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Jul 162012
 July 16, 2012  Posted by  Food, Groceries, Shopping

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.


Teresa Mears

Teresa Mears is a website publisher, writer, blogger and editor who was raised to be frugal. In her 35 years as a journalist, she has written for papers ranging in size from the weekly Portland (Tenn.) Leader to The Los Angeles Times. She was an editor for the Miami Herald for more than 17 years, overseeing coverage of home, real estate, family and other subjects. She has also been a contributor to The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Dallas Morning News and other publications. When she’s not writing about Florida deals, she writes and edits for MSN Money and does the Listed blog for MSN Real Estate. Teresa owns and operates Miami On The CheapFlorida On The CheapFort Lauderdale On The CheapPalm Beach On The CheapOrlando On The Cheap, Florida Keys On the Cheap and Jacksonville On The Cheap, as well as Baltimore on the Cheap and Washington, D.C., on the Cheap.

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