A Calendar for Smart Seasonal Shoppers
by Andrea Norris-McKnight
Just about everything goes on sale at some point during the year. The key is knowing the best time to buy. Use this seasonal shopping calendar to start seeing savings all year long.
You likely already know the best time to replace those broken Christmas tree lights is after Christmas when you can score 75%+ off as stores attempt to clear their shelves of holiday inventory. And perhaps you picked up your new grill for a steal after Labor Day this year as summer grilling and grill prices were winding down.
But are you taking full advantage of seasonal sales and discounts on those things you buy more frequently throughout the year? Things like food, clothing, and household supplies?
We’ve put together this calendar for smart seasonal shoppers looking to save money year round on smaller ticket items. It certainly is not a complete list. But by using this list, and the many seasonal shopping resources available online, you can create your own smart seasonal shopping schedule.
Note: We have not included seasonal produce in this list since it will differ depending on the area of the country you live in. But use this online guide to determine which produce is in season (and likely cheapest!) in your state during any month of the year.
Food: New Year’s resolutions drive sales on low-calorie frozen meals and other packaged ‘healthy’ foods. Conversely, as January comes to a close, you’ll find chips, dips, pretzels, and other snacks on sale for Super Bowl snacking. January is also National Oatmeal Month and January 4th is National Spaghetti Day so these types of foods will often be on sale.
Household Supplies: January is usually a great time to stock up on tissues, cold and flu meds, such as cough syrups and drops, and vitamins.
Other: Watch for sales on home organization containers and supplies, linens and bedding, towels, fitness equipment and toys.
Food: February is National Canned Food Month and National Hot Breakfast Month so be prepared to stock up on canned vegetables, soups, beans and meats as well as oatmeal. After Valentine’s Day, stock up on those chocolates that will be on clearance. Get enough to treat yourself and your family until Easter chocolate goes on sale!
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Food: March is National Frozen Food Month so most grocers offer better-than-usual sales on frozen items. It is an inexpensive way to fill your freezer with those veggies your family likes that won’t be in season the remainder of the year. If you depleted your snack supply from January, March Madness brings another opportunity to get snack foods on sale. Around National Cereal Day, which is March 7th, see what deals you find on the cereal aisle. And don’t forget to pick up extra corned beef around St. Patrick’s Day to freeze for later in the year.
Household Supplies: If you garden, you’ll find gardening supplies on sale. And spring cleaning sales will begin so stock up on cleaning supplies.
Food: Pick up extra ham during Easter sales to freeze and don’t forget to replenish your chocolate supply after Easter.
Clothing: Jackets and other cold weather wear will go on clearance.
Other: You’ll find LED bulbs on sale leading up to Earth Day. And it is National Car Care Month if you need supplies for your car. It is also an affordable time to replace winter tools such as snow shovels.
Food: May is National Hamburger Month so watch for ground beef sales and Memorial Day will bring sales on other meats. Freeze enough to get you through until the 4th of July sales. You’ll also find condiments, chips, buns, and other cookout and picnic foods on sale. Buy cheap taco shells, refried beans, chips, salsas and related foods before Cinco de Mayo.
Household Supplies: Stock up on paper napkins, plates, and plastic utensils along with insect repellants and sunscreen for your summer cookouts.
Food: June 5th is National Doughnut Day if you want to treat your family or co-workers inexpensively. Replenish cookout foods at the end of June as 4th of July sales begin.
Clothing: Men’s clothing will be marked down for Father’s Day and many clothing retailers for men, women and kids host semi-annual sales in June.
Food: July is National Ice Cream Month and a cheap time to stock up on this frozen treat. The month’s best meat sales will likely be over by July 4th. July is also National Hot Dog month so watch for manufacturer’s coupons to use in addition to the sales.
Household Supplies: Start to watch for early school supply sales for kids or your home office. You’ll also see home improvement stuff discounted in July.
Related: 11 Ways to Save at Home Depot
Food: National Waffle Day is Aug. 24 when you may find goods deals on frozen waffles and pancake/waffle mixes and syrup.
Clothing: If you did not pick up a new coat during a winter clearance sale, now is the time to buy before temperatures start dropping and prices on winter wear begin rising.
Household Supplies: Restock supplies of summer essentials such as insect repellent, sunscreen, and charcoal. Also watch for good sales on back-to-school essentials such as Ziploc bags, paper towels, disinfectants, hand sanitizers, and disinfectant wipes.
Food: Canned soups typically go on sale in September as the weather turns cooler. Kids’ ‘lunch box’ foods are also marked down. Think peanut butter, jelly, individually-packaged snacks, and granola bars.
Clothing: Summer clothing will start getting marked down this month.
Other: Gardening supplies will also get marked down if you need anything for next year’s garden.
Food: October is National Seafood Month so watch for seafood sales. You’ll also start seeing baking supplies and canned pumpkin on sale.
Clothing: October can be a good month to buy kids’ jeans as stores try to sell off what wasn’t bought during back-to-school sales.
Other: If you like to get an early start on holiday shopping, Amazon Prime Day is this month and many stores, such as Target and Walmart, will be offering competing sales.
Food: Don’t forget to pick up some clearance bags of Halloween candy to get you through to Christmas. And of course Thanksgiving-related foods will all be on sale.
Clothing: Seasoned seasonal shoppers claim that November is the best month for women to buy shoes, pajamas and slippers.
Other: November is a good month to replace linens and bedding. And have your holiday shopping list ready so you can take full advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.
Food: Stock up on baking supplies, not just to make holiday treats but to replenish your pantry, too. And you’ll find most of the fixings for the year’s final holiday feast on sale. Pick up an extra turkey and a ham to keep in the freezer for next year. Restaurant gift cards will be deeply discounted this month. Pick up a few to your favorite restaurants, not as gifts, but to treat yourself for less next year.
Other: Batteries will be on sale to power those holiday gifts if you also need to replenish your emergency supplies.
Just about everything goes on sale at some point during the year. The key is knowing the best time to buy. Become a smart seasonal shopper and you’ll start seeing savings all year long.
Reviewed November 2021
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