summer

I’m a Mom of 6 — These Summer Sales Help Me Stock Up on Groceries for the Year

published Jul 29, 2022
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With inflation being what it is and prices rising at the pump, it’s now more important than ever to have some time-tested strategies for saving on food expenses. You gotta eat, but you might as well get that grocery bill as low as you can — and free up your budget for other essentials. With five kids still at home, I’ve been revisiting the tactics I learned from years past.

The biggest money-saver I rediscovered? Summer sales! While every season has its perks, I find summer the most helpful in feeding my family and stretching my dollars well past these warm-weather months. Here are three sales I seek out, plus a tip on how to get the scoop on discounted meats.

1. Holiday-Centric, Shelf-Stable Staples

Around the summer holidays — Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day — and even the days in between, grocery stores will offer heavily reduced pricing on condiments, certain chips, and s’mores fixings. Often, they do this to get you in the door so that you’ll buy other things while you’re there. This is the time to load up on these items! I use them well past the season and up to a year later, depending on their best by dates. (Tip: Check these dates to make sure you’ll have enough time to use up whatever items you’re purchasing for the coming months.) I’ve yet to meet anyone who’s declined a s’more in December.

2. In-Season Fruit and Vegetables

In-season produce is almost always at its tastiest, most abundant, and, this is key, best-priced. Whenever I spot a good deal or an unexpected sales tag, I’ll buy our favorites in bulk and freeze (or can!) them to use in recipes down the road. For my family, this means snatching up berries and cherries for smoothies and onions and bell peppers to flash freeze for stir-fries. There’s no need for blanching, so it’s a fairly quick and easy process (although other items will benefit from a quick dip in a pot of boiling water). Other summer produce I recommend you buy and freeze for later: stone fruit, melons, eggplant, summer squash, sweet corn, and tomatoes.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

3. Grilling Meats

While you might not cook out during the cooler months, there’s plenty of opportunity to enjoy ribs, hot dogs, brats, and burgers throughout the year. In my experience, I’ve seen the best prices in the summer (and possibly again around Super Bowl time). I’ve been spending around $3 per pound or less this season. Like the fresh produce and shelf-stable staples, I buy enough now to last me through the coming months, sometimes longer, and stash them in the freezer. To get the scoop on sales, befriend the meat managers at your local grocery stores. They’ll let you know when markdowns on surplus items are hitting shelves. I’ve found some killer deals this way!

What summer groceries do you stock up on for the rest of the year? Tell us in the comments below!