December 2, 2023

As supply chain interruptions continue around the country, my readers have been sharing ways they’re finding what they need while avoiding empty shelves and purchase limits. I realize not everyone is experiencing these issues — and that’s a good thing. For those who are, these tips are likely to be helpful:

Dear Jill: I have what I think is a timely tip for people encountering empty shelves or purchase limits at grocery stores. Go somewhere a little out of the ordinary to find what you need. Office supply stores and hardware stores have cleaning products, paper towels and toilet paper. I keep a decent stock of toilet paper at home now, but if there is ever a run on it again, I will go to the office supply and buy it there before others do. — Elly S.

Dear Jill: There is a popular chain of home improvement stores in the Midwest that — in addition to hardware, plumbing and building materials — has a large section of groceries. When the supermarkets in my area implemented limits of four on everything, I noticed home improvement stores didn’t limit any purchase quantities on groceries.

I haven’t paid as much attention to these stores as I should. Not only are their store-brand canned vegetables, beans and tomatoes $.50 per can every day, but they also had a rebate of 11 percent on all purchases, which made them $.45 each.

When I took the cans home and put them in the cupboard, I noticed something else. The date and bar codes on the canned tomatoes at the home improvement store were identical to some of the store-brand canned tomatoes I previously bought at a major supermarket in my city. It looks to me the same company that makes the store-brand products for the supermarket also makes them for the home store, and they are cheaper at the home store. I thought I would share for others looking for out-of-the-ordinary places to buy groceries, especially now. — Lora F.

Dear Jill: A place I have found good deals on groceries lately is the dollar store. I know this isn’t a secret, but I also didn’t know the two dollar stores near me also take coupons. I have found great deals on cereal and shampoo just by getting lucky with $.50 coupons on dollar items.

Unlike my grocery store, they are not limiting what you can buy. The dollar store also has a decent selection of vitamins, first aid items and other essentials. — Ernesto H.

Dear Jill: I appreciate your tips on how to shop around purchase limits. I live in a small town, and the grocery store has limits on about everything you want to buy. However, I used your tip on buying different varieties of the things I need. “Limit two” pasta sauces meant I could get two mushroom, two green pepper, two onion and garlic-flavored sauces and so on.

I have used this same method for other quantity-limited items that come in multiple flavors or varieties. I would not have thought of this without your helpful suggestion. — Patty R.

Jill Cataldo, a coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three, never passes up a good deal. Learn more about Super-Couponing at her website, Email your own couponing victories and questions to [email protected].