In preparation for a road trip, or the reason for this particular visit- an upcoming camping trip, a trip to the local $0.99 store is always in order. And I do mean the $0.99 cent store, not the $1 store; there is a difference. The $0.99 cent store, at least in my area, seems to be much larger, with a larger selection of grocery items. While these category of stores are often thought of for cheap party or school supplies, and general randomness, some can be great for groceries. Of course if you have a dietary restriction like being gluten free, you need to be even more savvy, but that just means you won't be buying all those really non-nutritious cheap cookies. Of course checking the dates on foods at a discount store like this is also vitally important. Stock can change quickly and once again can vary from location to location, but it can't hurt to look.
On my most recent trip I strolled down the extensive candy/snack aisles and marveled at the assortment of promotional candy that found it's way here. Limited edition pomegranate tootsie pops, Care Bear gummi bears, Shrek 3 hard candies, etc. As much of a fan of Jelly Belly as I am, I passed by the small bags of flops for coconut flavored M & M's. It was here that I found chocolate flavors skittles and loved them and have never seen them again. Lesson here is don't become attached, but do enjoy- it's worth the $0.50 experiment.
For me the true adventure of money savings takes place on the beverage aisles. Hansen soda can sell for $0.75 cents per 12oz can, but did you know they made a 16 oz can? I didn't. I'm guessing it was a trial product, didn't sell, and found itself here, on the end cap. Yet at the cost of two 16oz cans for $1.00, you're willing to try a new flavor. Vanilla cherry creme, and mandarin lime were added to my basket. Strolling past the teas I add two cans of Snapple for $1.00, and find myself in a sea of energy drinks.
If you drink Monster, or willing to try something new, as long as it has caffeine this is the place for you. I am a little bit more selective and go with FRS healthy energy beverage. Retailing for $2.99 at Whole Foods, but here it's only $0.79. With 48 mg of caffeine it will do what it's meant to do, but only contains 25 calories per can, and 2 g of sugar- way less than 90% of the energy drinks on the market.
Last but not least, I find an off brand of coconut water on my way to the sparkling bottles of Crystal Geyser. Since the only ingredient is coconut juice, I don't see why it would be bad, so that too is going in my basket. A few gallon jugs of water for $1.00, some nestle chocolate chips, and a bottle of hand sanitizer wrap up my trip to the register. What could have easily cost double or triple at any other store fills my two reusable grocery bags to head home with me.