There are several different types of sales cycles that can be charted to figure out when the price of a product is at its lowest. By knowing what sales may be coming, you can save certain coupons for those sales and get even lower prices. First you need to know there are seasonal sales cycles, repetitive sales cycles, product life sales cycles.
Just like how fruits and veggies are less expensive when they are “in season,” other grocery items also have seasons in which the cost is lower. Stock up during the right season and you won’t have to buy during the off season’s higher pricing cycle. Winter Months: Look for sales on canned goods especially soups & tuna as well as frozen foods. Larger cuts of meat such as roasts may be in sale. Cheese will also be on sale as will various Mac N Cheese products. Laundry Soap is at it's lowest prices as it coordinated with White Sales. January: Look for sales on diet foods, low calorie items and exercise items.
Mid February – Look for cheap valentines candy AFTER Feb 14. Plus you can find great candles on clearance after the St. Valentines Day.
Before Easter: Look for sales on ham and turkey as well as holiday candy and toys! Dry Pasta also goes on sale. Springtime: Spring Cleanings means sales on cleaning products! Time to stock up! April – Strawberries are in season in Texas! Also look for sales on paper products such as toilet paper and paper towels. Pre-Memorial Day: Look for sales on bug/mosquito repellant, grilling salts and charcoal. Hamburgers, Hot Dogs and Brats will go on sale. Condiment prices for items such as BBQ sauces, marinates, mustard and ketchup are lower. Lemonade and powdered drink mixes like Crystal Lite and Kool Aid also go on sale. Also cheaper: pool items, sunscreen, squirt guns, bubbles and sidewalk chalk. The price of ice cream skyrockets during the first part of summer so this is your last chance at cheap ice cream for a while! Pre-Hurricane Sales – If you live in the gulf coast, look for savings on items like water, batteries, tuna and spam before hurricane season officially begins June 1. Once shown on radar in the gulf, the prices will start to rise faster than Channel 11’s predictions in Houston! End of May/First Part of June – Sports Drinks go on sale so get your coupons ready for items like Gatorade, Vitamin Water, SoBe and Propel Fitness Water. Even all the soft drinks at McDonalds are now just a buck for the rest of the summer. August/Pre-Labor Day – Office Supplies/School Supplies!! Take advantage of back to school with getting your office pens, pads, papers at really cheap prices! If you have an office supply savings card, you can really rack up some good deals, sometimes mere pennies, depending on the store. Check out the 3M site for coupon savings on products like tape, post its, scissors and more. Start looking for summer clearance items as fall items start to hit the shelves. October – Halloween candy sales. Soup and Pasta Sauces start to go on sale. November – Holiday Sales begin. Black Friday sales on the day after Thanksgiving. Toys/Electronics are big sellers. Baking Goods (Corn Starch, Karo Syrup, Chocolate Chips, Quick Bread Mixes, Sugar) on sale. You can pick up some really cheap canned vegetables in November. Stock up on them during this time period. Turkey/Ham deals abound at the grocery store. Try buying nuts and holiday spices including cinnamon through the self service bulk/natural food section for even more savings.
Repetitive Sales Cycles
While some items do go through seasonal sales cycles, most items go through much more repetitive sales cycles at certain stores. Getting to know your local stores sales cycles is one way to get ahead of the curve and stock up on amounts that will get your family through to the next sales cycle. Extreme couponers are often known by their outrageously large stockpiles while serious couponers do stockpile but we know we don’t have to have EVERY single item on the shelf like it’s the end of the world. This is because we know we can get more within the next three months. Depending on the item, its sales cycle could even be as few as six weeks. By being a loyal shopper at Walgreens, I know that every three months, Lindsay Olives are going to be on sale with a store coupon; green and black, limit 3. I dig olives! So every three months, I buy 2 jars of green and a can of black or two cans of black and a jar of green. I can eat as many olives as I want all year round and then have plenty for holiday dinners and relish plates during the holidays! If I find any Lindsay Olive coupons, you can bet I’ll save it to stack with the store coupon for even greater savings during that sales cycle. I also know that every three months the Walgreens brand of paper plates, Kleenex tissues and Puffs tissues will be on sale with a store coupon from the Sunday circular. I can stack manufacturer’s coupons with the store coupon for the tissues to add to my savings. I buy the limit of three and that lasts my family until the next quarter. I also shop regularly at one grocery store so I know that about every six weeks, the store will have some sort of mega sale that will last for two weeks. This is when I stock up on items. The rest of the time I buy only what I can get extremely cheap or free since I have now built up a pretty good stockpile and do not need anything. Proctor & Gamble releases an entire insert of coupons for just their products every 6-8 weeks and retail stores want to vie for your money by getting you in their store to use those coupons. Every P&G insert so far this year has included a $4 coupon for Gillette Fusion Shavers… the fancy one with the batteries. My dad loves these. The replacement blades can run around $14 a pop! I know that Walgreens will have a really sweet deal on these razors sometime during the coupon’s life (before its expiration date) where they will offer these razors on sale for just $9.99 with a register reward of $5 to use on my next purchase. So every sales cycle, I take my $4 off coupon to my local Wags and buy the razor (and a new battery even comes with it) for $5.99 out of pocket. I also walk away with a $5 register reward that I can use on a future visit. I cannot use it to buy another razor by the way the Wags register rewards work but I can use it to pay for my Lindsay Olives and/or my paper plates! Basically, I just bought a Gillette Fusion razor with battery for 99 cents! And I know this is a sale cycle that will happen every few weeks. My dad is going to have so many razors for Christmas! He won’t need to buy those expensive replacement blades next year!
Find out which fruits and vegetables are in season in your area by clicking here.
Life of a Product Sales Cycle
Often when there is a new product out, high dollar coupons are released to entice you to buy the product. Do not run right out and get that product. Watch the sales papers and the products will go on a sale when the product is in enough markets. Then use that high dollar coupon. If the product is going through some sort of improvement or repackaging, look for the product to go on clearance or close out. This allows the retailer to get rid of stock cheaply to make way for the new improved version of the product. Get to know your local store’s close out tags so you can easily recognize these unadvertised sales. Take advantage of close out prices by using coupons when items to increase your savings. When the new improved product is unveiled again, expect more good coupons and at least one good sale on the products soon after. Rinse, Repeat! Here’s a few examples… Scott Paper Products recently unveiled a line of natural earth conscious paper products including paper towels and toilet paper. Coupons for $2 off and $1.50 off started hitting online. A couple of weeks later, so did the sales. I ended up getting a slew of paper towels for less than 50 cents a roll. At the same time, one of the napkin companies decided they wants to change the print on their napkins so the current stock was close out priced at just 87 cents a package. These were double stack packages! I had some 25 cents off coupons which at that time were tripled to 75 cents off. So each package of napkins costs me just 12 cents! I bought six and my mom bought a couple. I don’t think we spent a buck between us on that deal! Crayola has some great coloring products out there that follow the theme of well known children’s movies. You can color Disney princesses or one of the many stars of those wonderful Pixar movies. When a new movie comes out to a big fanfare then the older one will go on closeout or into a clearance bin.
For example, as I am writing this there is a new Cars movie getting ready to come out. There are going to be a multitude of product tie in out there for this movie. The last really big Pixar movie was Toy Story 3. As my grocery store prepared to receive stock of the new Cars merchandise, all the Crayola Wonder items for Toy Story 3 and the Disney Princesses went into a clearance bin. The items that were formerly marked at $9.99 were now marked $1.49 and $2.49. Around Easter, Crayola has released some coupons for these products. I ended up with one of each for a little over a buck when you include tax!
Clearance bins are often located in a back corner of a store or out of the way place at most store. If you have a coupon binder, this is a great place to browse and see if you have a coupon to match on any good deals you see. If you wait, you may not see that item again at that clearance price. There are usually a clearance area for meats as well that have been put on Manager's Special. These are meats that have been reduced for quick sale. Because the products are nearing their sale expiration date, these meats must be eaten soon or frozen soon. Dairy products on Manager's Special can also be found usually in the case with the rest of the dairy products. Look for brightly colored mark down tags on the product. Milk, Butter and some yogurts can be frozen easily. However, I haven't had the same luck with sour cream and sour cream based dips. Usually after every holiday, I can find Manager's Specials on ready to bake cookies in reference to the recent holiday. These cookies can be frozen for up to six months. My son doesn't care if they have red chocolate chips from Valentines Day or have a bunny on them from Easter. Save your coupons for ready to bake cookies and you can pick these up for next to nothing!