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Eating Healthy on a Budget Series – Sales Cycles

October 18, 2012

One of the most important keys to eating healthy on a budget is watching sales cycles.  I live in Virginia. which is in the southern part of the US. Here the sales cycles range from 6-8 weeks most of the time. Your sales cycles can vary depending on what part of the country your in,  and how many stores you have access to.

The picture I chose is a picture of a Truvia deal I did a few weeks ago at CVS.

They had 40 ct packages on sale for $3.99

(4) Truvia  $3.99 ea

– (4)  $2/1 coupons

The Truvia ended up being .99 ea.  I only use natural sweeteners so I was thrilled to get this deal.

Sales cycles are important because they give you an idea of how much you need to buy to last you until the next sale. I’m sure many of you have heard of stockpiling.  A simple way of thinking about stockpiling is buying enough of the items that your family uses the most of to last you until the next sale.

As you shop at your local grocery stores on a regular basis, you’ll notice a pattern  to how often your favorite items go on sale.  In my experience, certain items don’t go on sale as  often,  I try to buy 3 months of that.  For example,  the  cereal’s I buy  don’t always go on sale  in a 6-8 week cycle in my local grocery store.  This may be because  I only have one local grocery store that has really good  sales and promo’s on cereal. Another factor is that I am particular about the cereal I buy,  I try to buy whole grain cereals,  sugary cereals go on sale a bit more than healthier cereals. One last factor is that I won’t pay more than $1.50 for cereal,  it’s silly I know. 😉   Chicken seems to go on sale a few times a month in my local grocery store,  whether it be boneless skinless chicken breast,  chicken legs and thighs, or Perdue Oven Stuffer Roasters.

For me, it’s buying enough to last my family 6-8 weeks for most items.  Here’s a quick example of why stockpiling works for me. Last week my local grocery store had a sale and a promo on  Honey Nut Cheerios and Multi-Grain Cheerios, when you buy $25 worth you get $10 instantly. I tend to buy a 3 month stockpile of cereal.

This is the transaction I did. I don’t have the receipt so I don’t have the exact total.

(6) boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios $2.69 ea

(4)boxes of Multi-Grain Cheerios $2.69 ea

– (2) coupons for $.75 off Multi-Grain Cheerios previously available (first one doubled to $1)

– (4) .50/1 coupons for Honey Nut Cheerios previously available

– (2) .60/1 coupons for Honey Nut Cheerios previously available

– $10 from the weekly promotion

Using these coupons the total would be $11.60 for 10 boxes of cereal.  This is an awesome deal!

Using cereal as an example again,  here’s a general idea of  what a sales cycle would look like for breakfast items .

Week 1                                                                      Week 2                                                                                                                            

Cheerios $3                                                            Cheerios $4.oo

Quaker Oats $2                                                     Quaker Oats $1.50

Poptarts $2.50                                                     Poptarts $2.00

Giant Brand Waffles $1.50                                 Giant Waffles $2.00

Week 3                                                                  Week 4 

Cheerios $3.50                                                  Cheerios  $2.50  ($10 off when you buy $25)

Quaker Oats $2.50                                           Quaker $2.50

Poptarts $1.50                                                   Poptarts $2.50

Giant Brand Waffles $2.50                           Giant Brand Waffles $2.25

Sales Cycles run anywhere from full price to 40% – 50% off full price, before coupons. Coupons make these deals even better.  Remember though that the biggest discount always come from the sales and promo’s,  coupons are always a nice bonus. Another to  keep in mind is that every week ONE breakfast is at a rock bottom price before coupons.  For example, if you’re low on cereal on Week 2,  you can get a great deal on Oatmeal.

As you can see,  it really helps  pay attention to sales and when they cycle. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a really good cereal sale on the cereal’s I buy.  Sales Cycles are what make grocery stores stand out from super-centers  A store that has an “Every Day Low Price” cannot  offer a promotion for buy $25 worth and get $10 off.  They would lose too much money.  🙂  Grocery Stores have more wiggle room because their prices for the most part are higher,  BUT every week they offer certain products at a rock bottom price to get you in the door. They do this hoping that you’ll buy more items that are more expensive than a super-center.  To make the most of your weekly grocery budget,  one of the main tools that you can use is a grocery store by buying ONLY the items that they offering at a rock bottom price if your family uses them.

Every week,  grocery store have produce at rock bottom prices as well.  A few examples I’ve seen lately are tomatoes for under a $1 a pound, romaine lettuce for Buy One Get One Free,  bagged salad for $1, and organic romaine for $2.99 for a 3 pack.  Apples are in season right now, and I’ve seen them go for $1 a pound or less at local grocery store.  This week  tangerines are $5.99 for 5 pounds.  These are just a few examples of the great deals on produce that you can find if you pay attention to sales cycles.

Here are a couple of deal scenarios I’m doing this week that included healthy products. Please keep in mind that with my current budget I can’t go completely organic.  In the future I’d like to try more organic products, right now I’m feeding my family as healthfully as I can on our current budget. 🙂

DEAL SCENARIO #1

(4) Go Gurts @$2.50

– (2) .75/2 Yoplait Go Gurt coupon from the SS 9/9 and the GM 10/7

(4) Yoplait  Trix Yogurt $1.89

– (2) .75/2 Yoplait Go Gurt coupon from the SS 10/9 and GM 10/7

(1) Food Should Taste Good

– (1) $1/1 Food Should Taste Good 

– $7 for promo

Total $9  for all 9 items This is a really good deal!

DEAL SCENARIO #2

(8) Progresso Soup $1.50 ea

– (2)  $1/4 Progresso Soups SS 9/9

(2) Cascadian Farm  Granola Bars $3.33 ea

– (2) .85/1 coupons

(1) Progresso Recipe Cooking Sauces

-.50/1 Progresso Recipe Cooking Sauce SS 9/9

(1) Larabar $1.25

Total Out of Pocket $9.39  This is an also an awesome deal.

I’m really excited to be trying the Cascadian Farm, and the Food Should Taste Good products.

Many families trying to save can find themselves overwhelmed at first. 🙂  My advice to you is to start slow,  when the items that your family uses go on sale buy a couple extra. There’s no need to stock up on everything at the same time. The sale will come around again I promise you. 🙂  I’m Italian and I love my pasta,  so when it goes on sale I stock up. If your family uses more rice than pasta, there’s no need for you to stock up on pasta. 🙂  Remember, you only need to buy enough to last you 3 months tops.  😉 Focus on one grocery store and one drug store, if there’s you need that isn’t on sale buy it at a super-center or a dollar store.  It’s also good to be flexible and plan your meals around what’s on sale.  The next part of this series is focused on Menu Planning, don’t worry I keep it really simple.  🙂

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 18, 2012 3:42 am

    My question is: how do you know how long the Cycle is? Do they vary? If you figure it out, can you always count on it~or have you run out of stuff because you planed on it being 8 weeks until the next sale and it was 12? I hope you don’t think I’m being mean, I am just trying to get a hang of couponing and finding deals on a regular basis.

  2. October 18, 2012 4:14 am

    Hey Dawn! That’s a great question. I’m so glad you asked me. 🙂 Sometimes cycles do vary, to be on the safe side buy 3 months.(especially with cereal) 🙂 It’s not an exact science, but after shopping at the same stores for a while you’ll definitely a pattern of how often things go on sale.

    Most weeks, there’s some kind of meat on sale. Chicken goes on sale ALOT, most weeks there’s a sale on either chicken legs and thighs, or boneless skinless chicken breasts. There are sales on produce every week, sometimes you may want to flexible. For example, if chicken legs, rice, and tomatoes are at a rock bottom price, but beef, pasta, and corn are full price. Guess what I’ll be incorporating into my menu a few times that week? 🙂

    Cereal sales and promo’s are a bit more spread out, it’s been a while since I’ve seen a really good price on it. Another thing to consider is that I have only ONE really good grocery store. If you live near a big city, you might have a lot more of a variety of stores to choose from. This will give more access to great sales. I hope this answers your question. 🙂 I really appreciate your input. I’ll update my post a little to emphasize that for certain items it does vary a little.

  3. October 18, 2012 5:29 am

    We have a big freezer, so we stock up on chicken (especially the legs and wings) when they go on sale. Is there any way to store salad/lettuce for a long time? We buy the bags and boxes of salad and it seems to be gross after only a few days…and it’s SO expensive when not on sale. The Beanie Babies love salad, and it’s SO healthy that I don’t want to tell them “no, it’s too expensive”, nor do I want to give them [chips or] something less healthy as a different side.

    I have a blogging calendar, maybe I need a “food on sale” calendar now, too 🙂

    Yes, I like the added week prices.

  4. October 18, 2012 5:47 am

    You’re right salad does go bad quickly. I buy salad every week, sometimes it’s romaine, other times it’s iceburg, I sometimes buy bagged salad if I can get it for $1 as well. Heads of romaine or iceburg lettuce, last longer then precut bagged salad. Once salad is sliced or shredded it’s days are very numbered. 🙂 One way to offset the cost of perishable produce is to save what you can on non perishables and items that can be frozen, I pack my little girl lunches and save money where I can so I can spend $15-20 a week on produce. I love frozen veggies as well, this time of year they go on sale for $1 a bag which is great for weeks where I can’t spend $15 on produce.

    Here are some fruits and veggies that can last a while
    Frozen veggies
    carrots
    apples ( when stored properly)
    oranges (when stored properly)
    berries can freeze really well
    celery
    potatoes

    I’m glad the weekly prices were helpful :), every week there are items that are priced low to get customers into the store. There are items in every dept produce, canned goods, breakfast, bread, meat, dairy, and so on. You can save a lot of money just by paying attention to what those items are. 🙂 While coupons can save you money, the majority of savings come from the store’s
    prices / promotions.

    Thanks for stopping by Dawn! I appreciate your input and comments.

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