Are you so wealthy you don’t need to save a buck when you can? I didn’t think so. The biggest increase in prices in recent months has been groceries so let’s see what we can do to spend less and get more.
Grocery sales are the time to stock up on essentials and items your family uses a lot of, and your success depends on knowing when an item is at its rock-bottom price. That’s when you purchase enough of that item to last until it goes on sale again. If your store cooperates with you, use your coupons while an item is on sale and save even more. Fifty cents off BBQ sauce that’s on sale for a buck, is better than fifty cents off at two or three dollars per bottle.
Sale items are often timed to coincide with consumer demand, for example, if turkey is going on sale it’s generally going to be in November when Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming up. BBQ sauce may be at its lowest just before July 4th for summer cookouts and …..well, you get my drift.
Some items are not only on sale, but widely available at such a time when they might not be at others. Enormous quantities of dried peas and smoked hog jowl will be at their cheapest a week or so before Christmas, and once they’re gone they may be gone till the next December. Summer green beans, collards, kale, cabbage, etc. just aren’t the same without some diced and browned smoked jowl.
In January don’t forget National Oatmeal Month and put back enough for your morning porridge and a few batches of oatmeal raisin cookies.
February is national canned food month – all together now, class, what should we be stockpiling in February? Following national canned food month comes frozen food month. How about some frozen corn, beans, soup mix or chicken tenders?
Ham is usually the big sale item before Easter. This year’s deal was Smithfield hams for 99 cents per lb. at Winn Dixie. Ham and Navy bean soup can’t be beat.
I had hoped to see eggs on sale for dying, but that didn’t happen this year. If it had, there would be quarts of pickled eggs in my pantry.
Prior to Memorial Day meats for the grill, condiments like that BBQ sauce, and maybe chips should be cheap enough to entice you into the store, and the nice air conditioning will make you comfortable enough to stay long enough to buy lots of other non-sale items. Charcoal will probably be priced lower than usual to go with the cheaper ground beef and wieners.
June is National Dairy Month – not sure what you may do with 10 gallons of milk unless you’re a cheese-maker, but it’s a good time to stock up on butter and either can it or freeze it. Until it’s opened and exposed to the dry air in the freezer ice cream keeps pretty well, and well, it IS dairy. Yogurt, cream cheese, whipping cream and the like also deserve your attention.
National Ice Cream Month takes place in July so if you didn’t already do so, load that buggy up. You might want to restock hotdogs, ground beef, buns, etc.
If you have little ones underfoot send them off to school with snacks, lunchables, and pudding cups you scored big with at the cash register and don’t forget the frozen waffles. It might be a good time to buy liquid soap, Kleenex, hand sanitizer, etc.
October’s big deal is often candy or maybe baking items, or hit one of those pick-your-own pumpkin patches and process your own pumpkin for pies, muffins, breads, and other baked goods. Roast your pumpkin in the oven instead of watering it down in a pot and those pies will be spectacular.
In November, sweet potatoes will probably be at their lowest price of the year. You may want to can some for candied sweet potatoes, or sweet potato casserole. Sweet potato bread wouldn’t be amiss either. Try to stockpile broths, nuts, evaporated or sweetened condensed milk, coconut, cake mix, butter, etc. while the price is dropped down low enough to pull you into the store. Pop a couple of turkeys in the freezer and smoke them as you get a craving for BBQ.
December may see an extension of the turkey sale season or you may see those hams marked down again. Baking items will be spilling out into the center aisle of the grocery store and that’s the time to stock up on dried candied fruit if you have a need for it. Personally, after the cherries you can have most of the rest of it, except maybe pineapple.
You may as well check out prices on instant potatoes, gravy mixes, cranberry sauce, poultry seasoning, etc. for long term storage. If you’re going to drag out the mylar bags and oxygen absorbers for storing oatmeal in January, you may as well do instant potatoes along with the oatmeal. You won’t find chicken broth for less than it will be in December – sometimes 3 for a $1.00 at the dollar store and it doesn’t matter what kind of store your sale items come from so long as they’re something you’ll use.
Let’s repeat all together: If possible, use coupons when an item is on sale to maximize savings. Buy in bulk when possible to last until the next seasonal sale. Get the freezer defrosted before frozen foods are the big interest item, and if you have a canner get those jars washed up to use for the summer pick-your-own veggies and fruits. Now, take a deep breath and go shop like you mean business.