Only the Brave and Frugal Return Cans & Bottles to Grocery Stores

Returning bottles at the grocery store is not for the faint of heart. The return area smells of old beer and wet paper bags, there are broken bits of glass everywhere, and, well, there are many colorful characters elbowing their way to any machine that may actually be in working order–and we’re talking about Fairfield, mind you. But…I admit, I return my bottles and cans for the few bucks here and there.

I had a funny encounter with a bottle-returner at a Fairfield Stop & Shop  just the other day. There were about five of us returning our goods when one young and with-it gentleman told me that he runs an office cleaning business, collects the cans and bottles that workers throw out, and he averages about $100 a week in receipts to pay for his groceries! Now…do the math on how many cans this guy collects!

We pay a lot more for that six-pack of soda than we think. Five cents extra for every bottle and can adds up quickly and that's why the frugal-minded return cans and bottles. Photo courtesy free download © Grazvydas |

But, this guy was no slouch. He said for a couple of hours of time returning the throw-aways, he pays for groceries, and he told me with a chuckle that he couldn’t care less if anyone laughs at him for doing that.

Well, his $100 beats my $1.50 in bottle/can return weekly receipts. The lesson here is if you have a good working strategy that saves money on expensive groceries, who cares what others think.


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