Buy Food on Sale, Repackage it, and...SAVE $$ !
All Walmart (and MOST grocery retailers), pre-packaged meat has a "Sell By" date stamped on the package label. [Some stores have a "Use or Freeze By" designation, which is actually more descriptive!]
Each day, a Walmart meat department employee checks EVERY item in the meat case. If the item is within one day of the "Sell By" date on the package it's immediately marked down 30% and a BRIGHT YELLOW SALE sticker is affixed to the package.
You may know that the "Sell By" date is VERY conservative. A "sell by" date is simply a guide for how long the item should be displayed for sale before quality begins to deteriorate. It does not mean the food is not fit to eat after that date. Items are generally safe for consumption after that date, but may begin to lose flavor or visual appeal. (Hence the "Use or Freeze By" wording.)
If you are shopping the meat case at the time the employee is marking down the meat, you can usually get first crack at taking advantage of those savings! Don't know when the prices are marked down? Just ask the meat market manager or butcher, and he or she will be happy to tell you!
Usually you'll only be able to get a range like "Mornings after 9 AM." or "Around lunchtime.", but if you time your shopping trips to be there about that time, you'll have a much better chance of picking the first markdowns.
When Cheryl or I shop, we go when we have the best opportunity to catch the "markdown lady" re-pricing the meat. But ANYTIME we go to the store, we go to the meat case first just to check the price markdowns. Since fresh meat products are generally the MOST EXPENSIVE perishable items in the store, the best total savings are achieved there!
And if by some chance a marked down item survives until the actual expiration date, the markdowns are usually 50%, 60% or more depending on the store.
Why Buy It If I Don't Need It?
Buy ONLY those items that you and your family will eat and enjoy. If no one in your household eats lamb, for example, it's foolish to buy it...on sale or not!
What If the Package Is Too Big For One Meal?
All the better! In fact you should SPECIFICALLY look for large quantity packaging to achieve the best savings! For example a package of twenty boneless, skinless chicken breasts can be purchased on markdown, brought home and repackaged two or three to a package and frozen for later use. Instead of buying ONLY two [almost expired] chicken breasts and saving forty five cents, you buy twenty, repackage and freeze them, and save $4.50 ! AND...you've beaten any price increases that you would have experienced in the future. (The prices NEVER go DOWN, do they??)
So follow that meat lady around when she's marking down the "almost expired" meat and snap up some savings! You can usually do the same thing in the Produce department, but the savings are not quite so dramatic.