I hadn’t been to Grocery Outlet in well over 10 years B.C. (“before couponing”). So when I had the opportunity to do a review, I had a limited idea of what I might expect to find. Today, I am sharing my discoveries with you!
I visited the 56th St Tacoma Grocery Outlet and toured the store with the owner, Howard. I could sense that this was a very friendly, fun place to shop. I also sensed that the employees truly loved working there. It showed in how they interacted with each other and the customers in the store, and the way they cared for the store. It was clean, organized, and well-laid out!
How Grocery Outlet Works
In case you’re unaware, Grocery Outlet sells food and household good items on deep discount. There may be various reasons why Grocery Outlet gets these items, for instance:
- They may be near expiration dates and other stores can’t sell them fast enough.
- The manufacturer may have changed the design or packaging of the product.
- The item may simply not sell as well at other stores.
So should you be aware of expiration dates when shopping Grocery Outlet? Yes, absolutely! But I was also impressed by Howard’s attention to detail in making sure that all items sold in his store were in safe ranges of expiration dates. There are safety guidelines, and they are carefully followed at his store. You can feel good about what you buy there.
This bagged Folger’s Coffee was “best by” the date I was purchasing it on. However, I also knew that I could easily go through it in a week’s time and keep it in my freezer or fridge for freshness. In this case, the discount was worth it to me. (Please do note I just bought one, not ten.)
Here’s another item I picked up nearing expiration dates:
My son loves these lunchables and buying two at $0.50 and an expiration date of 8/30 made sense. I knew he’d eat them up in time!
Using Coupons & Shopping Sales at Grocery Outlet
Since the manufacturers are giving Grocery Outlet deep discounts on their products already, you cannot redeem manufacturers’ coupons there. However, I do recommend you get on the email and/or mailing list for Grocery Outlet. I was lucky enough to find this one for my shopping trip (thanks, Mom & Dad!):
The other thing to note is that each Grocery Outlet store is independently owned and operated. This means each store has the ability to offer their own discounts, coupons, and other promotions. The coupon I used? It was ONLY good for the 56th Street Tacoma location.
So here’s a happy discovery about Grocery Outlet: they carry organic items!
Check out a few of my finds:
Seattle Organics Hand Wash for $3.99 (regularly $8.99!).
Organic Olive Oil for $5.99 (reg. $17.99)! Incidentally, the expiration date on this particular item was through 2014!
Amy’s Frozen meals for $2.99 (these are usually $4-5).
Another surprise? Grocery Outlet carries all sorts of specialty items including cheeses, sausages, and wines. The caveat? You never know exactly what they’ll have at any given time. So if you see something you like? Snag it!
Boursin pepper cheese spread for just $0.99 (reg. $4.99).
Huge box of smoked salmon for $7.99 (as much as $19.99 elsewhere).
Oh…and the wine. I seriously could not believe my eyes on the discounts!
I found many varieties priced $5 or less that you would likely pay $10 – $20 at other grocery stores! By the way, if you need help on making some wine selections, check out this video at the Grocery Outlet blog by Chris – he’s a manager at the 56th store and had me in stitches during my visit! (Did I mention that this store is a fun place to shop?)
Do they have Produce, Milk, and Eggs?
Just because their dry and canned goods may be close to expiration dates, you should know that Grocery Outlet receives shipments of fresh produce and dairy mutiple times per week. They offer these items as a convenience to their shoppers so you won’t have to go elsewhere to complete your shopping. All of their produce is sold by unit, so you’ll know exactly what you’re going to pay at checkout.
They definitely had some deals in produce. I found heads of lettuce for $0.99, green peppers for $0.33, and whole cantaloupes for $0.99.
My Trip & Final Thoughts
Grocery Outlet graciously furnished me with a $75 gift card to do my trip. This is roughly the amount I spend on my family’s groceries in a week, so I was curious to see if I could do that, without coupons, and get everything I need to make meals for the week. Here’s what I did:
After my gift card and the $5/$20 coupon (see, I got to use at least ONE coupon,right?) I spent a smidge over $70! I was honestly surprised I still had a few bucks on my gift card at the end of it! My trip included:
- A lot of fresh produce, including organic
- Lean ground beef and sausage
- Organic and specialty items
- Household items
- Snacks & school lunch items
- And yes, even a bottle of wine added and I’m still under budget!
While it was rather unnerving shopping naked (and by that, I mean without my coupon binders), I got over it real fast when I saw on my receipt that I’d saved $83 – that’s 54%!
I think Grocery Outlet would be a perfect place to shop to fill in grocery needs for the week, find treats for less, or pick up items for school lunches. It’s also an excellent place to just go poke around and see what bargains you can find!
Here’s one more reason to feel good about shopping Grocery Outlet: EVERYTHING is 100% guaranteed (this goes for all locations). From the produce, to the cheese – even the wine! – if you try ANYTHING you don’t love, for any reason – you can return it for a full refund. Love that!
Special Offer for Locals!
As I left the store, owner Howard told me to send some of my pals his way.
If you’re local, head to the Grocery Outlet store in Tacoma on 56th street, and ask for Howard. Tell him Angela from The Coupon Project sent you and he’ll give you a coupon good for $3 off your purchase of $3 or more!! Hey…at Grocery Outlet, that’s like 6 boxes of Pop Tarts, 2 cartons of raspberries, or an assortment of canned goods for free!
Just make sure you ask for Howard and mention The Coupon Project…got it?
OK so now that you saw my trip, I bet you’re wondering what next? Tomorrow, I’ll be kicking off a giveaway and two lucky readers will win $25 Grocery Outlet gift cards! So come back for your chance to win!
Disclosure: While I did not receive compensation to write this post, I was furnished a $75 gift card to shop from Grocery Outlet. Photos were taken with permission from Grocery Outlet (thanks, guys!). As always, opinions expressed are purely mine.