First month of 2013? Check. That was fast, wasn’t it? And this month, with only 28 days, is likely to feel even faster! Before it blitzes away, I wanted to take some time and share my thoughts on what I think we’ll see on sale as well as content you can expect here at the blog.
February: What Goes on Sale?
I am a big believer in paying attention to what goes on sale and when. Most of my savings comes from store sales, with coupons being the icing on the cake. Here are a few trends I’ve noticed for previous Februarys:
Oatmeal/Quaker: We may see a few residual oatmeal and Quaker sales as a continuation from last month. I do expect them to be light, however.
Canned Soup & Chili: As we’re still in the thick of winter, look for “warm you up” type foods to continue including soups and chilis. Stock up if you use these items! Also of note – canned beans. Last year, we saw some really high-value canned bean coupons in February.
Valentine’s Day Candy: Of course, the best deals will likely be the clearance deals you find after the holiday. I purchased $0.19 Valentine’s Day kits for my kids last year at Fred Meyer, so we’re already set for this year!
Pasta & Pasta Sauce: I’m noting previous deals on pasta and pasta sauce.
Promotions to Watch For: Free short-stack of pancakes at IHOP (this is happening tomorrow!), heart-shaped pizzas for Valentine’s Day, also noting promotions for Grand Slam at Denny’s, eat free at IKEA for President’s Day, and free Pretzel at Auntie Annie’s. I’ll be watching for these and others this month.
I am currently working out the details of a very fun and adventurous post series for March, so February I’d like to lay lower and tie up a couple series that need tying up.
Eating Healthy on a Budget. While this series is pretty well done, for February, I’d like to build off the series by sharing a few recipes that are nutritious and budget-friendly. Please see the Eating Healthy on a Budget page if you missed this January series.
How to Use Coupons. I have about 3 posts to finish up the How to Use Coupons series I started wayyyy back in October. I’m getting there, folks, and I do thank you for your patience. You can read the previous posts on my Coupons 101 page.
Talk Shop Saturdays. On Saturdays, I’ve been running a mini “Talk Shop” series that will continue through February. In case you missed the previous posts, they were: Defining your “Enough” and Managing your Emotions Online. A huge thank you to those of you that have left thought-provoking comments on those posts and allowed for dialogue to happen.
Live webcast. I will be having a live webcast later this month. For this webcast, I’d like to do something a little different and answer YOUR questions. I’ll be putting out a call for questions shortly, but in the meantime feel free to email me your question(s) at angela @ thecouponproject dot com. You can ask me anything – about this blog, how to use coupons, how I use coupons, whatever.
Besides these goals, of course you can expect the same focus on high quality deals here at The Coupon Project. As always, my aim is to focus on sharing quality deals and not overwhelm you with a quantity of posts.
What would you like to see here at the blog in the next month? Any ideas or suggestions based on what I’ve shared above?
Wow – it’s hard to believe that nearly four years ago I launched this blog with a little more than an idea and an armful of library books (yes, I’m old school). I’m beyond pleased and proud of the awesome community this place has evolved into. It’s exciting to be entering a New Year – it’s a time of possibility, resolve, expectation, and goals. All stuff that this highly-motivated, can’t sit still, type “A” personality gal thrives on.
I wanted to start the month off right giving you a heads up of what to expect in terms of shopping and couponing as well as happenings here at The Coupon Project.
January: What Goes on Sale
Have you downloaded my new and improved Store Sales Cycles download yet? It’s free! I really believe in paying attention to what sales are happening at what times of the year. Even if you never clipped a coupon, you could be saving precious dollars by just stocking up on items when they go on their lowest prices of the year. (And/or planning your meals seasonally.)
The good news is that January is a fabulous month of the year to be a couponer or to start couponing! Here are the items I’ll be keeping my eye out to buy in January:
Themes. New Year’s Resolutions, Cleaning/Organizing, Healthy Eating, Superbowl.
Good-for-you Foods. Fred Meyer has had bagged salads for $1 the first week of the year (maybe this will happen next week?), and many grocery stores will highlight produce deals. I have a hunch we’ll see more organic and specialty food deals this month too (non-dairy milks, GF items). Stock up.
Special K/Slimfast. I’ve noted lots of promotions for these particular brands in January in years past. Coupons as well.
Clearance Sales. Target has historically moved select toys to 70% off clearance in early-mid January (around the 10-13th of the month) and Old Navy has run some smashing clearance events as well.
Superbowl Foods. In the next couple weeks, watch your coupon inserts and mark my words. You’ll see football fields and helmets splashed as images in the inserts. Think lots of snack foods – chips, salsa, frozen foods, chili mixes, sodas, etc. Basically the complete opposite of the start of this month.
Oatmeal (?). January is National Oatmeal Month and in the past, it was the best month to stock up on Quaker (both oatmeal and cereals). However, last year there was a severe lack of oatmeal sales. (No worry for me – I just buy it in bulk at WinCo for about $0.60/lb. And then last September? There were the best sales of the year on Quaker oatmeal and cereal. I think they are keeping us on our toes! I will definitely watch for oatmeal sales this month, but I won’t be holding my breath.
Webcast (TBD). I’d like to do a special FREE live webcast at a time TBD this month on my thoughts about couponing trends and predictions for 2013. Stay tuned.
DIY/Frugal Living. I will continue my focus to make The Coupon Project a place that inspires you to save money besides just using coupons. This means more posts on gardening, canning, recipes, and other tactics for doing it yourself and saving money.
Finish the How to Coupon series already. I had a great plan to redo my How to Coupon series last October. I got through about 7 or 8 posts and then life got crazy. I do intend to finish those. Sorry if you’ve been hanging since then.
Quality vs. quantity. My goal is to provide good cross section of top deals while still delivering the kind of content you won’t find at other deal blogs. I also don’t intend to overwhelm your feeds with 17 “*HOT* New $0.50 off coupon!” notices. It’s important to me that I continue to deliver at a pace I can reasonably sustain for a good work-life balance for my family and that you can reasonably follow day to day.
Fun and funny. I think the world needs more funny. I also think it’s time we get off our Pinteresty high horses, keep it real, and laugh at ourselves once in awhile. One of my biggest goals as a writer is to make more people laugh. Kind of a different goal for a coupon blog, but it’s something I value deeply.
What do you look forward to shopping for in January? What would you like to see here at The Coupon Project in January or in 2013? What kind of posts have been the most helpful to you?
I’m pleased to share with you the newStore Sales Cycles for 2013 (pdf)! I created this download originally three years ago as a way to help you anticipate what to expect to go on sale during the different months of the year. I’ve spent the better part of the morning sorting through my notes and posts from the last year to update this and make this as complete as possible.
It’s a new month – can you hardly believe it’s November already? I adore fall – the scents, the crispness, the coziness of it all! It’s also a time you’ll usually find me cooking and baking more. It’s also a great time to start stocking your pantry with essentials that will last you for months to come.
Here are my thoughts on some of the items we should watch for to go on sale this month:
Canned Goods. We should find all kinds of soups on sale this month, including an uptick in “cream of” type soups which lots of folks like to use in cooking. Believe it or not, this is also a great time of year to watch for sales on canned fruit, in particular, pineapple, which some people enjoy with ham.
Broth (all kinds!). For the cans, $0.50 or under is a strong price and for the 32-oz cartons, $1 or less is good. In years past, I have even found the 32-oz organic broth cartons for as low as $0.49 after sale and coupon. Broth is usually a fixture in store Mix and Match sales.
Cranberry Sauce and Pumpkin. A good benchmark price for these items would be $1. Anything less than that? Stock up, baby! We don’t typically see coupons put out for these hot items, however there was a Libby pumpkin/Carnation Milk coupon in last week’s inserts and last year we saw a hot Ocean Spray Cranberry sauce printable coupon. If you find them, snag them!
Coffee/tea/cocoa/cider. Who doesn’t love a hot drink to warm up? This is an exceptional time to start stocking up on cocoa, tea, and coffee if you drink them. I think a good stock up price in years past has been $0.50 for the boxes of Swiss Miss or Nestle Cocoa, but I consider anything under $1 worth looking at. (The cocoa is sometimes a part of Mix and Match sales!)
Turkey. I’m going to do my best to share the best turkey deals as I find them. I would say $0.29/lb is a good price to shoot for. Many stores will give you a price like this with additional grocery store purchase of say, $50 or more. So always weigh the cost involved to get the deal. Remember too that waiting too long to score the best deal may mean you have a frozen bird on your hands with not enough time to defrost. Plan accordingly!
Here are some of the fun things you can expect to see here at the blog during November:
How to Use Coupons. I have four posts left to finish my October series, How to Use Coupons. I hope this series is proving helpful for you!
Making Holiday Wishes Come True. Were you as touched as I was from the stories last year from the Making Holiday Wishes Come Truecontest? Well the folks at Fred Meyer were also touched and I’m so delighted to say they’ll be sponsoring the contest again this year! I’m in the process of working out the final details, but stay tuned. If you or someone you know is in need of a little magic this holiday season, you won’t want to miss this opportunity.
Holiday Series – December. This year, I’m collaborating with some blogging buddies of mine to bring you a very special holiday series. I’m not honestly sure if the series will run late November or start December, but stay tuned!
Black Friday/Cyber Monday. Get ready – you’ll likely notice an uptick of deals reported here at The Coupon Project in an effort to help you cross of those names off your holiday list! If there are particular deals you’re looking for, please leave a comment so I can keep this in the back of my mind.
What else would you like to see here at The Coupon Project this month? What deals are you hoping to find at the stores this month?
This month I’m going back to the basics and sharing how you can successfully use coupons in a post Extreme Couponing world. In case you missed the previous two posts in this series, you can go back and read the Introductory Post as well as Your New Approach to Grocery Shopping.
The Dirty “S” Word
Yup – I’m going to say it – it’s STOCKPILE. Unfortunately, you may have seen or heard some bad examples of people stocking up on items they buy with coupons to an excessive level. These people may even demonstrate an unhealthy sense of attachment to their stocks of cleaning supplies and canned soup or may stock up on items like diapers even though all their children are grown. Let me be clear: that is not at all what I intend to teach you to do!
Are there people out there who hoard or store more than they should? Perhaps so, but they are not my concern, nor should they deter you from keeping a well-stocked pantry. My goal today is to encourage you to take a look at how stockpiling can look and why you should consider it.
When managed wisely, a well-stocked pantry will enable you to meet some important home management goals. Here are a few I came up with:
Reduce stress & time associated with meal planning and shopping
Enable you to be more generous & hospitable with others
Inspire your meal plans
Assist your family in case of emergencies (natural disasters, income loss, medical bedrest, etc.)
I’m sure if you’ve been keeping a stockpile for awhile, you can no doubt think of additional benefits to my list.
The other day, I was recalling childhood visits to my grandparents’ house. My grandma had these shelves in a back area of her home where she would store (AKA “put up”) jars of produce she’d canned from her garden. Perhaps you had (or have!) a grandma or other relative who has a similar storage area. As I was reflecting on this it occurred to me that stockpiling is not a new concept! Having extra food on hand and/or preserving foods are age old traditions. Generations of people before us have understood the value of keeping food on hand.
How to Stockpile to Suit your Family’s Needs
Here is my definition for the kind of stockpiling I endorse:
Sensible stockpiling is buying items your family needs and uses when they are on sale and in quantities you can reasonably store and use before expiration. Sensible stockpiling also takes into account store sales cycles to maximize savings.
How this will actually look from family to family will differ, but the principles will remain the same! You are looking for sale items (and with coupons where possible!), and buying quantities to get your family through more than just that week’s worth of meals. These quantities aren’t willy-nilly, though. You must take into account your family’s storage space and expiration dates.
Now, if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard, “but our family doesn’t eat ____________ (fill in the blank)” I’d be a very wealthy woman indeed! The answer to this dilemma is actually quite simple: don’t buy it! In my last lesson I explained that you should be in control of the coupons, the coupons should not dictate what you buy. Same goes for your stockpile!
We very rarely eat frozen dinners around here (I’ll admit, I love me some Amy’s on occasion!), so I just pass up on the Banquet and Michelina’s dinners. Our family doesn’t eat them. But I will stock up on frozen fruit and vegetables when I see them! We don’t generally eat canned chili as I far prefer to make my own, but I will stock up on canned beans and tomatoes when they come on sale (heads up locals: they will be on sale starting this Sunday at Fred Meyer – Oct 7).
My personal approach is to stock up on cooking and baking basics I can stretch into lots of meals. This means I prefer to opt for canned and frozen beans and veggies, bags of flour, yeast, sugar, plain pasta, rice, and oatmeal as opposed to convenience meals. Ingredients can be turned into lots of meals and stretched, whereas convenience meals serve a very limited purpose. My intention is not to judge you if you eat these foods (I do on occasion myself), but to share that stocking up on ingredients is another way you can stretch your grocery dollars further!
Another point I’d like to make clear: you do not have to use a coupon on every item you stockpile. Buying foods in bulk (such as at WinCo), or growing your own and canning or preserving (as mentioned above) are additional ideas for building a stockpile that can complement your couponing efforts.
Creating a Food Inventory: Stockpile with a Purpose
So how can you manage what you have, and what you need?
A simple inventory list can solve this problem. Earlier this year, I shared how I created a first aid inventory list as well as a grocery one. You could do the same thing for household items, too. Begin by identifying the items you’re buying on a regular basis (non-perishable). Then establish quantities you would like to store for each of these items based on your storage space and how fast you go through them. As you begin to learn how sales cycle through at stores, you’ll begin to identify when to buy and when to wait. Set up a monthly routine of going through your stock so you’re always a bit ahead of the game as opposed to realizing you’re out of some essential ingredient when you need it.
Here’s how you can gain even more control on couponing and not get lost in deals, deals, deals… your food inventory list will help you zero in on the deals that are going to serve a purpose to your family.
In May 2011, I had the pleasure of sharing different family’s real stockpiles with you! This was important to me because I wanted to demonstrate that one family’s stockpile may look very different from another’s.
A family of two that eats a whole foods diet may have a smaller stockpile more focused on stores of whole grains, frozen produce, or perhaps they’ve chosen to only stock up on toiletries and household goods. A family of seven that does a lot of camping trips may have built some extra shelving to accommodate lots of canned goods. A family of four living in an apartment may have added some storage bins in a linen closet to store extra shampoo and toothpaste. All this to say, what and how you stockpile is truly dependent on your family’s diet, preferences, space, and goals.
Incidentally, here are those posts if you want to take a peek at how real people are really stockpiling:
I hope today’s post has helped clear up any confusion you might have had on this topic. I also hope it’s gotten you thinking about how buying items ahead before you need them can not only save you money, but help you live a simpler, less stressful life and one that empowers you to be more generous and giving with others.
PS…would you do better to just watch me teach on this topic? Check out the short YouTube video I recorded last year below (please note that the newspaper offer I refer to in the video has since expired), or you can watch a recorded webcast I did called Common Sense Stockpiling in June 2010 (about 30-40 minutes long).
If you have any questions on this topic, please leave a comment below. I’d also love to hear from those of you that have a stockpile – what other benefits have you found from this practice? Any advice you’d give newbies?
It’s one of my most favorite months of the year: SEPTEMBER! I adore everything about fall: the return to routine, the scents of apple and cinnamon, the coziness and crispness of it all.
I wanted to take some time out to share what I hope we’ll find on sale, along with my plans for the month.
What’s on Sale in September
Remember you can grab a free download of couponing trends I’ve noted. Some of these may be specific for my region (PNW) and are always more of a best guess based on past trends than a promise of any sort.
“Warm you up foods.” We should start to see soup and chili coupons trickle in, along with sales. In particular, Campbell’s. However I often found that store brands bested Campbell’s deals, even with sales and coupons.
Peanut Butter and jelly. Both items may go on sale especially the first part of the month. Peanut butter is one of those items you don’t see consistent sales on throughout the year, so I do recommend stocking up if you find a deal! My stockup price used to be $1, but given the price hikes in October of last year, I’d say if you find anything $1.50 or less, stock up.
Whole fryer chicken. With fall here, people like to think about cooking more traditional meals, such as roast chicken. Particularly watch Fred Meyer for strong deals on whole fryer. I would think $0.79/lb is a good price, but sometimes I’ve seen it dip for as low as $0.49/lb.
Fall cleaning/organizing items. I know fall cleaning is on a lot of our minds, and I would expect to see special deals on cleaners, organizers, and home fragrance items.
Pasta & Pasta Sauce. This is a good time of year to stock up on pasta and pasta sauce. You will usually find sales and coupons this time of year.
Toys. I have noted that we saw the first of the holiday toy sales and coupons in September, in particular Hasbro.
There are a few things you can look for here at The Coupon Project in September.
More deals, in general. As my kids return to school, I’ll have a bit more time to scout out and report deals. You still won’t find 20-30 deals reported here per day, but do look for a slight uptick in posts and unadvertised store deals.
Home routine challenge. I’ve been thinking a lot about fall cleaning and home routines and may do a mini-series/challenge on that topic.
Webcast. After a bit of a hiatus, I will do a live webcast later this month (time/topic TBD). Please let me know if you have any burning questions/topics you’d like to see addressed! (For previous webcasts, see my webcast page.)
Giveaways. I have a couple giveaways scheduled for this month including gift cards for Grocery Outlet and Whole Foods Market. Stay tuned if you enjoy either/both of those stores.
I am working on a series for October, but will not have one for September. I’m also planning a holiday series and am already in talks with Fred Meyer about bringing back the Making Wishes Come True holiday giveaway again for 2012! (Heads up, and stay tuned.)
What else do you expect we’ll see on sale in September? Any thoughts you have for me on the direction of the blog for the month of September?
Summer is marching right along and it’s now AUGUST! I wanted to take some time out to share my thoughts for what we might expect to see on sale, plus give you a preview of the fun and frugal things I’ll be doing at the blog. August: What Goes on Sale Looking at past years’ [...]
Old Mother Hubbard Went to the cupboard To get her poor dog a bone; But when she came there The cupboard was bare, And so the poor dog had none. – Mother Goose Today I’m concluding a series of posts I’ve done this month on how to get back into couponing. In case you missed [...]
We’re finally approaching summer…but the rain outside makes me wonder if Washington got the memo! As always, I like to kick off each month sharing what I think we should watch for in terms of stores. Why? Because the majority of my savings comes from store sales, not coupons. Think of coupons as the frosting [...]
Welcome to May! It’s time to chat about what I think you’ll find on sale, and what I’m up to around here. As I’ve said many times before, most of my savings actually comes just from taking advantage of store sales. Coupons are the frosting on the cake. By paying attention to store sales, you [...]
Hi. I'm Angela. My goal is to show you that using coupons is easy, fun, and an effective way to save money. I practice ethical, common sense couponing. I also write about frugal living topics including gardening and cooking. I'm blogging out of the greater Seattle/Tacoma area. I'm a proud firefighter's wife and mother of two. New? START HERE.
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