20+ Bargains at Save-a-Lot Grocery Stores
Looking to take your bargain shopping efforts to the next level? Discount grocery stores can play a huge part in that plan. Offering staples, produce, and even some brand-name grocery items at significantly reduced prices, these chains can be a penny pincher’s paradise. One of the more prevalent discount grocery chains in my area is Save-a-Lot. It’s also one of my favorites. While you won’t find much there in the way of organic groceries, you will find numerous conventional food items for a song. For my money, this makes it one of my go-to places when I need to fill in with basic non-organic produce or pick up some quick menu items for a dinner party. Here are my favorite shopping deals from Save-a-Lot. (See also: Save on Groceries With Discount Grocery Stores)
1. Cocktail Bread
Cocktail bread is one of my all-time favorite party hacks. Already baked in a size suitable for appetizers and conveniently sliced for easy assembly, it can be a best friend to any hostess in a hurry. While I don’t have a problem dishing out the $3-$4 it normally costs at other grocery stores, I was seriously stoked to find the rye-flavored loaves for $1.89 during a recent Save-a-Lot visit. It makes a great base for a favorite party spread I make with canned salmon and works with other canapé recipes as well.
2. Mini Pizza Crusts
Remember those toaster-oven appetizers I recommended in my business tips article for bed and breakfast owners? Well, you can now prepare them even more affordably. During the same visit I discovered the cocktail bread, I also noticed multi-packs of personal-sized prepared pizza crust for roughly $3. Requiring only 5-8 minutes in the oven to heat the toppings properly, these make for a fun lunch or a simple elegant dinner when paired with a mixed green salad and your wine of choice. They are also great for trying out different pizza sauce ideas, since you can put several customized pies in the oven at once.
When this fruit is in season, it can still cost anywhere from $3-$5 at other grocery stores in my area. They’re always less than $2 at the nearest Save-a-Lot, leaving me to enjoy all of the pineapple recipes I want during the summer. One of my favorite simple ones is grilled pineapple steaks on the grill with an all-purpose Asian grilling sauce.
Frequently as low as 33 cents per pound, and routinely less than 50 cents, I always stock up when I happened to be in the store. Banana recipes are flavorful, provide boatloads of potassium, and are extremely affordable for the average family.
While the selection is minimal, Save-a-Lot has started offering a modest wine selection with a few brands that we don’t mind stocking for a basic weekday dinner. I don’t do all of my wine shopping there by any means, but it’s been nice to have the option to pick up a basic bottle there instead of having to make an extra stop on family pasta night. They also have a few brands which are suitable for sangria.
With bargain brands like Badia available, it’s easy to stock up on things like garlic powder and ground cumin when my schedule’s too tight to drive down to the Pakistani market in the city. Not only are these seasonings helpful for basic soups and sauces, they also work well for putting together homemade bread mixes for a savory dinner side.
7. Turkey Ham
When it comes to saving money on meat, the Jennie-O turkey hams are one of my top tips for busy home cooks. Easily diced and sliced with no de-boning or cooking necessary, I’ve priced them at $2.50 at Save-a-Lot versus $4-$5 at most closely priced store. We’re not eating that much meat at our house anymore, but for those who are, these are great. You can whip up pasta salad, carbonara, and a number of other simple dishes on the fly.
For those who enjoy Latin-style cooking, the jars of sofrito in the ethnic cooking section are a steal. They are definitely an affordable convenience food that I’ve leaned on for savory soups and sauces. One of my favorite is an El Salvadoran soup made with those bags of mixed seafood, tomatoes, and a few vegetables.
9. Corn Tortilla Mix
If you want homemade with a little less hassle, then you may want to check out the bags of corn tortilla mix. Easily stored in an airtight pantry container or large canning jars, this mix is an affordable way to enjoy tortilla-based meals with extra-fresh flavor.
With green peppers typically priced at two for a buck, whipping up your favorite Cuban food recipes is more affordable than ever. They’re also great for stir fry dishes, pizza toppings, and homemade spaghetti sauce in the crock pot.
11. Roma Tomatoes
These are one of my two favorite types of tomatoes, and I love the fact that Save-a-Lot has them for less than a buck per pound at various times during the year when they cost nearly double elsewhere. One easy way to use them when feeding a crowd is in Middle-East-inspired cocktail sandwiches made with bulk mozzarella. They also work well in spinach salad. Again, they’re not organic, but for a quick fill in on a busy week, it’s nice to be able to pick them up in the same plaza where I frequently run other errands.
Avocados are one of several plant-based diet tricks that make transitioning to a reduced-dairy lifestyle easier. Full-flavored and healthy, they make a creamy addition to many meals you may already enjoy eating, such as tacos, sandwich wraps, and homemade guacamole. They are regularly priced at $1 each for the larger ones in season, and at other stores I have to wait for a sale to see that price. This makes it worth my while to stop there specifically when I’m on an avocado mission.
13. Sweet Potatoes
Always less than a dollar per pound and sometimes as low as 39 cents per pound, the jumbo sweet potatoes at Save-a-Lot make their way into my refrigerator produce drawer on a regular basis. They make an elegant and simple side dish when paired with roasted beets, and when I don’t feel like making veggie burgers, I can slice off large rounds to roast in the oven. Yes, they’re still just sweet potatoes, but the side next to the baking dish that’s been brushed with olive oil caramelizes nicely and provides the look of miniature patties on the plate when I’m serving other items that are more traditional for meat and potatoes dinner guests. Bonus? They cook more quickly that way.
It may not be on everybody’s list of favorite kitchen herbs, but it is extremely popular with a fair number of people. It’s also one of the easiest soup garnishes to prepare. Just snip into a bowl, and you’re good to go. While the large bunches are priced at 2 for $1 on a regular basis, I typically have to pay more than a dollar for just a single batch at my other favorite chain stores. The only place I can top this price is at Patel Brothers, which is in a location I can only manage to get to once every two or three months. So when I need a fresh batch of this herb and don’t want my grocery budget to take the hit, Save-a-Lot is where I shop for it.
The large mangoes are routinely priced at around a buck per mango, similar to the way they price the large avocados. This makes them extremely affordable to bring home and prepare things like mango sorbet, a grilled fruit medley, or one of my favorite black bean recipes, mango-black bean salsa. Since the store also carries cilantro, jalapenos, canned beans, limes, and other basic ingredients, the salsa can pretty much be whipped up with one-stop shopping. It pairs well with grilled fish, plain rice, or even grilled pork medallions if you’re so inclined.
When it’s junk food you’re craving and you don’t want to spend much for it, Save-a-Lot has a decent snack selection that includes things like Fritos, cheese crackers, Doritos, and other guilty pleasures. The cracker selection also works well when planning a party with a variety of spreads and dips.
17. Cured Turkey Sausage
As I pointed out in my previous hurricane preparedness article, cured meats are a great way to remain prepared for both power and entertainment emergencies. They are shelf stable; easily sliced or chopped for sauces, pasta salads, and other delicious num-nums; and reasonably affordable, depending on where you purchase them. That’s why I was excited to see packages of short-linked, cured turkey sausage on a recent cruise through the Save-a-Lot aisles.
While cooking with cabbage is relatively inexpensive no matter where you buy it, I have noticed that it’s usually less than 50 cents per pound at my local Save-a-Lot store. So if you don’t want to wait for those March sales and aren’t planning to buy organic anyway, this is a great place to stock up on this particular produce item.
The six-packs of ramen here are regularly priced at six for a dollar, a price I need to sale-watch for at my other favorite stores. So if ramen recipes are something you enjoy, then this might be your best bet if you have a location near where you live.
20. Meat and Dairy
I realize I’ve already listed a couple of other meat items above, but for those who indulge regularly in these types of food items, I feel they deserve their own category with regards to this particular article. The bargain meats, cheeses, and other dairy products at Save-a-Lot are a huge money saver for those whose favorite sandwich ideas include stacking ‘em high with protein and multiple cheesy flavors. Other meat items are extremely affordable there as well, including turkey breasts, chicken leg quarters, and prepared treats like meatballs, chicken tenders, and more.
21. Canned Goods
While we try to eat mostly fresh and frozen items when we can, the truth is it’s difficult to resist the convenience of canned items at least occasionally. The way I figure it, it’s at least cheaper than takeout or frozen pizza. So when push comes to shove I don’t mind using canned products for my favorite bean recipes or picking up a can of fruit for an easy meal enhancement. At this store, I routinely see canned goods priced at less than 60 cents each, making them an affordable time saver on a busy evening.
Seasoned rice blends, dry pizza crust blend, and cake mixes are readily available for less than $2 each, making for simple side dishes, corn muffins, dump cakes, and other easy menu items when you need a break from the stove at the end of the week, yet still have a Sunday dinner to pull off. While I don’t recommend overloading your family meal plan with processed foods, there’s nothing wrong with a little help now and again in the form of prepared items.
OK Wise Bread readers, these are my favorite bargains at Save-a-Lot. Do you have a list of favorite things you like to pick up there? Or another favorite grocery chain that offers a selection of superior values?