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Money-Saving Holiday Survival Guide

How to Save Money on Groceries

An anonymous grocery-store manager shares the secrets to lowering your food bill.

By an anonymous grocery-store manager, as told to Shivani Vora
Illustration of shoppers outside a store called Shop MartPapercut.fr

“Head to the supermarket an hour before closing time. Some stores mark down prepared foods and bakery items then because they can’t sell them the following day. You could get a rotisserie chicken or freshly baked cookies for 50 percent off, or nab two sushi meals for the price of one. If you’re planning to host a party or some other gathering, it’s worth your time to ask the deli or bakery manager for a 5 to 10 percent discount off your catering order. Also, keep an eye out for online coupons: Some grocery stores accept coupons printed out from sites like TheGroceryGame.com, ShopAtHome.com, and CouponMom.com, even though they rarely publicize the fact. (Find out your store’s policy at the customer-service counter.) It also pays to check the market’s own website. You could find weekly deals there that it doesn’t advertise anywhere else, including its in-store flyers.

“And even though it’s convenient to do all your shopping in one place, avoid going to a grocery store for kitchen supplies, like measuring cups and cookie sheets, or seasonal items, like holiday decorations and gift bags. These products will have inflated prices. Buy them at a big-box chain, like Target or Walmart, instead.”

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Aluminum foil and plastic wrap in a drawer

The flan can be baked up to 3 days in advance; refrigerate, loosely covered with plastic wrap. Unmold just before serving.