A popular money saving strategy is to track the grocery store sale cycles and buy at the lowest cost, enough to last until the next low price cycle hits, approx 11 weeks from now. While I understand the concept and appreciate all the work that goes into that calculation, I have never really used this technique in a major way.
However, there are a some items that I do stock pile on a seasonal basis. One example is school supplies. Since we home school I have a great deal of control over the supplies that my children use. Over the years these needs have changed, but some remain constant. But in the early fall most retailers put school supplies on sale at a tremendous discount. So I decided to purchase all I thought we would need for the entire year. With 4 kids, that is actually quite a bit of binder paper, and pencils. Plus with 4-H projects we use A LOT of glue sticks. A typical price is $.25 each for package of binder paper and $.20 for a 2-pack of glue sticks. Crayons are generally on sale for $.10-.20/ 24 pack. We do not use crayons anymore, but I stock up to put in our Christmas Child boxes in December.
This type of stockpiling saves my family a fair amount of money. But a really big plus for me is that we do not run out of needed supplies. No last minute trips to the store or projects that cannot be completed for lack of supplies. We are also able to share as needs become know.
Another area I sometimes stockpile is after holiday merchandise. We all know that Christmas cards and paper are discounted on December 26, but other holidays have similar discounts on many items. When we had a lot of little girl birthday parties to go to I would search for gifts after Valentine’s Day and Easter, as many items are very feminine and cute. After Valentine’s Day and Halloween are great days to pick up candy. The wrappers may be a certain color, but the candy inside is really the same. And after Thanksgiving and Christmas there are often good deals on holiday foods.
We love pumpkin bread around here, so when I found canned pumpkin for $.50/can I bought 16 cans. Regular price before Thanksgiving had been $1.85, so this was a great deal. Other items might include corn syrup, mincemeat, and candied fruits. I sometimes find great deals on specialty holiday baking chips, like read and green chocolate chips or pastel colored M&M’s. We decided that they taste just the same and are a special treat.
For regular grocery items I do not stockpile. I research and chose the store that offers the most consistently low prices on the items that my family uses and shop there. If I notice a large price fluctuation I might stock pile a bit if I find a good deal. But generally I use the same things and purchase them at the most consistent low price. If there is a huge price increase, usually due to supply changes, I may try to find a substitute, use less or just know I have to pay more. A few years ago the price of coffee doubled. We still enjoyed our coffee, but I was on the look out for sales and coupons. I became very un-loyal to my favorite brand and switched to a generic brand. When the prices leveled out, we decided to stay with the store brand, but do enjoy a premium brand or flavored variety on occasion