abstractjello (abstractjello) wrote in self_sustain,

Dented can stores

Have you ever wondered what happens to that can of green beans that you accidently drop and kick under the shelves in the store?  Many companies save up these dented cans, in addition to expired cereals, slightly damaged packaged food, etc. and sell to wholesalers, who then sell them in lots to smaller stores. 

In the past few years, "dented can stores" have been gaining in popularity.  I drove by one on a weekly basis for about five years, never knowing what it was.  One day I decided to stop...Brand-name cereals for $1/box.  Del Monte canned vegetables $0.10/can.  Kleenex 3-packs for $1.00, Starbucks coffee $1.50.  I was hooked.  I could go in, and average out about $10 for a banana box stuffed full of food.  Yeah, the cereal might be a week or so past the due date, but it's still sealed.  The canned goods have a dent, but as long as the can isn't bulging or click when you push on it (or of course, leaking), it's still good.  Boxes might have some of the packaging removed, but the bag inside is still sealed.  This is like the Goodwill of the food industry.

Another interesting type of store I have found are grocery re-packers.  These places will purchase 1,000 lb. bags of flour, sugar, noodles, dried beans, etc. at low, bulk pricing, and repackage into more "family friendly" sizes, and keep the cost down.  Granted, the packaging doesn't look as nice as it might in the store, but nutritionally, it's the same.  Personally, I like to keep at least 60 lbs. of flour on hand at all times, and with the property I currently have, growing wheat is not an option, so these re-packers are a good alternative for me.

Typically at dented can stores, they will have a lot of some items, and few, if any of others, just depending on what they were able to get that time around.  I have found that buying at least a three month supply of what they do have in stock helps keep my grocery bill down quite a bit.  The one closest to me re-stocks every two weeks, so every two weeks, I go in and buy a large supply of the items they do have in stock.  After about two months, I had a supply of every non-parishable item I could think of, and now I am just at the replenish stage of keeping a minimum of three months worth of stuff on hand.  Since there are items that they don't get in, I do end up having to go to the grocery store, but my monthly grocery store bill is only about $50/month (primarily butter, dog food, coffee creamer, milk, and cheese).

If you have an Amish community near by, they will typically have a dented can store from my experience.  The one I currently go to is ran by the people that deliver the groceries to the near-by Amish stores that saw an opportunity to make some more money.  So, if you see a store that says "dented can," "discount grocery," or something similar, it might be worth your time to check out.

Tags: money saving tip
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