To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the
and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
Today is Day 5 in our 30 days of savings habits articles see the rest HERE .
OK I know it doesn't say a time to shop and a time to save anywhere in the Bible but it does say a time to reap and a time to sew.
Shopping with the seasons provides several areas of opportunity to save both immediately and for the future.
PRODUCE - learning to eat what is in season will not only improve your bottom line it will improve what you are eating because those foods will be fresh and ripe rather than picked green and shipped from another continent. I LOVE mangoes but they will range over the course of the year from .50 cents to $2.99 each and ironicly the .50 cents ones are BETTER than the $3 version.
I am fortunate to live in the central valley of California where a phenomenal variety of fruits and vegetables are grown and we have numerous farmer's markets around but there are still limits. I also happen to enjoy a wide range of fruits and vegetables but my husband and children aren't quite so open minded. Use a variety of canned, frozen and seasonal fresh produce to keep a healthy balance for both your food and your wallet.
There are several non monetary benefits to eating what is in season - you are likely to be eating food grown much closer to home which means it took less fuel to get it to you better for the planet and the local economy.
Seasonal Foods / pricing - Grocery stores stock a huge number of items but many are offered only at select times of the year or have to be sought out at expensive specialty stores during off peak times. If you enjoy items that are associated with specific seasons - BBQ sauce, Turkey, cranberry sauce etc. stock up when they are low to last until the next low. Turkey's are offered at the lowest prices of the year during the pre Thanksgiving weeks as a loss leader to bring you into the store for all your groceries. If you have freezer space and love turkey that is the time to buy. A much less cumbersome and more practical item to store would be boxed stuffing mix - do you like Stove Top year round? Stores stocked up for the holidays and there were many coupons available. Now stores that will not carry large quantities through the year (Target / WalMart) are cutting the price or putting it on permanent markdown - boxed and canned items are perfect to stock up on with their very long shelf life and easy to stack shapes. TIP always look for the expiration date before purchasing. I just got .68 cent per can cranberry sauce at Target that is good through May of 2010. Read on for more tips
Seasonal Coupon / promtions - Items tend to be promoted when they are in the highest demand. Have you seen a lot of ads for ice cream, lemonade and BBQ products lately? No but you have seen "diet" and "lite" food products, healthier foods and winter comfort foods like hot oatmeal and chili promoted. Collect coupons for all the items you enjoy and note the expiration dates -I found $5 off coupons at Safeway for Jenny O turkeys that are valid through May of 2009. Chances are we won't see more big turkey promotions until next year including coupons.
Kraft put out numerous bbq sauce coupons at the beginning of the summer but if you look for them now you will be out of luck.
You probably won't see coupons for soups and chili moving into the summer. Check our seasonal savings guide HERE.
Holidays- roll the savings from one to the next - Each holiday comes with it's own set of promotions and for certain items this can be a great savings boon once you get ahead of the curve. I use plastic shoe boxes - you can pick these up for $ - to store items for smaller holidays and store them in the shelves above my washer/ dryer in the laundry room. Most homes have some cabinets that are not very convienient for every day use which are perfect to designate as your holiday / gift storeage. For the Big holidays ' Easter/ Halloween/ Thanksgiving and Christmas I have bigger boxes in the attic and if I find amazing deals during the year I place them in with the smaller holidays. Each year after the holiday I pick up very inexpensive paper products, small gifts, hair items, cards to use the next year.
Target is my favorite special occasion store because they will mark items all the way down to 90% and do it very quickly.See our Target clearance guide information HERE.
Check out the cosmetic clearance area of Target - the Christmas section of 90% off goods is down to nothing but you may well find some deals in other parts of the store. I got bath confetti marked down to .29 cents - it is red and white shapes like circles,squares, abstract stars and hearts. The packaging has a gingerbread man on it BUT I will repackage these for Valentine's day - I'm sure my daughter's girl classmates will LOVE this and the mom's will appreciate a little less candy coming home. Bath, perfume and special packages of lip gloss, Burt's Bee's products and Bonnie Belle are at least 50% off in several stores and are not necessarily in Christmas packaging which will make them excellent for Valentine's, birthdays, Easter Baskets or Mother's day / Father's day.
Candy is very pricey but constantly promoted with special holiday packaging but that "holiday" look is often only on the outside and the contents can be reworked for the next occasion. Take the 75% off holiday Hershey kisses and seperate out the red for Valentine and Green for St. Pat's or unwrap to use in peanut butter blossom cookies. Same exact contents that are being pushed at full price for the next set of occasions. NOW after Valentines you can score bargain candy for Easter etc etc.
INVENTORY SEASON - I spent over 15 years working in retail sales management. Inventory is the time when the best deals come out of hiding. Stockrooms get cleaned out and merchandise that got stashed away month's ago comes out usually at a bargain price. Mid to late January is the usual time for most major retailers to do their semi annual inventory and again in July. Look for odd summer goods to be SUPER low priced now and a little Christmas in July during the summer.
More parenting videos on JuiceBoxJungle