1. Have your knives sharpened.
Ask your store’s butcher if you can get your knives sharpened for free. Most Schnucks and some Raley’s stores offer free knife sharpening for their customers and will even provide protection sleeves. If your grocery store doesn’t offer this service, try heading to Sur la Table during the holidays when they’re likely to have free knife sharpening promotions.
2. Get someone else to do the shopping for you.
Now you can order groceries online at Walmart (select locations only) and enjoy the convenience of picking them up at a drive-thru. This means when the kids are grumpy and it’s pouring rain outside, you won’t have to leave your car! Yass!
3. Ask a butcher to season your meat.
Burgers seasoned with spices and Himalayan sea salt? I think yes! Head to the meat counters at stores like Whole Foods and ask if they can season your hamburger patties and/or give you cooking advice and recipes for free.
4. Get the exact portions of bread, cheese, and fruit that you need.
Once you discover your store’s baker will slice whole loaves of bread for you, you may never buy pre-sliced bread again. Bread isn’t the only thing you can get sliced. Stores like Whole Foods will also portion out and reprice the exact amount of cheese you want for a cheeseboard and can slice a melon in half if that’s all you need.
5. See prepared foods sitting in the deli case? Ask to get one freshly made.
Whenever I go to Kroger and crave a Boar’s Head sandwich, instead of picking a ready-made one in the case, I’ll ask the deli clerk to make a fresh one for me. They’re always happy to do it, and I get to choose exactly what dressings I want.
6. Special order what you need ahead of time.
There’s this super-awesome deal going on, and you have the coupons for it, so you head to the store, and lo and behold—the shelf’s empty. Disappointment sweeps over you, then frustration…. Avoid this completely and call your grocer ahead of time to special order a product. Speak to the store manager and request that the order be fulfilled before the sales have ended. Make sure to write down the manager’s name, and follow up! Managers will need at least 72 hours to complete your special request.
Special ordering is also helpful when you need an item your store doesn’t normally carry, like live crabs or Coke in old-school glass bottles.
7. Ask a butcher or fishmonger to trim, cut, grind, and even fry meat and fish.
If breaking down a whole chicken terrifies you (or you have no idea how to even approach the task), ask your butcher. Some may even de-bone, de-skin, and grind it up for meatballs if you want. Need thinly sliced beef for cheesesteaks? They can do that too.
Many Asian supermarket fishmongers will even clean, slice, and fry fresh fish for you in minutes.
8. Curious about a new product? Ask to sample it.
Did you know you can ask to sample anything at Trader Joe’s? Well ya can—just make sure to get permission first. Most grocery stores will also let you sample their best deli meats and cheeses if you ask. Maybe it’s time you find out if that $20 Stilton cheese is worth the cost.
9. Let Amazon remember to restock your toilet paper for you.
10. Request that you pay the best price in town.
Why waste precious time and gas driving to multiple stores in order to get the best price on groceries? Walmart (via the Savings Catcher app) and Target will price match their competitors, ensuring that the prices you pay at their store is the best.