Knowing the Grocery Store Sales Cycles for the holidays is a great way to stock up on bargain-priced groceries.
One of our best money-saving grocery strategies is to stock up on loss-leaders around the holidays. Grocery stores drop the price on holiday food items and other common food items to entice shoppers to come to their store. That’s the time we swoop in and pick up deals to last several months.
Every holiday brings an opportunity to find great bargains because most grocers put traditional foods on sale. That means that you’ll usually find super-low prices. If you have space, this is the time to buy storable foods to last you several months or the rest of the year.
If the discount sale is for fruits or veggies you can major on them in your meal planning or decide to freeze or can them.
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You can expect sale prices to save you between 30 and 50% on the items listed below.
Here’s a chronological list of grocery deals to watch for throughout the year starting in the Fall.
Grocery Store Sales Cycles for Fall – September, October, November
Labor Day – September
Labor Day is observed on the first Monday in September. Oddly, it became a National holiday in 1894 to celebrate the achievements of American workers by giving them a day off of work.
This is the end of the grilling season, so you may find super discounts on grills, charcoal, and grilling tools.
Food items on sale include hot dogs, baked beans, pork ribs, barbecue sauce and all kinds of condiments like mustard, mayonnaise, relish, and ketchup. You’ll also see produce sales for apples, pears, peppers and squash, onions and garlic.
September is also National Diabetes Awareness Month. You’ll see ads and sales for glucose meters, diabetic care test strips, sugar-free products, and vitamins. You might even see coupons for Glucerna cereal.
Since this is the end of summer camping gear and gardening supplies will be clearance to make room for Christmas goods.
Halloween and Fall Stockpile Deals – October
This is the time to stock up on candy (we know it’s not healthy), but you can get some good deals that can be stored and pulled out as stocking stuffers for Christmas. You will also see costumes and accessories on sale.
A week after Halloween you can really scoop up some deals on left-over candy and costumes with accessories will be drastically reduced also.
Food items on sale will include apples, pears, pomegranates, pumpkins, winter squash, and yams.
October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month so you’ll very likely see sales and discounts for “pink” products. Other National celebrations include National Apple month, National Pizza month, National Pretzel month and National Cookie month.
Thanksgiving – November
This is absolutely one of our favorite times of year for stocking up. You’ll see rock bottom prices in these areas of the store:
Thanksgiving Shelf Items On Sale
- Canned Olives
- Canned Vegetables
- Cranberries (canned)
- Cream of Chicken Soup
- Cream of Mushroom Soup
- Evaporated milk
- Gravy (canned and packets)
- Juices (bottled) Cranberry & Apple
- Vegetable Oil
Other Thanksgiving sale items – In the Refrigerated /Freezer Section
- Canned Biscuits
- Cool Whip
- Frozen veggies
- Pie crusts (ready made)
- Ready to bake Rolls
- Turkeys (in the Meat Department– frozen or fresh)
- Whipped Cream
In the Produce Department
- Brussels sprouts
- Cranberries (fresh)
Non-Food sale items include aluminum foil, plastic storage bags, waxed paper and parchment paper (for baking).
A few years ago we stocked up on several turkeys (at 59 cents per pound or less) and then cooked one each month during the winter.
Grocery Store Sales Cycles for Winter – December, January, February
Christmas / Chanukah – December
Food Deals: Keep an eye out for discounted prices on Baking Ingredients, Baking supplies, Boxed Chocolates, Candy Canes, Eggnog, Frozen Bread, Rolls, Ham and Rhodes Rolls.
We stocked up on hams when they hit a rock-bottom price of 97 cents per pound. We’ve even used our little home meat slicer and cut some of them up for lunch meat (watch the video here). The price can’t be beaten.
Turkey Deals: In early December you may also be able to pick up some huge savings on Fresh Turkeys left over from Thanksgiving – one year we cleaned up and bought several for less than 40 cents per pound.
New Year’s Eve & New Year’s Day Stockpile List – December
Watch for sales on Cheese Balls, Crackers, Deli Meats for Appetizers, Dips, Frozen Appetizers (Mozzarella Sticks, Egg Rolls, Taquitos), Guacamole, Potato Chips, Soda, Sparkling Cider, Tortilla Chips and Veggie Platters.
Non-Food deals include Champaign flutes, storage bins for Christmas décor.
Super Bowl Weekend Stockpile List – February
Food Deals: If you’re hosting a party for “The Big Game” you’ll want to stock up on these deals:
Chips (Potato and Tortilla), Dips, Buffalo Chicken Wings, Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, Soda, Beer, Frozen Appetizers (Mozzarella Sticks, Egg Rolls, Taquitos), Chili, and Pizza.
Produce Deals include: Citrus should be inexpensive including Grapefruit, Oranges, and Tangerines
Pizza Deals: Lots of pizza chains will run sales and drop coupons, these include: Dominoes, Little Caesars, Papa Johns and Pizza Hut. Watch the grocery stores too, many of them are carrying ready to cook everything pizzas for as little as $5 each.
Non-Food deals include TVs and some stores discount furniture – especially couches. You’ll also see cold medicines, vitamins and cough syrup discounted.
Valentines Day Stockpile List – February
There aren’t a lot of real food sales for Valentine’s Day, mostly candy like Chocolates, Red Hots, SweeTarts, Pink and Red Candy. Look for steep markdowns on these items after Valentine’s day too.
Non-Food deals include Flowers, Perfume, and Jewelry.
These raspberry meringues are a simple, delicious and perfect treat for Valentine’s Day [link]
February is also National Canned Foods Month, so watch for deals on canned items.
Grocery Store Sales Cycles for Spring – March, April, and May
St. Patrick’s Day Sales for Stockpiling – March
Specials galore on corned beef, sauerkraut, potatoes, and cabbage.
Because corned beef is usually sold in heavy plastic, vacuum-sealed packages it will store well in your freezer for a year. If you stock up, you’ll be enjoying corned beef or Reuben sandwiches each month for the rest of the year.
Watch this video of how we make Reuben Sandwiches.
March Madness is another time for party related sales on appetizers, buffalo wings, cheese, chips and dips, crackers, sandwich fixings, soda, and veggie trays fixings.
Easter / Passover Stockpile List – March or April
Food Deals: Watch for eggs, lamb and ham to be on sale, strawberries, artichokes, and asparagus are often sale priced. You’ll also see deals on food coloring kits, lots of candy, Easter baskets and baking supplies.
Passover: Also since Easter often coincides with the Jewish celebration of Passover you’re likely to find lots of kosher foods discounted including matzo, gefilte fish, brisket, and chopped liver. Nearly 40 percent of all kosher food sales occur around Passover.
Cinco de Mayo Holiday Sales for Stocking Up – May
Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican Army’s unexpected victory over France during the Battle of Puebla, on May 5, 1862.
If you’re looking for Mexican food deals, this is the time of year to stock up on things that can be stored and used in the next few months.
Food Deals: Lots of Hispanic food is discounted on this day. Stock up on salsa, refried beans, tacos, diced canned chilies, tortillas and other Mexican specialties. Watch for sales on taco sauce, enchilada sauce, tortilla chips and taco seasoning. Piñatas are usually discounted and appropriate when filled with candy.
May is also National Barbeque Month, so you should see deals on grills, grilling tools, charcoal and food for grilling.
Mother’s Day – May
It was President Woodrow Wilson who signed a proclamation in 1919 designating the second Sunday in May, as the national holiday to honor mothers.
There aren’t many grocery sales centered around Mother’s Day, although grocery store flowers and plants tend to be a good bargain. You’ll also see sales on chocolates and gift cards.
More May Food Deals: Watch for low prices on cherries and avocados.
A more common deal is the more than 100 restaurants that offer mom a free meal on Mother’s Day. This article from Coupons.com lists many of them.
Memorial Day – May
Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971.
This holiday signals the start of the bar-b-cue season with other holidays like Fourth of July and Labor Day. So if you love grilling, this sales cycle will provide you with plenty to stock up on.
Food deals: Grilling fixings are drastically reduced. You’ll find great deals on Baked Beans, Barbecue Sauce, Bratwurst, Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, Pork Ribs and Salad Dressings. All kinds of condiments will be discounted including Mayonnaise, Mustard, Relish, and Ketchup. And of course, you’ll find deals on corn on the cob and the ever-popular Smore’s ingredients: Graham Crackers, Marshmallows, and Hershey’s Chocolate Bars.
Non-Food items on sale include Sunscreen and Insect Repellent. You’ll also see the lowest prices of the season for Charcoal – until the fall clearance overstock sales.
Picnic and party supplies like paper and Styrofoam plates, Red Solo and Styrofoam cups, paper napkins, plastic utensils and plastic storage bags will be on sale.
Grocery Store Sales Cycles for Summer – June, July, and August
Father’s Day – June
Father’s Day was first celebrated at the Spokane, Washington YMCA in 1910. Sonora Smart Dodd started the tradition to honor her dad, a Civil War veteran, William Jackson Smart.
Grocery Deals usually include Beer, Burgers, and Poultry – basically grilling deals.
Check out this Time Magazine list of restaurants that offer Dad a free deal or meal.
June is also National Dairy Month, so you’ll find deals on eggs, milk, butter, cheese, yogurt, and of course ice cream.
Fourth of July – Independence Day Holiday and National Ice Cream Month – July
Food Deals: For July 4th you’ll find great deals on hot dogs, baked beans, pork ribs, barbecue sauce and all kinds of condiments like mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup and relish. Inexpensive produce includes watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, blueberries, peaches, and nectarines.
A few years ago the deals on ribs were so good that we bought 40 pounds and enjoyed them at various times until November.
National Ice Cream Month: And of course, you’ll need to watch for sales on your favorite ice cream.
National Hot Dog Month: Watch for sales on hot dogs, buns and the fixings.
Back to School Supplies – July and August
You’ll find deals at office supply stores, mass-retailers and grocery stores. It’s time to stock up on erasers, crayons, pens, pencils, glue sticks, notebook paper, binders, markers, backpacks, and shoes. Several states have sales tax holidays during this period.
School Lunch supply deals include: pudding cups, lunch meat, single serve juices and Lunchables.
You’ll also see sales for disinfectants like Clorox and Lysol type wipes, gels and sprays.
If you follow this calendar of savings you’ll find stock-up pricing every month. As the years pass, you’ll become more aware of the grocery store sales cycles and be able to stock up with enough low-priced non-perishable food to keep until the next sale.Keeping your pantry and freezer organized so you can efficiently use all of the deals you stock up on will become your new project. But happily, it will be a project that reminds you of the great deals you found and your bank account will reflect that happiness too.
Keeping your pantry and freezer organized so you can efficiently use all of the deals you stock up on will become your new project. But happily, it will be a project that reminds you of the great deals you found and your bank account will reflect that happiness too.
Our book, Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half covers dozens of other money-saving strategies that will help slash your grocery budget.
If you want to track prices more accurately so you really know when a sale is a “real deal,” get our Grocery Price Tracker here.
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If you want to see how much money you can save by stocking up on holiday priced shank hams, check out this video: