Sometimes you find bargains in unexpected places. Or unexpected items at bargain stores.
I have long shopped at Marshall’s, Ross, T.J. Maxx and Big Lots for clothing, linens and other household items. But those stores can also be good places to find fine foods at bargain prices. The selection varies, but it’s not unusual to find gourmet chocolates, fancy cookies, olive oil, coffee beans, tea and muffin mixes. They don’t have one where I live, but Cost Plus World Market also has food bargains.
I don’t believe in giving people “cute” decorative items and other stuff they won’t use. I prefer to give edible, drinkable, usable gifts such as gourmet treats, wine and fancy toiletries — things people would enjoy but wouldn’t necessarily buy for themselves.
Marshall’s, Ross and Big Lots are great sources for such items, as well as for decorative baskets, boxes and bags in which to package your gifts.
Marshall’s and Ross tend to have mostly specialty products, while Big Lots also has quite a few ordinary groceries such as canned fruits and vegetables, pasta and candy. A friend recently found a number of heavily discounted organic foods there.
Some of the packages can look a little worse for wear, but the food itself has not reached its sell-by date (though it always pays to check). Also make sure that the price is really as good a deal as you’ll get elsewhere.