.

Overstock and Leftover T.I.P.$.

What you can do with reduced and discounted items.

Next time you are at your local grocery store make sure to take a good look at the discounted items that may be overlooked.

In the bakery section you will notice that they have a section that says something like, “Oops We Over Baked!” where you'll find rolls, bread, donuts, muffins, cookies and more to choose from. This is not where you would buy them for a gathering or function, but more for personal use.

You can bring most of these back to life by dipping them in water and baking at 370 degrees for a few minutes. Let it be your secret since no one would ever know the difference. Just don’t tell your grandmother.

Here are some smart ways to use over baked or stale bread:

  • croutons
  • poultry stuffing
  • bread crumbs
  • bread pudding
  • French toast
  • or simply to feed the birds.

For over baked rolls—spread them with butter, cinnamon and sugar and put them under the broiler for a few minutes for a cheap dessert.

Giant Foods on Baltimore Annapolis Boulevard had a rack of discounted summer toys for 50 cents. That is one heck of a bargain.

Here are ideas on how to use them since summer is almost over:

  • bathtub toys
  • goodie bags at birthday parties
  • prizes to win for contests
  • stocking stuffers
  • or just a special treat for behaving.

Shoppers and have carts filled with reduced items in their store. You may have to dig, but there are bargains to be found. I saw green tea bags marked for $1 less than the normal price. Make sure you check expiration dates, but there is something for everyone if you look hard enough.

Look for businesses closing down and find overstock clearance products at cheap prices. Don’t forget to check out the Halloween stores after the event. You can always store decorations and costumes away for next year with a 50-75 percent savings.

Don’t underestimate stores like the . I recently purchased a large soup spoon, pizza cutter and a sturdy pair of scissors from Betty Crocker that were packaged with recipes on them for $1 each. They are the best utensils I have in my kitchen to date. Get a pot or a bowl and fill with these gadgets for a nice housewarming gift.

The holidays are fast approaching and if you shop smart you will be ahead of the game. Keep these money-saving tips and ideas in mind and you will be glad you did.

Most people take the easy way out by purchasing a gift card since it saves them a lot of time and takes the guess work out of what to buy. But planning ahead and making time for bargain hunting can be fun and creative while making a gift all the more special by personalizing it to the individual.

The time is now to make your list and check it twice.

Sylvia Mentecki September 26, 2011 at 01:19 PM
Great Idea's Gloria...thanks for the hints on the bread.you can also pick up a few extra things to drop off in food colllection sites like NEON ( as long as you double check those dates!)
Gloria Dietz September 26, 2011 at 01:54 PM
Thanks Sylvia... I never heard of NEON - I guess you do learn something new everyday.
Maya T. Prabhu September 26, 2011 at 02:25 PM
Sylvia, I think you're referring to NCEON—North County Emergency Outreach Network? http://www.nceon.org/ It's a local nonprofit that distributes food and other assistance to those in need in northern Anne Arundel County.

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