Strategic Shopping: A Month-by-Month Analysis

 Strategic Shopping: A Month by Month Analysis

by Gayle from Gainesville

Shop2 tnb 281x300 Strategic Shopping: A Month by Month Analysis

How do you save money?

Have you ever wished you could know ahead of time when things were going to go on sale? Sure, we all know that turkeys go on sale before Thanksgiving and hams go on sale before Christmas, but what about the rest of the year?

Well, believe it or not, this information is not that difficult to obtain. Each advertising collective has its own month—e.g., January is National Beef Month. The National Cattleman’s Beef Association has chosen the month of January to promote eating beef. That means you can expect excellent sales on steak and ground beef in January.

Use the following list to help plan out your food storage purchases for the year. For instance, if you know that June is National Dairy Month, then you know that products such as butter will be at their rock bottom prices of during the month of June. Plan on purchasing butter twice a year, once in June and again in November. In November, the baking sales get into full swing. (Butter stores well in the freezer.)

What months are good for stocking breakfast foods? Well, January is National Oatmeal Month. So you can expect to see some good sales on oatmeal. But February is the best month for stocking up on breakfast foods; February is National Hot Breakfast Month. September is also a good month for stocking breakfast foods, as September is National Better Breakfast Food Month. So you best bet is to buy breakfast items in January/February and again in September.

By knowing what goes on sale when, you can save a lot of money at the grocery store. And that frees up money to spend on other essential preps.

January

  • After Christmas Sales
  • National Oatmeal Month
  • National Beef Month
  • National Meat Month
  • National Tea Month
  • National Soup Month
  • Super Bowl

January is a good month to purchase winter clothes. You can catch sweaters and other cold weather gear as much as 70 percent off. You can also pick up Christmas wrap, bows and ribbon.

January is National Oatmeal Month. You can expect to find oatmeal BOGO (Buy One Get One free). It’s a good idea to buy year’s supply of oatmeal in January (or February for National Hot Breakfast Month). If you under calculate how much oatmeal your family will eat, don’t worry. Oatmeal will go on sale again in September for National Better Breakfast Month.

January is also the month to stock up on tea and canned soups. You can usually find these deeply discounted.

Keep an eye on the meat sales. If you have a pressure canner, set aside some time to put up meat.

January also brings Super Bowl sales. You can expect excellent prices on chips, salsa, soda and snacks.

February

  • National Canned Food Month
  • National Hot Breakfast Month
  • National Snack Food Month
  • National Cherry Month
  • National Potato Lover’s Month
  • Sweet Potato Month
  • Celebration of Chocolate Month
  • Valentines Day Sales
  • Chinese New Year

Plan on purchasing breakfast foods like pancake mix and maple syrup in February. You can usually pick these up BOGO.

February is also a good month to restock your canned foods and boxed potatoes. You won’t likely see sales on canned foods and boxed potatoes again until November. So plan accordingly.

The Chinese New Year is celebrated in February. Promotions include soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, noodles and stir fry ingredients such as bamboo shoots and water chestnuts.

If you have a sweet tooth then you have probably already finished off your Christmas candy. Replenish your stock after Valentines Day. You can usually pick up chocolate and other candies for up to 70 percent off.

March

  • St. Patrick’s Day
  • National Red Cross Month
  • National Noodle Month
  • National Frozen Food Month
  • National Peanut Month
  • National Peanut Butter Lover’s Month
  • National Celery Month
  • National Flour Month
  • Spring Cleaning

March is National Red Cross Month. If you have not already done so, March is a good time to sign up for a CPR/First-Aid Class. You can also expect to see some excellent sales on first-aid kits and other items. You can usually pick up band-aids at half price.

St. Patrick’s Day is in March so expect the best price of the year on corned beef. I plan on getting a couple extra and canning them.

March is also National Noodle Month—you can pick up all kinds of noodles BOGO. Frozen foods are also on sale.

Typically, March is an excellent month to purchase peanut butter. But given the bad peanut harvest in 2011, we may not see really good peanut butter sales until the back to school sales hit in August (and that’s if we have a mild winter in the South, and farmers can plant early).

March is also National Celery Month. I buy a dozen or so, chop them up and freeze them. (I can usually find them BOGO in March and then again in November.)

Flour goes on sale in March. Pick up enough to last you until the holiday baking sales kick into full swing in November.

In March, the worst of the winter is usually over and folks start thinking about spring cleaning. Expect to see all kind of cleaning products on sale.

April

  • Easter
  • Daylight Savings Time

There are not very many good grocery sales in April—think self-denial. No body wants to advertise indulgence during Lent.

There are some good non-grocery items on sale in April. Daylight Savings Time brings sales on batteries, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide monitors.

You can pick up hams half price, on sale for Easter dinner. Pick up a few because hams tend not to go on sale very often. April and December are the two months when you can find half price ham. So make sure you buy enough to last you through Christmas.

May

  • Memorial Day Sales
  • National Barbeque Month
  • National Hamburger Month
  • National Salsa Month
  • National Strawberry Month
  • National Salad Month

This is a great month to stock up on condiments. You will find mayonnaise, catsup, mustard, barbeque sauce, steak sauce, and other such products on sale BOGO. Newspaper inserts start running coupons for these products in April. Hold on to your coupons, and use them for the BOGO sale. (Most stores will let you use two coupons when buying BOGO items.)

If you miss a sale, don’t worry. Such items will go on sale again during the next two months. But do note that the sales on barbeque and picnic items are typically better in May than in June or July.

If you purchase pre-made hamburger patties, May is the month to stock up on them. You can usually find sales up to 40 percent off.

May is the best time to make strawberry this and that. Next year, I want to put up some strawberry jam.

Keep an eye out for picnic items such as paper plates and plastic utensils. Around the summer holidays, you can usually pick these up for half price.

June

  • National Dairy Month
  • National Iced Tea Month
  • National Seafood Month
  • Adopt-a-Cat Month

We are now half way through the year, and the stores of butter you put in your freezer from last Thanksgiving are running low. Count of some excellent sales on butter and other dairy products. Buy enough to last until November.

July

  • Fourth of July
  • National Hot Dog Month
  • National Baked Bean Month
  • National July Belongs to Blueberries Month

This is the best month to put up blueberries. I love blueberry jam and plan to put up at least 36 pints, more if the economy hasn’t complexly collapsed.

July is also the month to buy a year’s supply of hot dogs. At this time of the year, you can print off or clip coupons for $1 off Ballpark Franks. Use these coupons when Ballpark is BOGO, and you’ve just paid 75 cents for a package of hotdogs.

This is also the time of year to restock your year supply of baked beans. You can find all of the various brands on sale BOGO.

August

  • Back to School Sales
  • National Peach Month
  • National Coffee Month

The back to school sales are usually pretty good. You can pick up products such as peanut butter, lunch meat, drink boxes and the like for half price. Ziplock bags usually go on sale too. And you can find all kinds of coupons for $1.

Hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes also go on sale in August. Keep an eye on the coupon inserts and match up BOGO sales with coupons.

August is the time of year to put up peaches and peach jam. I would like to make some peach syrup. That just sounds awesome over pancakes.

You can also find coffee at it’s lowest prices of the year. My family likes Chock Full of Nuts which has been running about $12.99 for the large can. In August, I can find this brand for $6.99. Think “one year supply” here.

Summer items begin to go on clearance. Keep an eye out for charcoal, lighter fluid, paper plates and plastic utensils, sunscreen and insect repellant.

September

  • Labor Day
  • National Chicken Month
  • National Honey Month
  • National Better Breakfast Month
  • National Mushroom Month
  • National Rice Month
  • National Preparedness Month

Labor Day marks the last of the summer barbeque sales. Make sure you have a year’s supply of hotdogs, catsup, mustard and the rest because such items rarely go on sale in fall and winter.

The best sales in the month of September are breakfast foods. You can find oatmeal, pancake mix, syrup, bacon, sausage, and other breakfast foods at rock bottom prices.

In September, I bring my supply of honey up to one-year levels. For the rest of the year, honey sales are hit and miss. The cheap made in China honey goes on sale frequently. The good stuff goes on sale in September.

Also, keep an eye out for summer clearance sales, especially on clothes. I live in Florida and wear summer clothes for at least 10 months out of the year. So I purchase summer clothes on clearance, and either give them as Christmas gifts or save them for next year. Check out online sites such as eddiebauer.com or llbean.com for 70 percent off sales. You can pick up high quality clothing at rock bottom prices.

October

  • Halloween
  • National Apple Month
  • National Tomato Month
  • National Pasta Month
  • National Dessert Month
  • National Seafood Month
  • National Pork Month
  • National Eat Country Ham Month
  • National Chili Month
  • Adopt-a-Dog Month

In October, all things apple go on sale—applesauce, apple juice, etc. This is the idea month to put up apple pie filling, apple butter and chutneys.

October is National Pasta Month. This is not that big of a deal, as pasta goes on sale frequently.

October is also National Tomato Month. Canned tomatoes and pasta sauce will also go on sale, as will ravioli and other such foods.

If you purchase canned chili, it usually goes on sale BOGO in October. And, of course, don’t forget about the candy sales.

October is also Adopt-a-Dog Month and dog food manufacturers have some good sales on dog food, especially Pedigree.

November

  • Thanksgiving Sales

Save your money because in November you will find the best deals of the year on groceries. Baking goods such as butter, sugar, flour, chocolate chips, etc. go on sale.

The week of Thanksgiving is the best sales week of the year. Stores offer deep discounts to get you in the door. Shop carefully. The loss leaders are excellent. But keep a keen eye on prices because regular items are often marked up significantly.

Cool weather has begun in most of the United States. Expect sales on canned soups, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate.

December

  • Christmas Sales

The holiday sales will continue through Christmas and New Years. I like to pick up several hams. I slice some into ham steaks and dice some as well. And then throw them in the freezer. This is also a good time to can ham. Make sure you buy enough to last you through Easter, as hams don’t go on sale that frequently.

Other items for Christmas dinner will be on sale as well—potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, cornbread dressing, etc.

Comments

  1. Excellent post. Nothing beats preparing AND getting a deal. I plan to print this off and attach to the calendar to remind me of the sales.

    Will be linking to this on our site. Thanks.

  2. templar knight says:

    I printed this one up, Gayle. It’s one of the best overall pieces of info I’ve ever seen on a prepper’s blog for everyday shopping. You’re a one-woman informational dynamo. We are fortunate to have you in the Wolfpack, and thank you for your hard work.

    • Thanks, T.K. When food prices really started going up last year, I started researching how to save money on our grocery bill.

  3. Gayle, for some reason, I really cracked up that you included national adopt-a-cat month in the middle of all those food listings. I don’t know why it struck me as so funny, but I snorted.

    • Tigerlily,

      My mom snorts when she laughs really hard. That gets the rest of us going. BTW, cat food goes on sale for adopt-a-cat month. LOL. My dh and I watched The Book of Eli last night and the main character had cat bbq.

      • templar knight says:

        Gayle, I believe it’s in this movie, The Book of Eli. It has one of the best lines ever used in a survival movie:

        “We’re now killing each other over the things we used to throw away.”

        This just might be an accurate statement for our future if things keep going the way they are now.

        • T.K.,

          Yes, I picked up on that one. It’s scary to think people would kill over a little bottle of shampoo. Given the ending, it looks like there is going to be a Book of Eli 2.

        • My favorite from the movie is that I learned that
          Cat oil works just as well as chapstick

          • Echo,

            I hate to think how they make cat oil. One of my cats is curled up with me, purring, right now.

    • Tastes like rabbit.

      • They were stabbing someone to death over a pair of shoes again today. It is a sobering thought to me of just how off track we all are

        • If people will kill over a pair of shoes, what is going to happen when food and water are in short supply?

  4. I had seen a list like this when looking into couponing thinking I would become a coupon diva.
    But this is a little more concise and very printable. Which makes life easier.
    With this list it may work out good for those of us that do not have the energy to coupon or run around like a wild person looking for the bargains.

    • Ellen,

      I don’t use coupons all that much. The main thing is to buy when things are on sale and if you know when the sales will be, you can plan and stock up. I had been saving up grocery money since August for the Thanksgiving week sales. I was able to really stock up this year.

  5. gayle, i’ve probably missed this in your post and sorry if i have. april 7 thru may 7 is national pet month. i know several vet. offices that offer discount neutering and spaying in honor of the holiday.
    thank you for the post (i’ve made a copy and put with the calendar).

  6. Frank Black says:

    Gayle,
    Thanks so much for taking the time to compile and post this data. It’s a perfect example of the kind of valuable information that can help not just preppers, but the community at large.

  7. Thanks Gayle…another execellent article. I’ll be printing this one for future reference and putting it in the book!

  8. Thanks, that’s great info. I’m going to cut out each month’s info and paste it on my online calendar on the first day of each month. I’ll be looking at the comments to see if anyone has more info to share. p.s. I just got a BB gun from chinamart at 50% off, good for pesky strays and teaching kids to shoot.

    • Jumbo,

      LOL. My six-year-old niece got a semi-automatic .22 rifle for Christmas–with a banana clip. We got some great pictures. BTW, the rooster has not been back for five days now. (Five days ago my dog got loose and chased the chicken around the neighborhood. Score: Max 1, Rooster: 0

  9. Kate in GA says:

    Thank you Gayle! I printed this out!

  10. Beef prices tend dip towards the fall. Most farmers don’t want to pay for feed over the winter so they send their cattle to market in the fall.

  11. Chonte' in MD says:

    Gayle…brilliant as always. im printing this one and putting it with my coupons so i know what to pull each month. thanks again!

  12. Gayle,

    This is a wonderful article and so useful regardless of location … urban, suburban or rural. I stopped clipping coupons because most of them now require you to buy 2 and 3 items to get .50 to $1.00 off and that isn’t always in the grocery budget. I can take this list and put it right into my monthly calendar and financially plan ahead.

    • Carol,

      It seems like just in the past four to six months coupons have changed. Now, either you have to buy two, as you say, or the coupon is for something weird.

  13. GAYLE. IS. THE. BOMB.

    Awesome work, Gayle!

  14. Great list. Sending this to my Mother. She isn’t a prepper but she stocks up on stuff like she is. Double so if it is on sale.

  15. Thank you so much Gayle!! My printer is running out of ink because all of the great articles you write. Please keep them coming. I love the exchange of information on prepping and being self sufficient. Most to all of my friends and family don’t partake in the practice of prepping and they actually think I am crazy. It has been so nice this last month since starting my blog and finding a community online that shares my passions. I want to thank everyone on this site and M.D. and anyone else who has made me feel less of a “black sheep” in this world.

  16. SrvivlSally says:

    What?! So that is what all of the “National (this and that)” hullabaloo is about? Thank you for connecting the dots, Gayle! Your article will surely get printed and I am going to tell others about it because they would truly enjoy knowing.

  17. Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

    Gayle, you must have ESP! Just this morning I was trying to remember an earlier comment you made (several months ago) about grocery sales that corresponded to certain months and holidays. Then here you have it all listed by month. WOW!! How cool, and how freaky – you must have been reading my mind. ;)

    MD, can the same person win all three prizes for the writing contest at once? I think Gayle is gonna be the first to win the whole enchilada. And with good reason.

    Printing this out. Thanks, Gayle. Happy New Year!

    • Lint Picker,

      No each prize will go to a different person for a different article. Each post will be judged by a number of factors including; usefulness, number of comments, author interaction in the comments with readers, length of post etc.

  18. Schatzie Ohio says:

    January use to be called the White Sales Month because that is when bedding and bath items would go on sale.

    • February and August used to be the best months for clothing sales as the stores switch from winter to spring/summer and then back to fall/winter later on. When we travelled north, I’d be picking up flannel, woolens, thermals and my cousins would be shopping for shorts and bathing suits in Feb.

  19. Tinfoil Hat says:

    Gayle, I am always amazed with the clear, concise and practical manner in which you always manage to spread your wealth of knowledge on subjects that really do effect the way we both live and prep! Thank you for another great article!

  20. Great post ~ thank you! I’ve been using coupons for years and this is the first time I’ve seen this type of list.
    Now is the time to stock up on Hickory Farm items as well. They are shelf stable and I pick up items now at 1/2 off to carry me through the year. The bulls-eye store has these items at $2.50 right now (made my trip this morning).

  21. Chonte' in MD says:

    off topic a bit. MD can you please repost the link to your amazon affiliate page? I got a couple gift cards for Christmas and would like u to get credit for the sales. maybe you should even add it to the links section on the page. Thanks !

  22. Hunker-Down says:

    Gayle,

    I will use your article all year. I put each month with your comments into our p/c calendar.

    The 10 pound big city Sunday papers are not sold in our area so we have little opportunity to clip coupons. The stingy stores in our area all limit their coupon sales to one per customer, not worth the gas to get to the store.

    YOU ARE A SWEATHEART; the only woman who saves me money!

  23. Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

    Since Sears will be closing 100 stores (Sears & K-Mart stores) in 2012, I wonder if there will be some good sales at the stores that are closing. It may be they’ll offer big discounts in order to eliminate inventory so they don’t have to move it to other stores. Hate to see more closed stores and more layoffs, but we may as well help them reduce their inventory if the price is right.

    • Lint,
      I suspect you’re right about Sears/KMart sales, but also keep in mind that as these stores close they sometimes sell “everything” down to the bare walls. This could include display cases, racks, etc. which could be useful if you’re in the market for such things.

  24. Mama Bear in Fl says:

    Gayle,
    Wonderful article! I had no idea about this National “pick your food” Month. The turkey and ham sales are pretty obvious…like you said.
    I’m saving this piece for future reference and it’s getting my vote in the writing contest.

  25. Excellent article – I sent this to everyone I know. Exactly what I was looking for – thanks!

  26. Great article, Gayle! I am also printing it and putting it into my files. Thank You!

  27. Gayle:
    Great article. Thanks for the info. This gets posted my the calendar!

  28. I found a good one going on right now for anybody that needs more binders to fill up. Staples has a special through 12/31 where you get 100% back on them through a rebate. Each customer can only buy 4 but if you have a couple of friends that you can send the rebates to then you could get more. They also have a special going on anything you can fit into a bag gives you 15% off and you get to keep the bag. You have to go to their website to get the coupon or get it from their flyer, so make sure you take that with you.

    • Mama Bear in Fl says:

      Thanks Tigerlily!
      I have found that I can never have too many binders. And putting the papers in plastic sleeves goes a long way in preserving them too. I don’t exacly have a laminating machine!

  29. Uncle Charlie says:

    Thanks Gayle. I forwarded your list to my ew, son and daughter-in-law. I have to lose 100 pounds this year so I’ll be saving money that way, probably mostly with oatmeal which I will buy next month thanks to you :)

  30. Vienna (Soggy prepper) says:

    Excellent article! I’m printing this one out also and gona stay on top of sales this year. It may be our last “good” year to do it!

    Molonlabe

    • Vienna,

      I fear you may be right. I just cannot wrap my mind around the fact that our nation’s debt is equal to our GDP. At t his point, the only thing I can think of that would help is getting Ron Paul in office and slashing the federal budget and ending foreign aid. But I doubt seriously that will happen.

      • Please look at the total Paul package and dont get hung up on just the government and economic side of the libertarian dwarf. Open borders, legalize drugs, 9-11 truther, some of the demorats he has supported, etc, etc, etc. Real baggage.
        When is mental health month?

        • Ron G.,

          I researched Ron Paul’s position on immigration. He does not support open borders. Here’s what he has to say.

          http://www.ronpaul2012.com/the-issues/immigration/

          • http://conservativetimes.org/?p=8695 Please remember the man is a Libertarian first and formost and His supporters brag about his consistency.

          • Too bad we can’t elect a dual presidency. I agree with Ron Paul on nearly every domestic issue, but pulling all of our troops home from everywhere, becoming isolationists, and allowing Iran to develop nuclear weapons is IMHO a very bad plan. Perhaps we no longer need a real military presence in most of Europe (it’s actually time for them to provide their own defense), but in potential hot spots like Korea, we still need a presence as a counter to a real threat. Although we don’t see it in our news reports here in the US, the Arabs which make up most of the middle east still do not trust the Persians (Iran) and an Iranian nuclear device would not only affect Israel, but would accelerate tensions in the entire region. For the time being at least the world needs the region to continue to export oil, and not export a nuclear terrorism threat.

            • You might find it of interest to know that Between 1990 and 2003, the U.S. Army closed 70 percent of facilities in Europe. Overall, Army troop numbers in Europe have fallen from 213,000 in 1989 to about 42,000 today. This is under plans put together by Bush and Rumsfield. And there is more to come. The plan would remove another one of two Brigades currently assigned to Germany in 2015.

            • Ron,
              I was not aware of that. Thanks for the information. I still think that Europe needs to start standing on it’s own two feet, and maybe this will help.

        • Rather offensive name calling there Ron G. The Wolf Pack don’t play that game. Thanks.

          • My apology to Dennis Kerspinich, Sneezy, Wheezy, Doppy, Dizzy, Sleezy, Doc, Bill Maher, and all the other offended dwarfs every where.

            Might I suggest to all that you dont just listen for what it is that you want to hear. That is afterall how “Hope and Change” worked.

          • I believe in FREEDOM!!! The freedom to choose how I want to live my life. Don’t believe in gay marriage, well then don’t get one! Don’t believe in abortion then don’t get one! Don’t believe in God then don’t go to church!! Like Coke but not Pepsi then don’t drink it!! But I do not believe I have the right to tell anyone else how to live their life any more than they have to tell me about my own!!!!!

            • George,

              The issue is much more complex than this. Do you think grade school teachers should be “free” to read stories about gay marriage to their students? Right now, many school districts require a “multi-cultural” approach to education; they mandate gay marriage and “my daddy is in prison” to make everyone feel included and represented. But they ban pray in school and any talk of creationism.

            • Hunker-Down says:

              Good examples of relativism. It flies against logic. What an ugly thing.

            • George
              We all believe in FREEDOM.
              I do not believe the government should put his fingers in my pie.
              But there are things that have to be controlled.
              The border, for OUR safety.
              ” “, and other ports that drugs come through.
              You are right I cannot stop someone from taking drugs. But the world of drugs is harmful and to everyone. It is a seedy world and that world wants to coexist with what we consider safe.
              I would wish that all of the gay stuff would disappear. But it won’t. We have let perversions seep into our lives and now we have to smile and like it. How’s that for the one’s freedom that don’t believe in it. We cannot say anything because we will be punished for being a bigot.
              I smoke. Now I have to smoke in my house, which is okay not to much of a problem. But now they have made it to where you cannot smoke in a car with anyone under 16. So that means next IS my home. For those who do not nor have never smoked and whine it stinks, well they just may be heading to your house for one of your freedoms.
              Abortions only happen because women cannot conduct themselves with decorum nor respect for themselves. It has gone past the teenage “if you loved me you would”. Women wanted the same rights as a man to be able to mess around and it be such a wonderful life. There is birth control and one of them is not to mess around. Freedom my fanny.
              Even “Moonbeam” of the hippie years found out “Free love” caused babies. Shucks!!!
              And men haven’t helped.
              Don’t believe in God don’t go to church well that is a little more than simplistic. That is the problem. The ones not going to church are out trying to bring us all down. No, No, No you cannot force anyone to believe. But by giving them all the latitude that we have, we have seen to it that factions like communism, facism, socialism, terrorism and all isms take over. Now how does ism help our Freedom?
              Some of the things that are listed under Freedoms are what is killing our nation.
              Remember the song that had the refrain in it ” Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose”? Well think we are there.
              M.D.
              I don’t think any of them are smart enough to solve the economic mess we are in. I don’t think any of them are able to stave off stupidity. I shudder to think of it. Even if all of them were joined at the hip would not be much help.
              Sorry to both of you for the rant. But I just cannot keep my mouth shut anymore.

        • May, there is a month for most near anything. Speaking of May I got real good prices on Pinto Beans [$0.33/lb] just before the 5th of May, though that may just be a regional thing

          • I meant May is Mental Health Month. Too much got between the question and my answer to make sense.

          • azyogi,

            I didn’t include Cinco de Mayo. I wonder what kinds of foods people eat to celebrate this holiday?

            • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

              You mean the 5th of May?

            • Yes, May 5 is Cinco de Mayo.

            • Around here the Sonoran Hotdog is popular. It’s a fried bacon wrapped weiner, topped with refried beans, cheese, onion, jalapeno, diced tomato, mayo, mustard, catsup, and pureed kitchen sink. [I think I'm kidding about the sink, it may have been guacamole] The cooked frankfurter is spiral wrapped in bacon then fried, put in a half sliced bolillo roll and smothered as above. Served with a side of Lipitor, and Nitro pills.

  31. Wonderful post and so needed by so many people! Thanks.

  32. Patriot Farmer says:

    This list is awsome!!!! I printed this one and labled my calender by items likely to be on sale.

  33. “Gives a big deep bow to Gayle” Thanks! Great information!

  34. Gayle, Once again You have moved the bar, for how good these entries get. I hope someone from downunder or ‘ overthere’ will chime in on how close this matches thier sales.

  35. Great job Gayle, I have seen several of these types of lists in the past and in several frugal websites but this is very complete and thorough…I have also printed it up and added it to my frugal living note book for reference…
    Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and have a great new years.
    Tina ( the breadmomma)

  36. Can’t wait to print this list out and start watching for sales accordingly. Great article!

  37. SurvivorDan says:

    Seriously Gayle. This is very useful information. I know a thing or two about wilderness survival and weapons & tactics but I didn’t have a clue about this stuff. Will definitely print out your article and put it over my main computer screen to remind me to consult it as I shop for food. As a coffee fiend I really appreciate that particular tip. :) Will let you know the results as the year unfolds. Thank you.

    • Survivor Dan,

      That’s why it’s better to be a pack member than a lone wolf. I know a lot about cooking and shopping but I do not know very much about guns or tactics.

  38. What is the best way to give you all credit for this list. I have my own blog and I think it’s great info for my readers to have. Do you want a simple link or can I run a little teaser of the info. You deserve the traffic and I don’t want to steal anyones thunder.
    Thanks

    • Jamie,

      I imagine you could link to this site but you will need to ask M.D. He’s the head wolf around here.

  39. Gayle,
    Great article. I am a relative newbie to the prepping world and have found your articles and sites like this one very helpful. I have two things to add your article. I have used coupons for quite some time and have found that combining them with these monthly sales (especially the BOGOs) really have helped stretch our grocery money. I always take my calculator and binder with me to make sure I am getting the best deals. Plus, there are websites that actually match up the sales and coupons for you that really help and they are free to use. Second, shopping at local goodwill and thrift stores after the holidays has proved to be very advantageous for us. Lots of people don’t even bother to take things back to the store and just dump it off with their donations. I have picked up brand new, with tags still on Levis for our son as well as deals on Sketcher shoes and boots. I hope this might help others out there. Thanks again for a wonderful article!!
    Tonya

  40. Instalanche!!!! WTG Gayle and M.D.!

  41. Instalanche!!! WTG Gayle and M.D.!

  42. I clicked through from Instapundit. I never heard of you folks before.
    Thank you Gayle for a very informative essay.
    You don’t need to be a “prepper” to know that the price of food has skyrocketed over the past few years. By my observation we have seen at least a 30% increase in food across the board and in some cases in my region, Long Island NY, an over 100% – 300% increase in hamburger, dairy products, cereal and produce.
    Just yesterday I bought a head of celery for $2.49!!! Oranges were $1.00 apiece! A gallon of milk is approaching $5.00, a pound of butter is over $5.00/lb and lean hamburger is $4.95/lb.
    I have always stocked up on meat and butter when it was on sale but not to the scale you suggest. Your month by month analysis will certainly help me a lot especially when it comes to coffee (why not buy a years worth), canned soup, canned veggies, condiments, anything that would freeze well as well as paper products and cleaning supplies.
    I am printing out this article and placing it with my coupons.
    Thank you again.

    PS: When our Federal Gov’t states the “official inflation rate” did you know that they are referring to what they call the “core” inflation rate which doesn’t include food or energy? Our Federal Gov’t claims “those items are too volitile to be included”. The “inflation rate” my household has experienced, since OF COURSE it includes food and energy, has been at least 10% year over year for the past several years… Anyone that eats, heats or cools a home or travels either by public or private transportation knows this. Apparently, the Federal Gov’t doesn’t.

    • Babs,

      You are absolutely correct. The government’s formula for measuring inflation does not include price increases for food or fuel–the two things that hurt American pocketbooks the most. I looked all over the web and could not find a legitimate figure. I think 30 percent may be too conservative. The increasing costs of food is what got me into prepping.

      I hope you stick around. You have a really good handle on what’s going on in terms of inflation. And we won’t hold being from New York against you. :)

      • Glad I found your site, via Insty.

        We have been discussing these preparations for ourselves. It can be a frightening world, and it is better to be in contact with like-minded people.

        We’re shopping for a chest freezer right now. . . and probably that vacuum sealer, too!

        Thanks for the good information, Gayle.

        • Flyover,

          Welcome to the Wolf Pack. It is a frightening world, and that’s why we prep. We want to be the ones helping in a disaster, not the ones waiting for a government handout.

          Stick around–this is a great bunch of people.

  43. I hope you stick around. You have a really good handle on what’s going on in terms of inflation. And we won’t hold being from New York against you. :)

    Thanks Gayle, I will stick around. I must say that even the biggest dunderhead that buys food for a household has to know that something is terribly wrong when ONE LEMMON cost a dollar and ONE CUCUMBER also does… I encountered this last winter.
    I spent the better part of the morning carefully reading your current essay as well as your essay on stretegic shopping. You aptly discribed how groceries get you into the store with loss leaders and how they attempt to keep you there to impulse buy.
    I would like to point out another grocery store trick that is prevelant in my area. That is to re-arrange all the isles. When you shop with a list, as I do, it is much easier to avoid going down lanes you don’t need to. Voila, the store shuffles everything around so you have to go down every isle trying to find the items that you were previously able to find directly. This causes the shopper to look at all the items in the store and increases impulse buying. I resent it like crazy. Personally, it is a waste of my time only as I will not buy some garbage just because it caught my eye. I am sure that is not the case for everyone or the grocery wouldn’t do it.
    As for our living on Long Island; I have wanted to move from here for several years. But with the job market the way it is and the sinking of home prices we feel it is better to weather it out than to take our chances of being new hires somewhere else. To say that our paychecks have not kept up with the increases in health ins. premiums and deductibles, property tax increases and food and energy prices would be the understatement of the last decade as concerns our personal financial situation.
    That is why I was completely fascinated with your essays.

    Just one more thing, every once in a while I go into the grocery and don’t even look at the produce prices. I just select what I want and put it in the cart. I say to myself “I simply must have fresh produce for the family”. I then just take one “emotional hit” at the checkout line.

    • Babs,

      I have to have fresh produce too. I love to have a salad with dinner. Do you have room for a garden? Or at least a container garden? I have scallions, celery and tomatoes in right now and I’ve been meaning to plant some lettuce. Even a small garden goes a long way in terms of helping with the grocery bill.

      But if you can save money on your other groceries, you can splurge once in a while on some fresh produce.

      I hadn’t caught on to the re-arranging trick but I will keep an eye out for it next time. Usually, if I can’t find something I will ask one of the employees where to fine it. At Publix, the employees will lead you right to the product.

      I almost never go down each isle. I stick with the outside of the grocery store and if I need something down one of the isles, I go down that isle.

      I am glad you’ve decided to stick around. There are a lot of really great folks on this blog. If you have a question, someone will surely have an answer. The best place to ask general questions is in the Saturday morning “What did You do to Prep this Week?” post.

      Oh, and just to give you the heads up, don’t use the word “flashlight” if Lint Picker is around. He has a flashlight addiction.

      • I have found that if I do stick to the “outside walls” of the market (and do not buy a lot of processed foods) then I can afford the more expensive fresh and frozen vegetables.

        I shop for my elderly parents, too. I was looking for some old fashioned cookies for Dad, like Lorna Doones, or butter cookies. The small package of Lorna Doones was over $4.50! I found that about a month ago, and I am still shocked by it.

        The only forays into the aisles I make are for canned goods, rice, dried beans, and paper products.

        I am looking forward to perusing the rest of this site!

  44. Gayle – One thing you’re wrong about is April. During Lent, our groceries run great specials on FISH! Everyone’s eating seafood on Fridays (observant Catholics, that is), so the stores run great sales on shellfish, bonefish, and even fish stick things. And although I understand why some people buy pancake mix, why not spend EVEN LESS by buying bulk flour? I spend about $11 on 25 pounds of flour and I can make pancakes, bread, rolls, fried foods, doughnuts, cookies – anything I want. I store it in a small, clean wastebasket with a spring lid. Course, haven’t needed to buy any since right before Christmas, so it may already cost more. A year ago, it was about half.

    • Kay,

      Ha! I am Catholic and didn’t even think about sales on fish. I have never paid attention to whether stores have sales on canned fish. I’ll keep an eye out this year.

  45. Hi Gayle,
    First, thank you for compiling this list. I hope to make good use of your information this year. I went to the grocery store (HEB in Texas) two days ago and haven’t yet spotted sales on soup, tea or meat. Any tips on how to track those particular sales down at a individual store? I always feel like HEB has no good sales, unless you buy their store brand…
    Thanks again!

      • THANK YOU!

        • Expat,

          Make sure you check to see what’s on sale at the other grocery stores in your town. Note that Walmart will honor competitor’s prices. So if you see Maxwell House coffee for $8.99 at Publix, you can bring in the ad and Walmart will give you that price.

          If you have Publix in Texas, check their BOGO deals, which are usually pretty good. Southernsavers is a great website to compare prices.

        • Expat,

          One more thing–check amazon.com for the brand of tea you use. The tea I buy is often $3.99 for a box. I can get it on amazon, six boxes for $12. And if you order more than $25, you get free shipping.

  46. Encourager says:

    Thank you Gayle! Your list will be copied over to my calendar so it will be handy when I do my grocery lists. One thing I didn’t see mentioned, is a food co-op. We joined one about a year ago, and it has helped us stock up on so much. All we buy is organic or natural/organic products. Those who shop organic know they end up paying way more for organic products. The company that is our main supply delivers to Whole Foods and other stores that have mostly organic. And those store mark up the products they buy from the same source we use. We don’t pay wholesale prices, but it can be much less than shopping at a store like Whole Foods. At another source, we get whole grains, dried beans/peas, nuts, etc. All organic also. We can buy 50# bags of organic white winter wheat berries and the shipping is free. I just wanted to add the info about food co-ops for those who hadn’t thought of that.

    • Encourager,

      I didn’t even think about co-ops. Thanks for the heads up. I grow a lot of my own vegetables; that way, I know what my family is eating. I am not totally organic in the sense that if I really needed to use chemicals, I would consider it. But I compost and take care of my soil. So I haven’t had to use any chemicals in my garden.

      • Encourager says:

        Gayle, as far as gardening, we are the same. Our soil is what is called sandy loam (I think the loam is the gravel…) so we have a nasty problem most years with Rose Chafers. They will eat anything related to roses, including pears, apples, etc; and anything with a white or light colored flower. We have used nasty chemicals on them as a last resort (but not on edible stuff). We can’t even walk outside with a white T-shirt on – they fly in and cluster on it!!!