Lessons From Scratch and Dent Shopping or Bulk Shopping and My Latest Shop

Part of my newly organized stockpile.

I must admit, part of me is glad to go to scratch and dent stores so that I can share my shops with you, and sometimes I get more inspired to buy specific things specifically because I plan on sharing them with you.

Last time I was at the scratch and dent store, the first thing I saw as I walked in were these roasted chickpea snacks on sale. And then there were a few other things, all high quality, non "junky" foods, and I was looking forward to making a post with my "healthy" and high quality scratch and dent store purchases, because I know lots of people think its just a way for me to buy a lot of junk like cheese curls or Reese's pieces. And sometimes I do buy less healthy items at the scratch and dent store, but I do like showing off my healthy purchases.

And I started this sum of what was going to go in this post, inspired by those roasted chickpeas. They had plain. They had barbecue. They had olive oil and garlic. And they had a few others. And they were only 28 cents a package. A steal, right?

But then I wondered if my kids would even eat them. I sent a whatsapp picture of a package to my oldest. And he wasn't sure. So I asked the owner if I could open a package to taste them, and I was happy to pay for it. Better waste 28 cents than buy a bunch and dislike them. And oh boy I was glad I did that. They tasted revolting. I had only one and I could just barely swallow it. I was really happy I tried it out before buying. (In the end the shopkeeper didn't even make me pay for the bag.)

So after that, when I saw these baked cheese and corn snacks, I decided to taste them too before buying, and fortunately they were good. But since they were new, and I wasn't sure if my kids would like them, I only purchased 10, even at 28 cents a package, because I didn't want to have a repeat of last time.

Speaking of last time (or the time before that, I can't remember which), I purchased these cheese puffs one time. My kids were fine with them. So I bought more of them, this time a lot (because they were even cheaper than the first time) but now this time the kids who ate them before decided they didn't feel like eating them (only one will eat it), so now I am looking to find ways to use them crushed in place of cracker crumbs in recipes so as to not waste them. 

So here's a few lessons I learned and a tip to share with you about scratch and dent shopping and bulk buying in general.

Even if something is really cheap, be sure that you like it before you buy it. And definitely check that you or your family really likes something before you buy it in large quantities.

Secondly, even if you like an item usually, buy one to taste before buying larger quantities, because sometimes the batch is bad, or it didn't last because of how it was stored. I once bought some gluten free boxed cake only to find out that it was moldy upon opening it. Though I could have gotten a refund if I'd purchased a bunch and they were moldy, needing to take them back to the store would have been difficult if I hadn't already made plans to be in the area and I might have just tossed them all.

Third, check for holes. Again, storage issues could have been a problem (I mean these stuff are in scratch and dent stores for a reason, so often there are cosmetic issues with the packaging, but sometimes the issues are worse than just cosmetic) and it could have gotten infested. I've purchased buggy pasta from the scratch and dent store in the past so definitely check for holes. And if the packaging has clear sections on it, inspect the product through the translucent parts to see if there are any imperfections or anything that looks suspicious. I've found bugs in packages this way, and reported them to the store managers.

Additionally, if you are buying stuff that have packages that bugs can get into them, make sure to not over buy and  turn your stock over regularly so as to decrease the likelihood of infestation.

Lastly, keep your stockpile organized. This is something I often fail in. If you don't realize what is in your stockpile, purchased cheaply, if you need those items you might end up paying retail price for them. Or your stuff can go off or get buggy or stale before they can get eaten. Confession, once the bottom of the room I use for my stockpile was so piled with groceries I didn't put on the shelf that I ended up breaking a glass bottle that was in one of the bags and that was really a mess and destroyed stuff. Don't procrastinate, put your stockpile items right away. Keep an organized list of what is in your stockpile and where. This will help save you money.

And now for what I did end up buying.

10 of those cheese and corn snacks that I did enjoy, at 28 cents a package.

Good milk chocolate that's 55% cocoa was on sale for 70 cents a package, and since I bought these the shop beforehand and know that both my kids and I like them, I bought 20 packages.

Gluten free wafers also at 55 cents a package are something that my kids love, so I purchased 10.

Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans, that I used for my son's Harry Potter gift, was still on sale and even cheaper than before. It was $7.15 for a box of 12 so 59 cents a package. I have another project planned with these in the future, but this time for a lot of people, so I bought 4 packages.

Not the most impressive buy, but that's fine. Better a less impressive buy of things that my family will like than a more "impressive" shop of things that are a waste.

Do you stockpile or purchase from scratch and dent stores? What lessons have you learned from that to share with us? Any good purchases lately?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


Thank you for leaving a comment on your blog. Comments are moderated- please be patient to allow time for them to go through. Opposing opinions are permitted, discussion and disagreements are encouraged, but nasty comments for the sole purpose of being nasty without constructive criticisms will be deleted.
Just a note- I take my privacy seriously, and comments giving away my location or religion are automatically deleted too.

  1. Great ideas! We don't have 'scratch & dent' stores near me, but we have 99cents and Dollar stores, and a store called Grocery Outlet (on West Coast of USA). As we know, 99/Dollar stores aren't always the best deals, as sometimes the amount you get is so tiny. Sometimes it's worth it to me, as we live in a Tiny home and storage is an issue, esp for bottles of condiments that need to be refrigerated--cook a lot of different foods from many cultures, and your tiny fridge fills up with jars and bottles, ugh! But sometimes they can have amazing deals, and if you aren't sure, it's a good idea to try the food item out and return to buy more! I read the 99cent Chef blog, and he will actually buy a snack item (1) and go into his car to taste it, and return inside to buy more if it's amazing. I like 99cents and More stores as they have produce, and if you get lucky and it was just delivered, it can be cheaper than supermarket sales and at the same quality! Two heads of broccoli in a package, or 6 red ripe roma tomatoes or a name brand bag of baby spinach for 99cents each?? Definitely YES. I have seen name brand Korean spicy cheese ramen, tried it and it's now on my regular buy list (at a higher price, in fact Korean ramen has ruined the cheapo brands for me now). Grocery Outlet sells closeout or discontinued items, and really good finds are Costco older stock items at an even cheaper price, like frozen pitted dark cherries in a huge bag for a song...that's when we had a regular house and an extra freezer. Or giant double sized cereal boxes. You DO need to check 'best before' dates on their items. One specialty of theirs is selling Natural and Gluten Free and Organic items there, we've found some great deals. The produce was so-so in Washington state, but incredible in California I discovered. Fruit and veggies are really cheap in CA & neighboring states like Nevada and Arizona, esp at ethnic stores like Mexican Supermarkets! Happy Holidays, I enjoy your blog!

  2. I have sometimes put pasta or flour in the freezer when I bring it home to eliminate a chance of bringing moths into my house. I am on the west coast too and LOVE Grocery Outlet and their gf selections. :) One time I found a gf granola cereal that I loved that was on sale there for really cheap. I think it was a dollar a bag. I asked my mom to look at the GO near her and it was even cheaper so I had her buy me several bags. Well, it did not stay fresh very long since the sell buy date was past and I think I ended up throwing some away. Lesson learned: check expiration dates! I love your frugal posts Penny! Keep them coming! :)

  3. I've never heard of a scratch and dent store. How are food items different in such a store of "damaged" goods?

Previous Post Next Post