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If you are looking to lower the costs of groceries, there are many things you can do.
You can shop at various stores, looking for the best prices, clip coupons, use cash back apps, and even shop sales.
But many people don’t realize that grocery store sales are in cycles.
And by taking advantage of these cycles, you can save yourself a lot of money.
In this post, I share with you how to understand these grocery store sales cycles so you can greatly reduce your grocery budget.
Table of Contents
Ultimate Guide To Grocery Store Sales Cycles
What Are Grocery Store Sales Cycles?
All grocery stores use a certain grocery sales cycle that rotates throughout the year.
Once you learn this basic cycle, you can use it to find the next sale near you.
This cycle usually reflects holidays, seasonal changes, and monthly celebrations such as National Dairy Month.
In many cases, it goes deeper than this.
You will see certain items on sale every few months.
And in some cases, you will see them on different sales.
For example, there was a sale on muffins once where the offer was 50% off.
But then a month later, there was a better deal, buy 1 get 2 free.
Understanding when these sales occur is one of the most important things you can do to save money at the grocery store.
This quick guide will help you learn everything you need to know about the grocery sales cycles.
January is National Oatmeal Month, so you can start the new year off by buying lots of hot and cold cereals.
In addition to hot breakfast items, this is also the time of year when people are making resolutions to lose weight.
This means you can usually find deals on diet food and frozen meals.
There are lots of holidays in February and you can sometimes find early discounts for these holidays in January.
You are especially likely to start seeing discounts for the Super Bowl and Valentines’ Day in January.
There are lots of deals happening in February.
Every year the Super Bowl is held early in the month.
This is a great time to find deals on snacks, beer, and other party supplies.
National Canned Food Month is in February.
This is a great time to get canned foods such as fruit, vegetables, soups, and more.
In addition to National Canned Food Month and the Super Bowl, Chinese New Year falls between January and February.
There are usually grocery sale cycles on Chinese food during this month.
Valentines’ Day is another holiday in February.
When Valentines’ Day is over, it is a good time to look for deals on chocolate, cheese, wine, and flowers.
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March is the slowest month in terms of grocery store sales.
There are no major holidays in March, unless it is a year when Easter is being celebrated early.
However March is frozen food month.
As such, you can stock up on various frozen foods at a discount.
In April, people celebrate Easter.
This means your grocery store usually offers sales on ham and other staple Easter dinner foods.
It is also common for stores to offer promotions to celebrate Earth Day.
This means you can usually save money on organic foods, reusable bags, plastic bottles, as well as CFL and LED lighting.
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Just be sure to compare prices.
Grocery stores tend to charge more for household items, so even though these items are on sale, you still might find them cheaper at discount stores.
Cinco De Mayo falls in early May.
This is a good time to get deals on things like chips, beans, tortillas, and other Tex Mex foods.
Mothers’ Day is also in May.
This is a good time to stock up on flowers and fragrance.
Memorial Day is also in May.
This is when you will find sale prices on hot dogs, deli platters, potato chips, snack foods, paper plates, grilling meats, BBQ sauce, sandwich items, and summer supplies.
As the weather warms up, more people are out gardening.
This means that you can usually find sales cycles on gardening supplies.
The summer is dairy season and June is National Dairy Month.
There are usually deals to be found on milk, ice cream, yogurt, cheese, eggs and other dairy products.
This is also usually when deals start for 4th of July sales.
June is also a good time to start saving money on your grocery budget by finding deals on seasonal produce.
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Grocery stores also typically offer deals on potato chips, hot dogs, grilling meats, BBQ sauce, sour cream dips, and salad dressing.
Did you know that July is National Ice Cream Month?
There’s nothing more satisfying than a nice bowl of ice cream on a hot summer day, so make sure you check out the National Ice Cream Month deals that are offered in July.
4th of July is also a popular time for barbeques, so make sure you check out the July BBQ sales available on cook out products.
You can usually find huge savings on folding tables and chairs, buns, hot dogs, burgers, chips, soda, alcohol, candy, non-food items, and more.
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In August you can find grocery sales cycles on hot dogs, potato chips, and corned beef.
You can get school sales on school supplies as well as easy lunch items, such as Lunchables, lunch boxes, lunch meat, pudding cups, and produce sales.
This is also the height of summer, so you can get items for summer fun such as sunscreen, bug spray, and charcoal.
September is barbeque season.
You can get good deals on hot dogs, BBQ sauce, seasonal produce, sandwich items, burgers, chips, and buns.
September is also a time of great deals on back to school supplies.
You can get supplies for the holidays as well as basic school supplies like pencils, pens, markers, folders, and binders.
Labor Day is in September.
Just like how Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer, Labor Day marks the traditional end of summer.
You can find sale cycles on swim suits, pool products, gardening supplies, and other items of summer fun discounted as the stores want to get rid of this inventory.
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October is National Seafood Month.
You can get deals on lobster, fish, sushi, and more.
In addition to National Seafood Month, October is also Halloween.
You can get deals on party supplies, candy, pumpkin spice, pumpkins, cranberry sauce, gravy mixes, cake mixes, baking chips, and baking mixes.
October is when cold medicines usually go on sale.
Another grocery sales cycle that happens in October is National Shelter Dog Month.
This is a good time to get the lowest price on dog food.
In early November, you can get great deals on candy, now that Halloween is over.
You can also snag deals on Halloween costumes and decorations.
You also might find sales for Veterans Day.
These can include anything from household items to food to furniture.
Of course, the biggest sales cycles in November are for Thanksgiving.
This is a time when you can find the lowest price on just about any food you can imagine.
This includes baking supplies, chocolate chips, canned pumpkin, frozen pies, cake mixes, cream cheese, canned veggies, corned beef, pie crust, baking chips, cranberry sauce, boxed potatoes, and gravy mixes.
Of course, the biggest sales will always be on turkey.
December is one of the busiest times to go to the grocery store, because everyone is getting ready for Christmas.
You can find deals on almost everything in December.
There will be deals on eggnog, food, canned pumpkin, baking supplies, party supplies, chocolate chips, deserts, drinks, and more.
Other foods that you can find sales cycles on are frozen pies, instant potatoes, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, wrapping paper, and cake mix.
Other Sales Cycles
While this list covers the typical things you will see go on sale each month, there are other sales to be aware of.
Firstly are loss leaders.
These are items that the store sells for a loss just to get you to come in.
Why would they do this?
Because they get you to buy other things you didn’t plan on buying.
For example, years ago I worked at an electronics retail store.
On Black Friday, we would sell all DVDs for $1.
These were our loss leaders.
We got you into the store to buy the DVDs.
But while there, you see other sales and might buy a new TV or camera.
The same thing works at the supermarket.
You will see a great sale on a particular item to get you to come in.
What you should do is have a notebook with all of these sales.
Make note of the date and the item and sale price.
Do this for a few months and you will notice a trend and can stock up when the best sale happens.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are a lot of questions about grocery store sales cycles.
Here are the most common ones answered for you.
How often do groceries go on sale?
Grocery stores items usually go on sale based around a yearly sales cycle.
For most grocery stores, the sales cycle is every six weeks or three months.
In the case of larger chains, like Kroger, you might see the cycle more frequently than this, like every four weeks.
How do you shop for grocery store sales?
The best way to shop for grocery store sales is to check around at your local grocery store to see what food items are going on sale during every month.
You can usually find coupons online or when you visit your local store.
Then plan your shopping trips around what is on sale.
Stock up, within reason of course, to save the most money.
What is the cheapest day to grocery shop?
Grocery sale cycles do not just exist from month to month, they also change from day to day.
The cheapest days to go grocery shopping are usually anywhere from Tuesday to Friday.
Bread and beer for example, usually go on sale on Wednesday.
Snacks are often cheaper on Thursdays.
To get the best deal on meat, it is not about the day, but the time.
Most manager specials on meat are marked between 6am and 8am.
So the earlier you get to the store, the better your odds of getting great deals.
What is the most profitable item in a grocery store?
The most profitable items in most grocery stores tend to be staple food products that everybody needs.
These include items like body care products, baked bread, reusable shopping bags, deli meats, cheese and other dairy products, seasonal produce, and frozen food.
What are the busiest grocery store days?
Sunday is the busiest day of the week for grocery shopping.
This is followed by Saturday and then Friday.
There is your guide to grocery store sales cycles.
Every grocery store operates around a rotating sale cycle.
If you learn the basic sale cycles you will have a much easier time finding bargain deals on the groceries that you need to feed you and your family.
These cycles usually reflect seasonal changes and major holidays.
Likewise, these sale cycles are affected by seasonal changes as well.
National celebration months are also a factor.
Now that you know these sale cycles and when your favorite grocery items are going to go on a sale, you know when you can scoop the best bargain discounts on your favorite things.
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I have over 15 years experience in the financial services industry and 20 years investing in the stock market. I have both my undergrad and graduate degrees in Finance, and am FINRA Series 65 licensed and have a Certificate in Financial Planning.
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