Best Things to Stock Up on Every Month of the Year
When it comes buying in bulk, the key to maximizing your savings is knowing what to buy—and when.
Before you start stockpiling, it’s important to follow sales cycles. “Sales cycles are simply designated time frames that grocery stores reduce items and place them on sale,” says Joy Hearn of Cards and Clips, a Facebook page that offers tips on extreme couponing. The best time to buy in bulk is when you can stack coupons on top of sale prices, which usually cycle every six to eight weeks. Once or twice a year, however, you can find products at their absolute lowest prices. January, for example, is National Oatmeal Month—a great time to stock up on granola bars and other Quakers products. It’s also when department stores host “White Sales,” meaning deep discounts on sheets, towels, and bedding. Find out the items that are a waste of money to buy in bulk.
February: Asian foods and condiments
It makes sense that chocolate goes on sale around candy-oriented holidays like Valentine’s Day, but the sweetest deals start the following day when all that chocolate hits the clearance shelf. The Krazy Coupon Lady also suggests stocking up on Asian food ingredients this month. “Chinese New Year starts at the beginning of February and goes into March, so during this time, look for deals on items like soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, noodles, rice, and more,” she writes.
March: Frozen food
“March is Frozen Food Month, which means consumers can expect lots of coupons on products in the frozen food aisle,” says Courtney Jespersen, Nerdwallet‘s consumer savings expert. And with over 3,000 products to satisfy any craving or dietary need, according to the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association, you’ll want to make sure there’s plenty of room in your freezer!
April: Beauty products
Now’s the time to stock up on face cleanser, body wash, or moisturizer. “According to shopping data from RetailMeNot, April is the best time to buy your favorite beauty supplies with deals as high as 40 percent off,” says shopping and trends expert for RetailMeNot, Sara Skirboll. “You’ll end up saving a lot more than purchasing at full price when you run out.” Check out the 11 things you should always buy at drugstores.
May: Cookout foods and grilling supplies
The end of May is when you’ll start seeing sales on hot dogs, ground beef, buns, condiments, salad dressing, chips, soda, and Popsicles. That’s because most people celebrate Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer, with a good old-fashioned barbecue. Grill supplies like charcoal, lighter fluid, and grilling utensils are also discounted, but “wait to buy an actual new grill closer to Labor Day,” writes Skirboll.
June: Headache medicine
June is National Migraine and Headache Month, reports The Krazy Coupon Lady, so take advantage of coupons and sales to stockpile pain-relieving medicine like Tylenol, Aleve, and Excedrin. You can also snag great deals on dishware, as they tend to go on sale this month to correspond with peak wedding season. Service for 12, anyone?
July: Ice cream
You don’t have to feel guilty about indulging during National Ice Cream Month! There are plenty of discounts to scoop up on frozen desserts, cones, and toppings—as long as you have the freezer space. July is also prime time to stock up on shorts, tanks, and sandals, when retailers start swapping out summer apparel for back-to-school clothing.
August: School and office supplies
It’s not just students who benefit from savings on back-to-school items. You can replenish the office supply closet for next to nothing by stocking up on paper, pens, folders, and more. According to The Krazy Coupon Lady, stores like Office Depot and Staples usually sell supplies for a penny, but they often place a limit on how many you can purchase at a time. “If you’re prepared to make multiple trips to the store,” she writes, “you can get enough school supplies for this year and next year, all while saving up to 70 percent.” These are the 14 back-to-school items that are a waste of money, and what to buy instead.
While you won’t harvest the rewards until the spring, you can save a chunk of change if you do your planting in the fall, according to The Spruce. Trees, shrubs, perennials, and spring-flowering bulbs all go on sale during September, as nurseries and home improvement stores need to make room for fall plants and holiday merchandise. And don’t forget to stock up on gardening supplies like potting soil and planters, which you can typically find on clearance at your favorite big box store.
RetailMeNot’s Skirboll says that October is the best month to stock up on your favorite jeans and denim apparel, which have been on store shelves since the summer. “During October you’re most likely to find the best deals, with up to 27 percent off,” she says. “Plus, buying multiple pairs at a discount means that when you’ve worn out one pair, you have backups available without having to pay full price.”
November: Baking supplies
From butter and flour to canned pumpkin and Cool Whip, November is the time to stock up on ingredients for Thanksgiving pies and Christmas cookies. On her website Everyday Cheapskate, Mary Hunt writes, “Baking supplies are notoriously on sale at rock-bottom prices starting now in anticipation of Thanksgiving and continuing through the end of the year.” While you’re shopping, grab several rolls of aluminum foil and plastic wrap to wrap up all those baked goodies; they also tend to be discounted this month.
Unless you’re looking for the year’s most popular toy, resist the urge to shop your kid’s holiday wish list before the middle of December. On The Real Deal, Skirboll explains that the deepest discounts on toys happen in the ten days leading up to Christmas. Afterward, take advantage of clearance prices between 50 to 75 percent to stock up on birthday gifts for your children and their friends. Shopping for something more expensive than toys? Here’s a month-to-month guide to smarter spending on big-ticket items.
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