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Did you ever wonder how people know when to stock their pantries and get the best deals?
All grocery stores follow similar sales cycles, that is putting certain types of items on sale at the same time each and every year. These sales cycles hold true for regular grocery stores, as well as the warehouse stores, and even the grocery departments of stores like Target & Walmart.
The following sales cycles are based on my observations over the past few year. Keep an eye out, and stock up when the items you want go on sale!
Items That Tend to Go On Sale: vitamins, weight loss aids like SlimFast & Alli, smoking cessation, cleaning supplies, end of the month – soda, chips, salsa, dips, pepperoni, wings, frozen appetizers all in time for football parties
January is also ShopRite’s first CanCan sale of the year. All canned goods and pasta are on sale for some of the best prices you will see all year. Take the time to evaluate your pantry, and stock up.
Themes: Football Parties, Valentines Day, Chinese New Year
Items That Tend to Go On Sale: soda, chips, salsa, dips, pepperoni, wings, frozen appetizers, frozen pizza, seafood, chocolate, wine, Chinese ingredients
This year, Ash Wednesday is in mid-February, so you can expect to see the Lenten seafood sales start early in the month. These sales carry over between frozen pre-packaged items like fish sticks, to fresh seafood like shrimp & lobster.
Themes: March is Frozen Foods Month, St Patrick’s Day, Easter, Passover, spring cleaning
Items That Tend to Go On Sale: all frozen foods (great time to own a chest freezer), cabbage, corned beef, brisket, Swiss Cheese, imported cheese & butter (Kerrygold), rye bread, potatoes, ham (many stores offer a free ham when you spend a certain dollar amount), eggs, butter, seafood, gravy, cream cheese, baking supplies, cleaning supplies, paper products, kosher foods, matzo
Grocery stores in communities with large Jewish populations tend to put out specialty coupon books leading up to Passover to include items that the store only carries for this short period of time. Some stores even offer free Matzo with a purchase of a certain dollar amount. This is also when you find Kosher Coke & Dr. Pepper in stores (yellow cap, no corn syrup), as well as kosher versions of Lipton soup mixes, and various rice dishes, bouillon, and seasonings.
Themes: Tax Day, Easter/Spring, Earth Day
Items That Tend to Go On Sale: gardening supplies, seeds, soil, baking items, hams, eggs, eco-friendly products, organic products, allergy relief products
Items That Tend to Go On Sale: flowers, eggs, baking supplies, bakery items, all Mexican ingredients & brands, margarita mix, cards, ribs, burgers & hotdogs, buns, condiments, bbq sauce, charcoal, sunscreen, razors, shaving cream, self tanners, first aide, summer produce, charcoal, lighter fluid, lighters, grills, ball jars, fresh produce, pectin, citric acid
Themes: Father’s Day, Graduation, BBQ
Items That Tend to Go On Sale: All things BBQ related (meats, seafood, BBQ sauce, charcoal, lighters, etc), bakery items, prepared foods for parties (fruit & veg trays), first aid items, bug spray
Themes: Independence Day, Summer
Items That Tend to Go On Sale: condiments, ice cream, popsicles, all things BBQ related, soda, chips, dips, salsa, bug spray, sunscreen, ground beef, buns, hot dogs, cheese
This is usually the Summer CanCan sale at ShopRite. Ten years ago, they made this a semi-annual event. The sale in January is a lot bigger, but you can still get amazing deals in the summer too! Even though most people don’t shop for soup in the summer time, you may want to take advantage of some of the deals so that you are well stocked for when fall arrives.
Themes: End of Summer, Back-to-School
Items That Tend to Go On Sale: juice boxes, single serve snacks, peanut butter, jam/jelly, bottled water, pasta and pasta sauces, last round of BBQ items on sale
Items That Tend to Go On Sale: juice boxes, single serve snacks, peanut butter, jam/jelly, frozen breakfast foods, cheese, cleaning supplies, paper products, home fragrance, game time snacks, frozen pizza
Themes: fall, Halloween, seasonal allergies
Items That Tend to Go On Sale: bagged candy (best deals are early in the month), apples, apple juice/cider, spice wafers, baking supplies, pumpkin, dried fruits, start of cold & flu season, allergy medications
Items That Tend to Go On Sale: sugar, flour, butter, spices, baking mixes, pie filling, pumpkin, apples, cider, sparkling cider, canned goods, soups, pasta, bread, celery, sweet potatoes/yams, cranberries, cranberry sauce, jarred/canned gravy, wine, frozen pies, pie crust, biscuit mixes, peel & pop biscuits/rolls, eggs, turkey (many stores offer a free turkey when you spend a certain amount of money), coffee, tea, batteries, candles, Pyrex, foil, parchment paper
This is one of my favorite times of year to stock the pantry! Wegmans and ShopRite tend to have sugar for $2 or less for a 5lb bag, and 5lbs of All Purpose flour go on sale for as low as 99 cents! Stock up during baking season, and you will be good to go all winter long!
Themes: Christmas & Hanukkah, New Years
Items That Tend to Go On Sale: baking supplies, seafood (for Christmas Eve, especially in Italian communities), frozen appetizers, sparkling wines, premium cuts of meat (lamb chops, prime rib, ham), cooking oil, cold & flu remedies, oranges & grapefruit, bagged candies, candy canes, crackers, soda, egg nog, mixers (seltzer, tonic, grenadine, etc), batteries, photo deals
Saving While Stocking Up
Even though some items go on bigger sales at certain times of the year, doesn’t mean you can’t find great deals on them when you run out at other times of the year. The idea is to know when these items will be at their rock-bottom prices and stock up as much as you can then.
Most store sales on their general inventory follow an 8-12 week rotation. For example, your favorite brand of salad dressing is on sale now, you don’t need a year’s supply, just enough to get you through until the next time it will be on sale in about 2-3 months.
Once a month, there is a P&G Brandsaver in the Sunday newspaper. During that week, most stores have P&G products on sale (Bounty, Pantene, Old Spice, Iams, Pampers, etc).
The same holds true when Pepsi Co/Frito Lay put out their coupon circulars (usually just before SuperBowl & Independence Day). The stores put those items on sale to coincide with the coupons coming out, and that’s when you can find some of your best deals.
Items like toothpaste, paper products, detergent, cleaning supplies and health & beauty aides tend to be on sale each and every week. Depending on the brand that you prefer, you may only have to wait a few weeks before the items come up on sale again, so you can build a pantry without going overboard and clearing shelves (which we strongly discourage).
Want to get the most bang for your buck during your weekly grocery trips? Stack sale prices with coupons! Print out exactly what you need, and use it when the items are on sale to save BIG!