Although I hold memberships at bulk retailers and restaurant supply shops, the next 60 days in the world of food can yield some of the best bargain basement prices you'll see all year round. We tend to shy away from pre-made/packaged foods and stick to whole ingredients, but there are a few exceptions on the list below.
Even though folks in small apartments might not have space to store a cart full of these items, one or two may fit in your freezer or refrigerator, and save you money in the long run of the holiday season.
Here are 10 things to look for that won't be cheaper any other time during the next year!
1. Butter - It might as well be gold in our kitchen, but at prices hovering around $4 a box for most of the year, it's just ridiculous to not purchase it on sale during the holidays. You'll see the price go down at major chain grocers to around the $1.99 mark and since it freezes nicely, you're all set. Don't be afraid to just ask for a case. Your local dairy stocker will thank you.
2. Crackers - Although you can absolutely make crackers on your own, when it comes to entertaining, it might not be at the top of your list if they're just put out for a snack instead of a large feature of the meal. Look for sales on snack crackers or saltines; they have been known to bottom out between $0.75-$1.00 per box!
3. Poultry - Even if you have your fair share of turkey over the next several months, that doesn't mean it stopped being an inexpensive food choice during the next few months. Chicken and those cute little Cornish hens will be on sale with turkey, and although prices are great the week before a holiday, the weeks following will see even better price points. Stores need to empty their freezers to make room for new product and you'll see things go down to $.40/lb! Again, freeze for winter stews and quick meals.
4. Sugar - Although sugar is a pantry baking staple, it's not really all that cheap. Look for it to take $1-$2 price cut, with brown sugar and powdered sugar taking the largest price dip. (Sale prices often mean that customers are limited to one or two per purchase, but there's no shame in making 10 purchases in a row. Just add a pack of gum or another grocery item to each one and your sad-eyed cashier might be willing to combine them all into one transaction!)
5. Frozen Vegetables - While most of us are busy planning to roast trays of winter vegetables, it doesn't mean that the bagged industry isn't vying for your dollar as well. Through the year you'll see sale prices as low as $1.00/bag, but through the holidays that number can drop by a solid quarter or two! We like to stock up on frozen peas (which are nearly as good as fresh, depending on the brand) and spinach for quick stir-fries.
6. Bacon - Usually hanging around between $2.50-$6.00 price range, bacon has been known to drop to $1.50 a pack. Since it freezes like a champ, it's a great item to stock up on to have around for more than just breakfast.
7. Oil - Although we don't really go through a great deal of oil, since we've started making most of our cupcakes vegan (they're really that good) we go through more than we used to. Aside from that, frying up a batch of homemade onion rings or buffalo wings is always a plus, but the oil to fry it in can be more expensive than the actual food itself! Check grocery stores as well as hardware stores (where they sell turkey fryers) for ridiculously great deals on oil. Get a gallon for $20 instead of $30-35!
8. Nuts - Our favorite on-the-go source of protein that packs some serious snack potential is nuts. They're rather pricey most other times through the year, but you can find them at reduced prices at bulk retailers and grocery stores. Look for containers of "holiday nut varieties" and keep them in a cool dark place in your pantry away from light or heat and they'll easily last an entire year.
9. Plastics, Foils, Papers, Storage Containers - Although we strive to be as eco-friendly in the kitchen as time and money allows, many kitchen staples such as plastic bags or wrap and parchment paper or aluminum foil (even reusable containers!) all go on sale for super low prices. If that's something you household uses, stocking up now will save you cash throughout the entire year!
10. Cupcake Liners - Although we're still fans of cutting our own liners from parchment paper, that might seem like one step too many for some. Cupcake liners normally hover around the $2.75-$3.00 range and although that's ok for a random muffin session, if you'll be baking cupcakes for a large engagement such as a wedding or birthday blow out, buying them now can save you pennies that could otherwise be spent elsewhere!
Additionally: Along with this list you'll find most things in the baking aisle on sale at some point in the season and although boxed pudding or cake mixes aren't as tasty as the real thing, it never hurts to have one or two floating around your pantry. Also, things like dried fruits hop on sale as do chocolate chips and other cookie mix-ins!
What do you hunt for on sale during the holiday shopping season? Let us know in the comments below!