Load up on eggs. They're a great source of protein, and they're relatively cheap, too. Grade AA eggs typically cost more than grade A, but it's a worthwhile investment because they're higher quality and have longer shelf lives, Pavini says. To test whether an egg is fresh, drop it in a cup of water. If it sinks, it's still good; if it floats, it's old and not ideal for eating
Buy larger cuts of meat. These tend to be cheaper than meat that's been sliced, cut into tenderloins or made into patties. Buy simple cuts and do the trim work yourself, or ask your butcher to cut it.
Take advantage of markdowns. Meat and bakery items are typically marked down right before their sell-by date. Ask a store employee what time they tend to slap discount stickers onto perishables; it's typically late afternoon. Stop by to pick up dinner or a treat.
Ask for rain checks. If something is out of stock, and it's a good deal, request a rain check. "I've saved so much money that way," Pavini says. "You have the right to ask for one, and the store will honor it." Her favorite health drink, which normally goes for $1.98 a bottle, was recently marked down to 89 cents—but sold out. She mentioned it to the store, and they gave her a rain check for a case that she picked up when the drinks were restocked.