Fortune Teller or Smart Couponer?

By ERIN TURNER

If I could predict sales and rock bottom prices, I’d not only be heading to Vegas to try my luck but I’d be a hero in every couponing household.  Unfortunately, I can’t foretell those things but I have learned the different cycles of items in the grocery store and when to buy and when not to buy.

When things are in season…it is time to buy!  Especially produce…you will find rock bottom prices on produce when the harvest is at its peak.  As a farmer, I know this very well!  When our tomatoes first start coming on, we price them higher but in the height of the season, we are almost willing to give them away. If you are serious about saving money, you need to buy seasonally.  Yes, that may mean not having strawberries all winter but if you’re really frugal, then you’ll buy strawberries when they are cheap and freeze them for those winter months.  (As a side note: buying seasonally also supports the local farmers.)

Most of us know that immediately following a holiday is the best time to stock up for next year’s celebration.  Your wallet will hate you if you buy ribbons, bows and wrapping paper in December but it will throw you a party when you buy those things in January.   I just picked up some great Valentine decorations at Shopko for 80-90% off.

March is upon us and with a new month, the grocery industry moves into another cycle of sales.  Here is the break down of items to be watching for this month on the sale lists:

Frozen food month

Frozen vegetables
Frozen fruits
Frozen dinners/meals
Ice cream
Waffles
(Safeway has sales AND a coupon book for frozen items, making for some cheap frozen food!)

Cleansers and household items (spring cleaning month)

Coupons.com had some great coupons for Clorox products.  Matched with the upcoming sales, you’ll be in cleaning heaven!

Easter/Passover:

Eggs
Ham
Asparagus
Horseradish
Butter
Coconut
Some Jewish/Passover items not found during other months

Peanuts

National Peanut Month (Wow, who knew?!)

St Patrick’s Day

Potatoes

Cabbage

Corned Beef

“Irish foods”  (Baskin Robbins’ flavor of the month is “Lucky Mint”)

Gardening supplies

Lots of seeds, soil and garden items are starting to pop up

Clearance items:

Winter items (we bought 12 knit gloves for .79 each!  We’ll keep a few and donate the rest!)
Popsicle, ice cream, frozen novelties, etc (this is the time when “last year’s flavors” are cleared out, packaging redesigned, etc., to make room for the new products in April)

I have been waiting for this month! I make homemade sauerkraut and since my husband has discovered the digestive health benefits of sauerkraut, he has been eating it everyday since December!  We grow our own cabbage but since my supply of kraut has been depleted and our cabbage won’t be ready for months, I’ll be stocking up this month on cheap cabbage in order to get another batch of kraut going!  And with my Irish roots, you can bet I’ll be getting a hold of some St. Paddy’s day décor later this month, too.

Timing is everything in couponing.  Once you’ve been doing this long enough, you’ll start to recognize the trends and you’ll begin to anticipate the upcoming sales.  Another tip about timing is not to use your coupons immediately the week after they are issued.  Usually the closer a coupon gets to an expiration date, the more likely you’ll see that product on a great sale.  That’s when an extreme couponer goes in for the “kill”!

Speaking of expired coupons, be sure to read the Save-It Club from March 4th.  It gives you an address to send your expired coupons to Military families overseas (they can use those coupons for 6 months after expiration).  Not only do you get to recycle your coupons but you’re supporting our awesome military families.

Back to Save It blog home page and SAVE IT CLUB (scroll down to the yellow SAVE IT CLUB Box).

Click here to see the Coupon Queen’s “Save It”archive.

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Erin Eisenman-Turner is proud to be a native Missoulian.  Along with her husband and three sons, they raise chickens, pigs, rabbits, and vegetables at Turner Family Farms in the Orchard Homes area. When the farm chores are done, the coupons clipped and the blog written, you can find Erin exploring Montana, collecting antiques and trying to maintain a well-run, happy and organized home for herfamily.