e-Course: Clearance & Bulk Shopping

by Beth Montgomery on April 9, 2010 · 1 comment

in Coupons & Rebates, Tips & Basics

This is Part 9 of the 30-day Savings Soiree e-course by In Good Cents. View the most recent course in this series or head to the Saving Soiree e-course main menu.

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We’re still talking about sales.   We’ve covered loss leaders and the sale cycle, but now we’re going to touch upon buying in bulk and clearance.   And tomorrow, we finally move on to the coupons, so stay tuned!

- – Clearance – -

So many shy away from the clearance.   It’s “old” products.   They’re about to go bad.   They are past their prime.   Whatever your excuse, it’s time to toss it aside and be brave!

So first, why is it on clearance?

Holiday/ Special Occasion
The first and most obvious is holiday and special occasion items that go on clearance.   We all look for these to snag lights for next years tree super cheap and maybe stockpile Cadbury eggs (oh, wait… is that just me?).   It’s a great time to plan ahead for next year or just grab some things we love to make it until the next holiday when they make their appearance (But those Cadbury eggs should be available year long! Who’s with me?!).

Seasonal
From clothes to fruits, there are always seasonal items and when the season ends, the stores have to clear the shelves.   When it comes to clothes, there aren’t many worries, but what about those fruits and vegetables?   Stock up on those too!   Even if you can’t use them all before they’ll go bad, you can chop them up to freeze and toss them in meals or breads.   Or you can have a cooking day and make some freezer meals to save yourself some time in the future.

Product Change
Whenever there is the tiniest product change from new packaging to a change in ingredients, we have to make way.   As I mentioned, no one likes “old” products, so stores and manufacturers work hard to clear the shelves for the newest version.

Shelf Life
Yes, the life of products must come to an end, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s useless.   I already talked about how to revive those fruits and vegetables to make them useful.   But what about milk?   Meat?

They’re usable too!   Clearanced or markdown meat simply means it can no longer be refrigerated, but it doesn’t mean you can’t freeze it.   You can.   For up to 6 months or longer.   I stock up on steaks, chicken, and some other typically expensive meats this way.   And even milk can be frozen or bring it home and bake up pancakes, waffles, and whatever else your mind can imagine to use it all up and extend it’s life.

We can’t predict when every product will go on clearance, since, like with markdown products,   it will depend upon the product, store, city, and so many other factors.   Here’s what we can anticipate though:

  • January
    • Calendars, Planners, & Dated Items
    • Christmas, Hanukkah, & New Years Products & Foods
    • Winter Clothes
    • Computers
    • Candles
  • February
    • Left-Over Christmas Toys
    • Chocolate
    • Sexual Health Products (jellies, condoms, etc…)
    • Valentine’s Day, Chinese New Year, Groundhog Day, President’s Day & New Years Foods & Products
  • March
    • Winter Products & Foods (chili, hot chocolate)
    • Frozen Novelty Foods (to make way for new)
    • St. Patrick’s Day & Mardi Gras Foods & Products
  • April
    • Olive Oil (to make way for new)
    • Winter Products & Foods (chili, hot chocolate)
    • Frozen Novelty Foods (to make way for new)
    • Earth Day & Arbor Day Foods & Products
  • May
    • Memorial Day, May Day, Cinco de Mayo, & Mother’s Day Food & Products
  • June
    • Father’s Day & Easter Foods & Products
  • July
    • 4th of July and Parent’s Day Food & Products
  • August
    • Patio Furniture, Garden Supplies, and Outdoor Items
    • Pools, Inflatables, & Summer Toys
    • Barbecue Equipment & Supplies
    • White Clothing, Linens, and Decor
    • Sunscreen, Bathing Suits, Sun Hats, & Summer Products
    • Insect Repellent & Camping Equipment & Products
    • Summer Clothing & Products
  • September
    • Summer Foods & Products (pools, hot dogs, etc…)
    • Picnic Supplies & Foods
    • Labor Day, Rosh Hashanah, & Patriot Day Foods & Products
    • Barbecue Equipment & Supplies
    • Bikes, Roller Skates, Scooters, & Outsie Toys
    • Gardening Supplies & Tools
  • October
    • Clearance of Products for New Holiday Flavors & Packaging
    • Halloween, Columbus Day, & Daylight Savings Food & Products
    • Toys (to make way for new)
  • November
    • Pre-Holiday Clearance
    • Election Day, Veteran’s Day, & Thanksgiving Foods & Products
  • December
    • Thanksgiving Foods & Products
    • Fall Crafts & Decor
    • Fall Baking Foods & Equipment

- – Buying in Bulk – -

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but you need to hear it again.   When shopping in bulk, beware.   Warehouses entice us with huge towers of toilet paper and bottles of laundry detergent that we can barely lift into our cart.   But is buying the biggest size always best?

NO!

It’s true that some things are cheaper in bulk, like my contact solution for example, but many things we are most likely to stock up on like paper towels and diapers are often 15-55% less expensive at the grocery store before a coupon is even factored into the mix.

Lets look at an example:

Pampers Cruisers
Sam’s Club Size 4 Value Pack (140 ct): $37.00 (or $0.26/diaper)
Target Size 4 Big Pack (100 ct): $19.99 (or $0.19/diaper)

It may just be pennies, but it does add up.   If our child an average of uses 6 diapers a day, that’s $21.84 we’ve saved by stopping at Target and skipping the warehouse.

When it comes to bulk shopping, compare unit prices and compare apples to apples, to make sure things you buy are truly less expensive.

Here’s a few things I tend to buy at a warehouse and find are less expensive at times:

  • Whole Chicken
  • Milk
  • Apples, Pears, & other fruits
  • Carrots, Celery, & other vegetables
  • Contact Solution
  • Flour
  • Yeast
  • Vinegar

What do you buy at the warehouse or in bulk to save money?

- – Additional Resources from Previous Posts – -

Confused or want more help? Don’t forget that I teach classes and speak in the Central Indiana area! Use the code ClippingMyBudget to get $10 off a public class.

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