The following is a guest post courtesy of My Kansas Life. Heather is a lawyer-turned-housewife who blogs about frugal, simple living and small town life at My Kansas Life. 

What do stores do when they have too much of a product on hand? Clearance it, of course! At Kroger stores, clearance items are called Manager’s Specials, and they can be an excellent way to maximize your savings.

Products may go on Manager’s Special for several reasons, depending on the product and the store. For example, dairy products and bakery items on Manager’s Special are typically discounted because they are close to their expiration date. Other products might be discounted because the package is damaged. In smaller stores, items might go on Manager’s Special because the store doesn’t have room to store their overstock or because the items simply aren’t selling fast enough. Recently, my store placed several dozen bags of Nestle white chocolate chips on Manager’s Special because they simply hadn’t sold as expected during the season and the store doesn’t have enough space to store them.

For couponers, Manager’s Specials can mean huge savings — yes, you can use coupons on Manager’s Special items! I do it all the time and I’ve never had trouble using a coupon on a Manager’s Special item. Usually, coupons don’t even beep for these items since the bar codes on the Manager’s Special stickers still allow the product to ring up as the correct item for the coupon. Occasionally, the coupon will beep and the cashier has to approve it.

You can even use coupon apps like Ibotta on Manager’s Special items. For example, if you find a box of Cheerios on Manager’s Special for $1.49, you can use a $.50/1 coupon for the Cheerios, which will make the box only $.49 if your store doubles coupons. If you have an Ibotta offer for $.50 off a box of Cheerios, you can use that, too, making the Cheerios free. However, you’ll probably need to scan the product’s normal bar code for your Ibotta offer instead of the yellow and orange Manager’s Special sticker.

Digital coupons may or may not work on a Manager’s Special item, depending on how the Manager’s Special sticker is coded. When I have a digital coupon that may work for a Manager’s Special item, I decide before I even get to the register whether I still want that product if the digital coupon doesn’t work. If I want it either way, I just let the cashier scan it and check the receipt later to see if the digital coupon came off. But, if I only want the item if the digital coupon comes off, I have the cashier scan it before he scans any of my other groceries so I can see instantly whether the coupon will come off. If it doesn’t, it’s a simple matter for the cashier to reverse the purchase.

Manager’s Special items also count toward your item total during a mega event! Mega events, like those that deduct $5.00 when you buy 10 participating items, include dozens of products around the store, and they include Manager’s Special items when that product would have counted toward your mega event total if it was priced normally. For example, Fiber Choice brownies were included in the most recent mega event, but I found a box of them on Manager’s Special for $1.49. I bought nine other participating items so my store deducted $.50 per item ($5.00 total), which brought the price of the brownies to $.99. I also had a $.40/1 coupon that doubled to $.80 off. With the Manager’s Special price, mega event discount and coupon, the box of brownies only cost me $.19!

Since Manager’s Specials are based primarily on expiration dates, damaged packaging or overstocks, selection varies widely between stores. That’s why you won’t see Manager’s Specials in most coupon matchups like those here at Kroger Krazy. However, Kroger stores also put things on closeout, and Kroger closeouts tend to be nationwide — at least for the stores who carry that item — though the prices may vary. A product is usually placed on closeout when Kroger decides to discontinue it, such as a particular flavor of cookie or a certain scent of shampoo. Closeout items do not relocate to another area of the store. Instead, they are marked on the shelf with a large white and red sign. Closeout items literally change the price in the store’s computer so you should have no trouble using paper coupons and digital coupons on these products or including them in your mega event totals.

Manager’s Special items may be located in an out-of-the way place like a shelf near the stock room or a bottom row of a freezer case, but they’re worth hunting for! Dairy and produce Manager’s Specials may be located in the same place as the non-discounted items or they may be in a corner of the dairy case or produce section. I recommend making it a habit to locate your store’s Manager’s Special areas and shop there first before grabbing your other groceries. In the last few months, I’ve found awesome Manager’s Special deals at my store on eggs, carrots, salad, milk, sour cream, meats, cereal, baby formula, bread and yogurt. You never know what kinds of great deals you can find!

Leave a Comment



December 1, 202106:59 am

New management at local Kroger store unilaterally implemented a policy in early June of 2021 that prohibited returns of all markdown items. The store made Kroger shoppers aware of the policy change with a hastily constructed, rudely composed and condescendingly worded paper sign taped to the markdown shelves. A copy of the sign later made its way to the store's Guest Services counter. The draconian store policy seems to run counter to Kroger Corporation's mission statement and Kroger satisfaction guarantee. About 6 months later, another Kroger store, two miles away from the first store's location, adopted the same policy. The second Kroger store displayed a curiously similar sign that is nearly identical to the one at its sister store except for the word spacing, color of paper and additional, obnoxiously blaring exclamation points.

Alva Noonan

June 8, 202107:06 pm

When do things go on close out? Is it a certain day of the week or what. I see the signs close out but the place on shelf is always empty. What do others know that I don't? Could it just be happenstance and my timing is WAY off. It's been happening to me for years.


January 26, 202001:55 pm

What if people buy without checking date .fish chicken could be bad real quick.should be expiration sale.


January 8, 202001:03 pm

Coupons aren't always accepted on Kroger Manager Specials. It is up to each store manager as to whether or not they'll accept coupons for Manager Special items. I have 5 Kroger stores within a 15 minute radius of me and only 1 of them accepts coupons on Manager Special items.

Anne Sautter

March 30, 201904:49 pm

Be careful with managers special. A few days ago I bought a Cruise art blender on a managers special for over $50. There also had other small appliances that cost more. After opening the box I realized the glass pitcher was much to heavy for my mother-in-law for who it was intended. I just tried to return it and was told managers specials are final sale, no returns. When I complained that isn't posted anywhere or even on the receipt, I was told they fon't have to. I think high priced, non food items should be.


May 11, 201511:31 pm

The Kroger near me is always out of stock of everything. Especially any sale items. I can't even find soda when it's on sale. I rarely see manager specials there either. I have to go to what the locals call the "Gucci" Kroger 20 minutes away or so. Totally not use to this in Texas! Here in WV, it's pretty bad!


May 9, 201709:19 am

I read Gucci and I immediately thought of Ashton place Kroger, being from Chicago WV is grocery hell lol.


November 5, 201407:35 pm

My husband and I LIVE on Kroger Manager's Specials in the meat dept. Incredible savings! If we find a great deal, just repackage (ideally, with a food saver) at home and stock the freezer! We've saved hundreds!


August 29, 201401:35 pm

They had great manager's specials at our nearest Kroger, just about a mile away from us. On March 15, 2014, they shut down and are rebuilding a bigger store. We have to take the shuttle to a bigger one 3 or 4 miles away! They have good deals, too, just not as often as "ours". We would find bread there for 5-10 cents a loaf! They won't be able to do that when they reopen because they will have to pay for that bigger store. I heard that they have to do that every so often for tax purposes. Wow, that makes me and everyone else feel better! :( The first time was in 1976. The next was in 1999.


August 4, 201411:55 pm

Bear naked bars .69 each close out pair with .70/1 is free


January 15, 201412:06 pm

Use caution in using the Manager's Specials on meat. Some things look really off and smell bad. It's not worth a trip to the emergency room just to save a few bucks on some steak or chicken!


January 14, 201406:53 pm

In my area in southeast michigan you can not use coupons on manager specials which is kinda weird. If they let us use coupons their stock would move faster.


October 19, 201404:59 pm

mine here in B.G, ky wont let me use my coupons on it either. they use to and then one day changed it. it stinks.

bran font

May 30, 201301:56 am

Arrrgh. I think the not being able to use a coupon is ridiculous..... went to my louisiana kroger other day and used a coupon on man special item woth no problem. Today they tell me they wouldnt accept my formula coupon on clearanced formula. I think its absurd bc they still will get paid from the manufacturer.


May 27, 201302:02 pm

Excellent write up, thanks for helping us understand the savings process a little more!


February 11, 201309:26 pm

*caution* Manager special items do not trigger the mega event savings in my region I had some issues with the Wholly Salsa on one of my trips and ended up not getting the .50off per item, I am in the Northwest


January 14, 201409:03 pm

Hi... I have had some issues with this too but just went to customer service and they corrected the issue. Try that next time to see if they can handle it.


February 11, 201308:28 pm

I shop at 2 different Krogers and have had issues with using coupons on Manager Specials. I have asked managers about that and some say its not a problem, just need an override....but the cashiers get nasty sometimes. I have gotten so much free guacamole and yogurt this year, its crazy. I go to the Manager Special area last because its my favorite! :)


February 11, 201306:10 pm

The Polaris, Columbus Ohio store's policy is not to take a coupon when there is an orange managers special sticker on the product. I have had the cashier still take the coupons in the past, but the last time, I was told of the policy. Please be a responsible couponer and check with your customer service desk.


February 11, 201303:46 pm

I love manager specials on meats! If i'm not using it that day I just toss it in the freezer and use it later in the week or the following.


January 14, 201406:24 pm

I do the same thing!. I think most of the meat we eat is from manager specials. I always look for the angus beef or organic beef. When I find it I grab a few of them and what we don't use up in a day or two goes in the freezer. Huge money saver!


February 11, 201302:25 pm

The only problem I have ever had with the managers special and coupons is trying to use a Kroger coupon. They will not let me use them in that situation. A good example is salad or other produce. I have had salad marked to .99 and a .50 Kroger (mailed to my home) coupon and they would not take it.


February 11, 201302:01 pm

Be sure to check expiration dates on everything before you buy it!! I almost bought Mayo on MS and looked at the date. It was in 2010. Yuck!


February 11, 201301:49 pm

Can't use coupons on Managers Specials in Dallas area Krogers. They have signs posted all over the registers. :(


February 11, 201301:43 pm

LOVE the manager's specials. I've found some GREAT deals. One of my favorite finds are when the really big bag of dog food gets damaged and they mark it down to half price. I always also check out the meat section. Even with a date close to expiration, it's fine for dinner tonight or if you want to freeze. I've gotten good deals on things like shampoo, deodorant, and all kinds of things that are perfectly good. Thanks for the reminder to be on the look out for these deals!