All throughout history there have been classes of society with the rich and the poor at opposite ends of the range. When economic times are tough, even those not considered in the “poor” class of society are looking for any possible angle to save money. Saving money in tough times becomes vital for survival and one of the areas people will look to save is on grocery items.

There are a few dimensions to saving money on food, the first of which being a reduction in the amount of dinners at restaurants. Even a restaurant considered “cheap” can cost a couple $40-50 for dinner, which is very expensive when you compare it to the number of dinners that can be consumed by purchasing grocery items to make dinner. Once you have reduced this, further savings can still be achieved depending on where you shop.

One of the primary options for cheaper groceries is to look for salvaged food. You may be wondering how food becomes salvaged in the first place. There are several main ways that food can be salvaged: discontinued products from the manufacturer, items damaged in route to the store, outdated seasonal items and goods that are nearing their expiration or “fresh” date. Often, these food products are sold in larger boxes as bulk items.

There are many products each year that become discontinued by the manufacturer, yet the inventory of these products remains in the companies’ hands unless all is sold or donated. The company can seek to regain some of their lost investment in producing these goods, and perhaps help people struggling to buy food, by offering these products at salvage.

Similarly, there are many items daily that have absolutely nothing wrong with the quality, freshness or taste that are damaged in shipping and cannot be sold on the shelves at grocery stores for full price. These items should be thoroughly inspected by the buyer to ensure they are healthy to consume, but assuming they are it is another great source of brand name products at reduced prices. The same can be said for items that are nearing their “fresh” date. These products can be purchased and consumed quickly while still fresh, allowing savings for the customer.

Finally, seasonal items that are over-produced (or under-sold) offer a good opportunity for savings as the company manufacturing them is likely to take a loss on the products if not sold. Tough economic times call for tough, smart measures to save money. While nobody should take a risk on their health with questionable food products, there are a significant amount of salvage products that can be purchased and consumed without hurting your health or your wallet.