Thrifty Tips

Sales Cycles
Fall 2013: Sales Cycles

As the fun festivities of summer wind down, it’s time to start thinking about sending those kiddos off to school. (I know there are some moms and dads out there who are more than ready to have those eight kid-free hours back again.) However, the back-to-school season typically costs a pretty penny for most to get their learning-machines ready for the first day. Families can find savings throughout the year to help offset those expenses.

Produce, as you know, is seasonal, and the best time to stock up on fruits and vegetables—as well as canning and freezing for the rest of the year—is in the summer when it is at its lowest annual cost. Did you know that the same concept applies to school supplies and most other products? Packaged foods and household items are also seasonal. With each calendar month, there is a new batch of sales that you can count on every year.

For example, during August and September, you will always find coupons and sales on school supplies, and even better sales after school has started until Labor Day. The best thing to do is to plan ahead. When you find an awesome sale (especially paired with a coupon) after school has already started, you will want to stock up for the next school year.

As school supplies won’t be the only item that has a sale cycle, here’s a list of what will be on sale each month.


Back-to-school sales will continue through Labor Day, around which you can get all sorts of deals on things like restaurants, movie theater perks and shoe and apparel store weekend passes. It’s also Diabetes Awareness Month, so glucose meters, Glucerna cereal and diabetic care products will be on sale.


October is a hauntingly good month to find deals on Halloween candy, costumes and accessories. Also, look for baking supplies like canned pumpkin, evaporated milk, baking chips and pie crusts to be on sale until after Christmas.


In preparation for Thanksgiving, look for baking goods, canned foods and holiday staples to be on sale. This is also a great time to look for clearance Halloween leftovers for next year. Finally, Black Friday and Cyber Monday—enough said.


Holiday dinner items and baking supplies will still be on sale, as well as canned foods.. Look for Thanksgiving clearance items now that they are at least 50 percent off.


It is National Oatmeal Month so quick, old-fashioned, rolled and steel-cut oats, as well as oatmeal packets, will be on sale. January is also when many people commit to New Year’s resolutions that involve dieting, so look for sales on diet foods such as cereal, frozen entrees, meal and granola bars, diet shakes, and diet aids. Super Bowl Sunday planning happens this month, too, so look for soda, chips, dips, cheese, sandwich items, crackers, snacks, wings and food trays to go on sale. Look at Christmas clearance items for next year. It’s always good to plan ahead.


National Canned Food Month and National Hot Breakfast Month is in February, so anything in a can is fair game to be on sale, as well as anything hot you can have for breakfast like oatmeal, Cream of Wheat, frozen waffles, bacon and sausage. The Super Bowl Sunday sales will likely also continue. Valentine’s Day will provide sales on candy and many other items.


March is Frozen Food Month, so clear out your freezer and get ready to stock up. Holidays like St. Patrick’s Day, Easter and March Madness will bring sale tags to everything you need to have a good time on these holidays, including party food, decorations, corned beef and cabbage, egg dying kits, baking supplies and candy. You may also find winter things like clothing and snow shovels as well as ski and sledding equipment on sale.


The sales will continue for Easter items until the holiday has passed. You should always hit up stores the day after each holiday to look for clearance items that you can pair with coupons you already have, stocking up for next year. April is also the month for Earth Day and gardening, so look for natural and organic foods, along with personal care products, reusable bags and water bottles, gardening equipment, seeds and allergy medication.


Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day and Memorial Day are the big holidays in May. Look for everything you need to have a Mexican fiesta, an outdoor barbeque and everything to make mom happy. Summer is also starting to get going, so look for sales on insect repellent, sunscreen, outdoor furniture, shorts, lawn mowers, barbeques and grilling utensils. All your gardening equipment will also still be on sale.


June is National Dairy Month, so everything in the refrigerator that comes from a cow will be on sale. (For whatever strange reason, eggs are also on sale even though they aren’t actually dairy.) Toward the end of the month, look for Fourth of July supplies to go on sale.


National Ice Cream Month is July and the Fourth of July sales will continue. Toward the end of July, you will see the back-to-school sales begin.


Back-to-school sales will be in full swing, including erasers, pens, crayons, paper, binders, backpacks, notebooks, markers and note cards. Lunch items for school, like pudding cups, lunch meat, single serve juices and Lunchables, will also go on sale. Also look for sales on disinfectant cleaning products along with the leftovers from summer.

Keeping an eye on the sale cycles and stocking up when you find a great deal will help you save a lot of money this back-to-school season as well as throughout the rest of the year.

Cris Swaters
About author:

Cris Swaters is the communications coordinator at White River Valley Electric Co-op and a lover of extreme couponing, frugal living, social media and healthy home cooking. Get more tips and healthy eating recipes from Cris at

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