Everyday Cheapskate mug

Mary Hunt

I enjoy discovering secret information — stuff most people don’t know about. And I love spreading the word. For example, my supermarket, similar to most, offers a rain check if they run out of a product that is on sale. This is really great, in my opinion, because my store’s rain checks have no set expiration date. But there’s another secret: There’s no limit on how many of that item I can get later — at a more convenient time — with my rain check.

Case in point: Last summer, this supermarket advertised its London broil cut of beef for $3.99 per pound. That’s a bargain where I live. And sure enough, the store sold out before noon Sunday, the day I was shopping. No problem.

Because my goal was to load up for my freezer, I asked for a rain check. A full two months later, when London broil was at its regular price of $7.99 per pound — quite plentiful in the butcher’s case and, I believe, nicer selections — I bought 10. And yes, I got the $3.99 per pound for the lot. I smiled all the way home.

I am excited to have just learned another secret. Don’t we all believe Starbucks has three sizes of drinks? Tall, Grande and Venti. Well, we’re wrong.

There’s a secret size for those who know to ask: Short. All hot Starbucks drinks come in an optional short size. It’s cheaper and just the right size, at least for me — 8 ounces as opposed to the 12-ounce Tall size. And here’s a bonus: The 8-ounce short cappuccino from Starbucks is 8 ounces but has the same amount of espresso as the tall, meaning your coffee-to-milk ratio is much higher. So, if you just want more coffee in your cappuccino or prefer to spend as little as possible at Starbucks, there are a few reasons to give the short cappuccino a try.

Here’s another secret: The large size of some products in the supermarket is actually more expensive per unit than the smaller size. No kidding. You have to look carefully at the shelf label that indicates the unit pricing (or just figure it out if you’re some kind of math wizard). This is not true of all products; you have to know to check.

Want another? I can’t guarantee this to be true nationwide, but at the Walgreens drug store close to my office, milk is $2.99 per gallon — about half the $4.69 supermarket price. Who ever would think to buy milk at the drug store? Smart people who have figured out that secret, that’s who. Another place for really cheap, fresh milk: the Mobil gasoline station’s minimart across the street from that Walgreens. They soak you out at the pump, but they offer a deal inside for those in the know.

There’s a secret in the back of Costco. Even as prices are soaring, the Costco rotisserie chickens are still just $5. Big, plump and juicy roasted chickens. Costco’s famous $4.99 rotisserie chickens sound too good to be true. But they’re totally worth it. Have you seen how plump those birds are? Costco’s chickens can weigh twice as much as those of its competitors but for a fraction of the price. Plus, contrary to a lot of internet rumors and fake reporting, they’re perfectly seasoned and have no preservatives, MSG or artificial colors and flavors.

Got secrets? Come on. ‘Fess up. Our curious minds want to know.

Mary invites you to go to EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at everydaycheapskate.com/contact, “Ask Mary.” Tips can be submitted at tips.everydaycheapskate.com. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book “Debt-Proof Living.”