The Holidays are Coming, Time to Stock Up on Groceries

The Holidays are Coming, Time to Stock Up on Groceries

November is nearly upon us. In the US, that means grocery stores are going to be slashing prices on certain foods and making them ‘loss leaders’. A loss leader is an item marked so low, it drives customers into their stores. Although there are some grocery item on sale in December prior to Christmas, November is really the big kahuna of savings. This is when I stockpile my reserves.

Flour: I tend to buy my flour in the big bags, but if you don’t use quite as much flour, you are bound to see the smaller bags of flour go on sale at this time.

Cookie and Cake mixes: This is the only time of year when I’ll buy these because they’ll never be lower at any other time. Although I prefer to bake from scratch, these are useful when you’re pressed for time or ingredients.

Butter and Oil: Butter (sticks and spreadable) goes on sale several times a year, but you can absolutely count on them to be at their lowest just before the holidays. The same goes for vegetable oil. Most oil if kept in a cool, dark place is good for up to two years unopened.

I regularly freeze butter. I know how much I go through in a year and try to buy enough to last us until the next year.

Sugar, brown, white, and confectioner: Grocery stores know that holiday baking will be on everyone’s mind. Expect equally good sales for sugar.

Evaporated and Sweetened Condensed Milk: I use condensed milk in so many recipes, I always make sure I buy extra when they go on sale.

Marshmallow and Chocolate Chips: Both necessary components for some decadent fudge.

Cocoa, Coffee, and Tea: These are loss leaders to get you in the store.

Canned Pumpkin and Dried Fruit:  Every year, I buy my obligatory three cans of pumpkin puree. I dislike the smell and taste of pumpkin or yams, but Greg loves it. Every year, I make him two pies, and one to take or give to friends.

Cranberries: There is nothing like fresh cranberry sauce. They freeze beautifully too. Just toss the bag in the freezer. Cranberries are some of my favorite fruit, so I buy plenty for cookies, bread, and sauce.

Turkeys: Every once in a while the universe surprises me and turkeys don’t go on sale. It’s rare, but it happens when there’s been a problem with turkey production. Happily though, most stores offer a very good sale on turkeys to draw people in. I buy two. One for Thanksgiving, and one for later in the year.

Stuffing: Stuffing always goes on sale. It’s ridiculously easy to make your own stuffing with old bread, but if it’s too much trouble, buy your stuffing mix in November.

Canned Broth: Expect to see these in the sales flyers often during November and December. If you can’t make your own, always keep some stored in reserve. Very handy for richer tasting soups, stews, and rice dishes.

Canned Vegetables: This is one of those items that invariably go on sale. They’re not as cheap as they should be, but it’s a good time to stock up if you liked canned veggies.

Fresh Vegetables: Keep your eyes open for green beans, Brussels sprouts, and winter squash to go on sale. These will go on sale closer to the holiday.

Are you a holiday baker? Is there a special treat you like to make for the holidays? I’m always looking to expand my repertoire.



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  1. I typically freeze butter, but if you don’t have space, you can also can it easily. Re: pumpkin — it’s AWESOME for your dogs. I add it to my puppies’ food all the time. Not just healthy, but they love it. I actually just cooked up and pureed about four pumpkins for just this reason. I have baggies in the freezer for use all year long. I’ve found that Aldi has canned veggies at a regular price lower than any sale, so I don’t worry about that — but cream of whatever soups are SO cheap this time of year. I definitely stock up on them. I also buy fresh turkeys the day after thanksgiving for about 20c/lb and will cut off the breasts to grind for cheap ground turkey all year. 🙂 and I’ll cook up the legs for dog food. I’ll usually boil one carcass for stock, but I honestly don’t use it much, so the rest of them go in the trash… and now I feel guilty.

    • Marianne: I found pumpkin on clearance not long ago and I’m glad now I snapped them up. I’ve been adding them to Nana’s diet since her surgery. She loves it and it gives her extra fiber.

      re: turkeys
      Oh, man! Our stores never put turkeys on discount after Thanksgiving. They might go on clearance if they’re nearing their expiration date, but it’s rare to find them.

  2. Marshmallow Fluff/Kreme for making Christmas fudge is a “must have” for me but it doesn’t seem to go on sale this time of year. In fact, it tends to disappear, as though the grocery stores still haven’t figured out they need to increase the stock for the holidays.

  3. I remember one year years ago a local grocery store was offering free turkeys in you spend a certain amount of money. I took adventure of their deal; had a separate freezer and stored frozen turkeys in there that we used for many months ahead.


  4. I’m making a pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving with real pumpkin, and a batch of penuche (Italian butter fudge) for Christmas for my daughter. I don’t like pumpkin and I can’t have sugar, so for me I’ll make some interesting breads and rolls.

    Everyone likes my toll house cookies, so I stock up on chocolate chips. I’m also going to look for decently-priced dried fruit so I can make stollen for my guy, and fresh chestnuts, which I like boiled rather than roasted. Turkeys go on sale here three weeks before Thanksgiving, which is when I buy mine.

  5. Lynn: I shouldn’t have sugar…but that hasn’t stopped me yet. 😀 My favorite holiday treat is a cranberry cookie with orange glaze topping. Love those, but I only make them once a year.

    Greg said he plans to forego sugar for a few weeks to see if he feels better. Not a bad idea. Back in the 90s I stopped using sugar and white flour, cutting out almost all baked goods. It really made a difference in weight loss, but I love my cranberry muffins and pancakes. We did it for about six or seven months. By then the holidays were upon us and it was back to sugar and white flour.

    My local grocery store has been good about stocking some good quality dried fruit, but for more varied fruit, I’ve had better luck at ethnic grocery stores.

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