The pursuit of fresh, healthy food for my family is one of my highest priorities! While my goal is to grow and produce most of that food myself, there are times when supplementing from your local grocery can be a big help when stocking your pantry! Today, I want to discuss with you “How to Take Advantage of Grocery Store Loss Leaders”.
So, what exactly is a “Loss Leader”?
A “Loss Leader” is an item or product, usually a seasonal meat, produce or pantry item, that is on the front page of the store’s sale flyer.
The items are usually something that’s in season, that the store is willing to take a “loss” on, in order to get you in the store to buy something else at full price.
Smart shoppers take advantage of “loss leaders”!
This is a great opportunity to buy top quality food, at the peak of it’s ripeness, and put it up for your family to use at a later date!
I especially appreciate “loss leaders” when my garden isn’t performing well that year, or when the Thanksgiving turkey didn’t quite make it to Thanksgiving.
So, why not take advantage of these seasonal specials?
I’m writing this the week of Thanksgiving, and man oh man, do the grocery stores have specials going on!
Everything from .31 cent per pound turkeys to heavily discounted pantry items like stuffing mix, canned vegetables, cranberry sauce, baking items, etc.!
The holidays are a terrific time to grab up those specials and stock your pantry!
One item I keep an eye out for during the holidays is stick butter.
When it dips down in price to below $2 per pound, I’ll buy about 12# which will last my family a year.
Butter keeps well in the freezer!
This alone saves me over $200 a year! Sure, you might have to work around limits, but taking a couple kids or your spouse can help you to work around that.
Citrus is another item that I look for during the holidays! It’s in season during December-February so it’s at the peak of flavor…and at rock bottom prices!
I even use oranges to make my own Vitamin C capsules!
If you watch the grocery ads on-line each week, you’ll be able to “cherry pick” the items that are best for you!
If you don’t raise your own meat or have a local, organic source, holidays are a great time to stock up on meat from the grocery.
You can freeze your sale meat or you might even choose to can it!
Planning your meals around loss leaders each week will save you a ton of money on your food bill!
We’ve tried to move away from “what we’re in the mood for” and towards “What’s in season? What do we have a lot of?”.
Around Easter, you’ll find ham and turkey on sale.
Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day bring sales on beef, sausage, and hot dogs to grill out., plus buns and all of the condiments.
May, June and July bring in most of the berries into season which are great to freeze or make jam with!
Thanksgiving and Christmas bring turkey, ham, canned yams, canned vegetables and baking supplies.
With some budget planning, you’ll have the money to go buy a few months worth of meat, or even a year’s worth at the right price!
Don’t be afraid to ask the butcher for a bulk price if you decide to buy a lot! All they can do is say “no”.
Holiday sales can also offer great deals on in-season produce!
Whenever I see fruit for under $1 per pound, I buy it!
I have been known to bring home cases of strawberries, blueberries, pineapple and peaches to can and freeze at this price!
Asparagus comes into season in the spring, along with strawberries. If you don’t grow your own, or they haven’t come in yet, why not take advantage of these loss leaders?
The holidays often bring great deals on potatoes, white and sweet! When I see them at .50 per pound or less, I stock up!
Potatoes are a great source of nutritious calories for your family and there are so many ways to cook them up!
Potatoes store well and can also be pressure canned!
We enjoy a baked potato bar night at our house for dinner, loading them up with cheese and sour cream!
Bake a few extra and make fried potatoes the next night with your farm fresh eggs!
Cheap meals but very nutritious!
Make Money with Loss Leaders
Have you ever thought about creating a product that you could sell by using loss leaders?
Maybe you have a talent for making homemade jam, have you ever thought about making a small business from that?
By using loss leaders on fruit, you could make lots of jam to sell!
You could also make early Christmas gifts!
See how fun loss leaders are?
Holidays can also bring amazing deals on baking essentials, like flour, sugar, baking soda/powder, brown sugar, etc. I cook a lot from scratch, so these are everyday items for me.
Buying 50# bags of flour and sugar will keep you out of the stores, which will automatically save you money! Learn the unit prices in your area and watch to see how low these items will go, then scoop them up for your pantry!
Being a beekeeper, I stock up on sugar anytime and anywhere I see it less than .25 per pound! It doesn’t go bad, besides, I’ll use it before then anyway.
Final Thoughts on Loss Leaders
Before you purchase anything, make sure it’s really a good deal.
Sometimes, those “loss leader” flyers are deceptive, advertising food that isn’t really on sale.
So, know your prices!
Further, make sure you have a plan in place to deal with perishables.
You will lose all of your savings if your sale fruit sits and goes bad because you didn’t have time to deal with it.
Don’t be afraid to ask about “ugly fruit” that might not look beautiful to picky consumers, but would be perfect for making jam! Ask for a deal if you take a case.
I hope this helps you to expand your food storage systems! In a perfect world, we could grow it all, but I’m willing to take the deals when they’re out there.