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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 Save Money on Groceries by Using Loss Leaders”.
What exactly is a “Loss Leader”?
A “Loss Leader” is an item or product, usually meat or produce, that is on the front of the store’s sale flyer. These items change weekly . 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 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 must admit that I am not a loyal grocery store shopper. Price and quality will dictate where I shop. Nor am I a couponer. Sunday afternoons, I will scan the grocery ads from the apps on my phone (we do not buy the paper) and look for anything amazing that I feel my family would benefit from. Most of the time, there isn’t.
However, around the holidays can be an awesome time to catch “rock bottom” pricing on essential items to stock up!
This week, I noticed Kroger had quite a few “loss leader” sale items for the upcoming Easter holiday. So many, in fact, that I made a special trip to take advantage of them. This is the kind of sale you’re looking for.
I will not run all the way into town for one sale item. Breaking from my routines on the farm will cost me more at the end of the day, so it really needs to be worth the drive.
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. Thanksgiving and Christmas bring turkey and ham once again.
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! Asparagus was one of the items on Kroger’s sale flyer and I bought some. Yes, I have an asparagus patch but it hasn’t come in yet!
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!
May and June bring tons of fresh fruit into season, so look for that “rock bottom” price in your area. For me, in SW Ohio, any fruit under $1 gets my attention.
I have been known to bring home cases of strawberries, blueberries, pineapple and peaches to can and freeze at this price!
Another wonderful bonus to “loss leader” fruit is that I can bring it home to make fresh jams and jellies to sell to my egg customers! My clients love to get an email from me saying that I just made strawberry jam that week! How much more fresh can you get than that??!! It sells out very quickly. Then I’ll keep the fruit I’ve grown for the family!
I also use “loss leader” fruit to get a head start on gift-giving! Store some of those yummies away for when you need a quick hostess gift or a thank you gift!
Holidays can also bring amazing deals on baking essentials, like butter, flour, sugar, baking soda/powder, brown sugar, etc. I cook a lot from scratch, so these are everyday items for me.
Every year around Christmas, I wait until stick butter hits it’s lowest price and then I buy a year’s worth! (A family with 4 people use about a pound of butter a week, but we use 1 1/2-2 ).
I keep it in the freezer and don’t need butter again until the next year. 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.
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 anyways.
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. 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.