‘Tis the Season for Savings!

It’s common knowledge that particular products go on sale during certain times of the year. You may even be taking advantage of these sales when they come around, but are you buying enough to last until the next sale? This is something that veteran coupon queens (and kings) do on a regular basis. It’s known as “Seasonal Buying.”

Manufacturers frequently release coupons to coincide with these sales making the deals even better. Seasonal buying won’t just save you money; it will also save you time and stress. How? Let’s consider a real-life example, which happened a few years ago to my best friend.

Nicholle Bays, mother of four boys, sighed in exasperation, “Brayden, why didn’t you tell me you needed poster board for tomorrow’s art project when we were at the store on Tuesday?” “Sorry mom, I forgot,” Brayden replied. Braving the snow, Nicholle packed up all four kids into the van in search of poster board. Two stores and one hour later, she arrived back home feeling worn out and irritated at having to over-pay for school supplies.

If you’ve got school-aged kids at home, I’ll bet that you can relate to Nicholle’s experience! However, now that she’s learned about seasonal buying, this is a rare occurrence in the Bays’ household. In fact, Nicholle now has a shelf in one of her closets stocked with crayons, notebooks, filler paper, glue sticks, pencils, and yes, extra poster board.

You’ve probably noticed that school and office supplies are on sale right now, deeply discounted, since it’s the beginning of the school year. At my local stores, I’ve seen great back-to-school deals like a box of 24 crayons for a quarter (normally $1 or more) and composition books for 50 cents apiece (normally $2.50 each). Now is the time to buy your office and school supplies for the entire year! I frequently purchase pens and pads of paper for my business for free or cheap with coupons this time of year and you can too. Yes, you do need a little bit of space to store your seasonal buys but it is well worth the money you save.

With Labor Day upon us, the “last hurrah” of summer, it’s a great time to stock up on hot dogs, hamburgers, buns, and other picnic supplies. You won’t likely see great sales on these items again until Memorial Day next year. Hot dogs are a staple in most households with kids and I know moms who stock up and freeze several months’ worth of them now.

Here’s a seasonal buying guide for you to follow over the next few months:

  • August and September – office and school supplies, hot dogs, hamburgers, buns, condiments (ketchup, mustard, mayo, steak sauce), and chips.
  • October – If you’re in charge of filling the office candy jar (or you just love chocolate or other candy), stock up on the mini candy bars you’ll find on sale around Halloween. If you can wait a day or two after the holiday, you can get it on clearance and freeze it.
  • November – The holiday baking season starts now. Stock your pantry with enough sugar, flour, spices, chocolate chips, and nuts to last you all year. Most of these will keep that long on the shelf or in the freezer. (Check expiration dates on the items you’re buying to make sure you’ll use them before they go bad.)
  • December – Take advantage of the after-Christmas sales to stock up on wrapping paper, bows, tape, greeting cards, and tissue paper for next year. I also look for wrapping paper that could be used for other occasions like birthdays and weddings. Plain silver or gold foil paper is a good choice.

I hope that you will give seasonal buying a try and see how much money it saves your family. Around here, we all like our wallets to be fat, don’t we?

Christine Luken is a Coupon Queen, Financial Coach, and author of the e-book, “Confessions of a Coupon Queen: Secrets Retailers Don’t Want You to Know.” She has a passion for helping families save money so they can build up their savings and pay off their debt. Christine lives in the Greater Cincinnati area with her husband, Nick, and two cats, Peanut and Little Tiny. In her spare time, you can find Christine on the golf course, at the mall shopping for shoes (coupons in hand!), or at home watching cage fighting with her husband. You can reach her at strongtower.christine@gmail.com or on her website: yourstrongtower.com

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