Grocery stores sales cycles: When to find the best bargain

By Jennifer Warnick - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Grocery stores stock tens of thousands of unique items and the prices are constantly changing. That's because the products are running the course of the sale cycle.

A sales cycle is the period of time between the best sale price and the regular price of an item. The key to working the sales cycle is buying enough of the product to last you through the next price drop. For most stores, that cycle usually runs every 12 weeks. This is true for meats, frozen foods, household products, just about everything you use.

This week pasta is on the low end of the cycle. Just about every brand is on sale. Ronzoni Healthy Harvest's regular price is $2.39; it's on sale for $1.29. If you bought 12 now, you could eat it once a week, save more than $10 and wouldn't need to buy it again for 3 months when it's on sale again.

If you're a serious bargain hunter, you'll match your coupons to that already-low price for even deeper discounts.

Holidays and time of year are catalysts for seasonal sales. You'd think high demand would increase prices, but the exact opposite is true with food. That's why turkeys are cheapest in November. They're the driving purchase to get you in the store. Stores know that if you come to buy a sale item, you'll probably purchase a lot of full priced items as well.

And remember: the day after the event, everything is discounted to make room for the next holiday.

Check your pantry and freezer because part of March's cycle will include peanut butter and frozen foods. Visit to find out what's on sale in any given week.

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