twitter facebook stumble upon rss

99 Cent Store: Shopping Tips

sign up for the momlogic newsletter Tweet This

Homeschool Mom gives her two cents on how to make grocery shopping at the 99 Cent store a breeze.

Executing my 99 Cent store experiment has been interesting on many levels. First of all, I learned that I spend way too much on food. Second, I found that saving money on food demands a lot of thought and preparation, so you have to have respect for those women who do it on small budgets, and many do it well.

I frankly am not interested in endorsing or denigrating the 99 Cent Only Store -- I have no vested interest in where anyone shops. What I do know, however, is that there is healthy food out there. If you are sending your kids to school with a bag of Cheetos and a soda, you are not making the most of the money you do have. As a teacher, I witnessed some of that, and I had peanut butter and jelly supplies at my desk for those kids that were hungry. Food is most important when you don't have enough of it. So, I hope some of my observations might be useful to anyone who wants to use the 99 Cent store for some of their grocery needs.

1. Location, Location, Location
Not all 99 Cent stores are created equal. I went to several before I found my favorite, so I have started to concentrate on shopping there. They all receive a variety of products. Something you find at one store may not be at another. They can vary in their cleanliness. They also vary in their turnover. If produce sits there, it can become unpleasant, and fruit flies arrive. If the store nearest to you is gross, find another, or shop somewhere else. If you are a smart shopper, as many people have pointed out, your dollar can go even farther at other stores.

2. Read the Expiration Dates
A reporter told me she wrote a story about the 99 Cent store because a man bought a chocolate bar there that had worms in it. Of course, it was over its expiration date. If it says "use by," use it by that date. If it says "sell by," use it within a few days.

3. Plan Some Menus Ahead of Time
Use your own creativity or cookbooks or search for recipes online. I have looked at the "99 Cent Store Cookbook" and I did not find it helpful. A) They do not carry a lot of the ingredients they listed, and B) they used canned meat or some other ingredient that I found distasteful. So I made up my own. I would think of some things that might be possible, and then look for those ingredients.

4. Plan On Shopping Several Times a Week
In order to make the whole thing work, you really need to buy small quantities and go often. The quantity thing is kind of built in for you because the packages are sparse. Because they have different things all the time, you have to go often to get a good selection. The expiration dates are usually close, so you need to use it, and then purchase more often.

5. Eggs and Vegetarian Food Are Best
The grossest thing I found and made were frozen ground chicken patties. They were so disgusting on every level that I am feeling sick just thinking of them again. They smelled bad, and they looked like someone's thinly sliced liver made into a patty. They tasted like a creepy dead thing left lying on your lawn by your cat. I'm sure someone will be outraged by this statement, and accuse me of thinking I'm too good to eat things left on the lawn by cats, and guess what? You're right. So is everyone. So, please don't bother commenting, "Some people are forced to eat ..." blah, blah, blah. Just avoid the chicken patties. The other fresh unprocessed meat is very rare, and when you do find it, it is tiny, expensive, and not very good. So, if you buy only from the 99 Cent store, I would stick with legumes, rice, eggs, and dairy products. We had boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, and quiche. Any way you can eat an egg, we ate it this week. We found lots of yogurt and sour cream, and there was milk every day. As I've said before, the produce is great and it is a wonderful bargain. Canned tuna and salmon are a bargain as well. If you like canned chicken or turkey, they have that too.

There are moms out there who are a lot savvier than I. You all probably have great ideas you can share with me about possible recipes and ways to use the 99 Cent store. I'd love to hear them!

See Also:

next: Your Family Photos Suck
32 comments so far | Post a comment now
Pam June 9, 2009, 2:55 PM

I enjoyed your article and the tips you shared. It certainly is difficult, but one can learn to live on a strict budget.

Your comment about having PB&J supplies for the hungry kids impressed me. Hungry kids do not make good students. Most of us do better with food in our stomachs. Kudos to you for helping those hungry kids.

Angela October 14, 2009, 1:11 AM

So I am in SoCal as well and am wondering what your favorite store was?

Resume Writing November 18, 2010, 6:27 AM

Hey, Great job on the blog, it looks outstanding. I am going to save it and will make sure to check weekly

FFXI November 25, 2010, 5:16 AM

Good Morning, I really enjoyed reading your website, and it looks outstanding. If you get a chance you should visit my blog as well. I hope you have a good day!

Free Sex Chat November 25, 2010, 7:09 AM

Hi, That was a outstanding post, I really liked visiting your blog. I am going to save it and will make sure to check often.

FFXIV Account November 29, 2010, 3:58 AM

Hey, Your blog looks outstanding, I can tell how much time you have put into it. If you get a chance you should visit my site as well. I hope you have a good day!

Free Adult Chat November 29, 2010, 6:18 AM

Cheers, That was a great post, I really liked reading your website. I am going to save it and will make sure to visit often. December 9, 2010, 2:35 PM

Good Morning, I just stopped in to visit your blog and thought I’d say I enjoyed myself.

instant payday loans December 10, 2010, 3:39 AM

Hey! Just wanted to go away a comment. I truly enjoyed this article. Carry on the awesome effort.

payday loan December 10, 2010, 4:31 AM

Hey! Just wanted to go out of a comment. I truly enjoyed reading this article. Maintain the awesome effort.

payday loans no credit check December 10, 2010, 6:00 AM

Thanks a whole lot for ones downright post.this is actually the words that sustains me to normal straight during my day. I have been searching around due to this site after being described them at a colleague and was thrilled after i could locate it after searching for reasonable length of time. To be a demanding blogger, i’m hopeful to remarked further ones taking initivative and contributing to the city. True planned to comment showing my appreciation to your website because it is very intelligent to try and do, and many writers tend not to accumulate acknowledgment they deserve. I am definite i’ll return and definately will send most of my girlfriends.

online payday loan December 10, 2010, 6:09 AM

We are really thankful on the author with this post in making this lovely and informative article live here for us. We really appreciate ur effort. Sustain the nice work… .

instant payday loans December 10, 2010, 7:46 AM

Hi just thought we would let you know something.. That is twice now i’ve landed on your own blog in the last 15 days looking for totally unrelated things. Spooky or what?

Free Cam December 11, 2010, 9:57 AM

Hey, Great job on the site, it looks great. I am going to save it and will make sure to visit weekly

Amateur Video December 11, 2010, 9:57 AM

Hi, That was a wonderful post, I really enjoyed reading your site. I am going to bookmark it and will make sure to check often. December 11, 2010, 12:08 PM

Cheers, I really enjoyed visiting your website, and it looks outstanding. If you get a chance you should visit my site as well. I hope you have a good day!

online payday loans December 13, 2010, 1:57 PM

I keep playing what is this great update lecture about receiving boundless online grant applications so I are actually exploring the very best site for getting one. Can you advise me please, where could i get some?

payday loan December 13, 2010, 2:28 PM

I was happy to locate this web site.I wanted to thank you for this brilliant read!! I definitely enjoying every bit of it and that i have you ever bookmarked to think about new belongings you post.

instant payday loans December 13, 2010, 3:51 PM

I’ve recently started a blog, the info you provide here has reduced the problem tremendously. Thank you for all of your time & work…

payday loans in georgia December 13, 2010, 3:59 PM

Hey! I just want end a comment. I seriously liked this article. Continue the awesome effort.

Back to top >>