations are the ones either you place upon yourselves or opportunities that you do not seek out.  Look in your thrift stores…they sometimes have a grocery section.  Forget the expiration date.  If you research it, with the exceptions of medications and dairy products, the date is simply the date that the product stays freshest…a sort of informal limit.

All of this activity will augment what you already do to save your pennies.  Many times you can even find sales on canned goods that you can use for your preps.  Your job is to find as many avenues as you can for you and your family to make ends meet and preserve one another.  The methods outlined here are not questionable…they’re unconventional, and require you to think with other than normative thought.  You’ll come up with a plan.  Just the fact that you read ReadyNutrition is evidence that you do not follow the crowd.  So, happy hustling for those groceries, and let us know about techniques and adventures that you have found to benefit you and yours.  JJ out!

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published May 26th, 2016
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5 Responses to How To Score Free Groceries (Seriously)

  1. kzF says:

    That is a good idea. I would also suggest canning your own veges. You can grow them yourself in raised beds in the backyard. Or, you can find the closest auction and go on Thursday nite, and stock up and can all weekend. there are several types of auctions. one kind is the local farmers vegetable market. another type is the auction for restaurant foods such as frozen lasagna, or commercial style meats. we also find a lot of good produce at our local farmers markets. sometimes, at the end of the weekend, they will sell the balance of what they have left at a great discount. I like to shop for meat on tuesday or wednesday at food lion bc they mark down their steaks, chicken etc. sometimes at super walmart you can buy chicken for 29 cents a pound. I also keep a deep freezer and look for deals for stocking it. So, just look at prices of things to start and figure out which place has the best values. don’t be afraid to shop at more than one place. good luck. the more you cook from scratch, the better your health will be.

  2. walcon says:

    I think the term “free” was a little deceptive.

  3. socalbeachdude says:

    Here in Southern California, one of our major grocery stores, Ralphs, constantly marks down items on its “Whohoo! Manager Special” including produce, canned goods, bakery, and all sorts of items and I take advantage of that all of the time including just now in a run to my local Ralphs. The savings are typically 50% off the regular price and sometimes much more including up to 75% off. They also giving away one free item each week and this week with was Quaker Oaks Breakfast flats and they were also giving away one free doughnut to celebrate National Doughnut Day!

  4. Tess says:


    I have also found that if you get to Farmer’s Markets at the end of the selling time, they are more apt to give you a bargain on produce because they want to off load it. This is great for feeding livestock, canning and preserving food too.

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