One of my favorite places to find deals on groceries is to look for manager markdowns. They can be a great savings on meats, produce, or bakery items. My mother-in-law was one of the first people to tell me about what she called "thrift aisle" at Ukrop's. I remember her telling me about getting up early to be outside of Ukrop's before they opened on Monday mornings at 7AM to see what was on thrift from the weekend. (For those of you not from Richmond, Ukrop's was a Richmond-based grocery chain that was family run and closed on Sundays.)
These items are generally a day or two away from their sell-by or best before dates. Sometimes the department got a new delivery and needs to get rid of the older product. It could also be that the box got crushed, or the can dented.
I obviously use common sense and my same criteria for buying something on thrift that I use with the rest of my shopping. I look to make sure the product is still usable - not stale, molded, or just looks generally "off". I evaluate if it is something that we will eat, can use in the next day or so, or if I am able to freeze it. I also keep my target prices in mind, just because it is markdown doesn't mean it is the best price.
It is important to keep in mind what your budget is for that trip, or week, or month. If it isn't something that you need, or can use, regardless of the deal don't buy it.
Do you regularly check out the manager markdowns?