Home > Understand the Seasons of Savings

Understand the Seasons of Savings

May 8th, 2006 at 09:35 pm

Every sale, coupon, or other promotion has a reason. Often it’s seasonal. For example, smart shoppers don’t buy fresh fruit and produce out of season. The price of a cup of fresh blueberries or a pound of asparagus is generally 3 – 5 times costlier out of season! Instead, they find fresh produce on sale and freeze, can, or otherwise preserve a “stockpile” of it for the off months.

Holiday stockpiling is also common. Turkey or ham are typically loss leaders for holiday shoppers, and those after Christmas clothing sales give great savings for later gifts.

Other seasonal savings may be less obvious. Manufacturers purchase shelf space in your local store. The addition of a new product means they need to compete to buy more of the available shelf space, or more typically sell out old items to make room for their new ones. So…ice cream is goes on sale at the end of winter to make space for new flavors and products. Soup goes on sale at the end of summer, when again, the shelves need to be cleared for the fresh harvest and new products.

Take the time to think through these cycles, and you can take advantage of some great opportunities.

Sound complicated? Here’s a current example:

Breyer’s, a popular U.S. ice cream manufacturer, will be introducing new flavors and products this summer. In January/February, they introduced “in store” coupons (blinkies) of $1 on any one item. The retail price of $6 meant a “fair” savings. However, stores that didn’t carry this coupon had sales, continuing down over a few weeks…2/$9…then 2/$7. The manufacturer’s coupon from the first store could be taken and used at the store having the sale price. A better savings.

Once the coupon stock had been depleted, sale prices decreased even more. Buy One Get One Free (BOGO). Shopper who had held on to the coupons waiting for a better deal found it. But then…prices dropped to $1.50. Great with the coupon!

After the coupons expired, the price dropped further. $10/10. Very good. The stores supplies were quickly exhausted.

Why the huge discount? Breyer’s is redoing their packaging. Consumers don’t buy old ice cream in old packaging when new ice cream in new packaging is clearly visible. New flavors and novelties also need shelf space. So those shelves have to be cleaned out of old product!

What to do now? The savvy shopper was not out of luck!

Once the product was out of stock, the sale price could be captured on a rain check! Why? Rain checks are basically a coupon for the sale price, and don’t usually expire for one year. That 10/$10 pricing on a rain check will still be in effect when the new packages come out, along with new coupons introducing the new line!

The price of the new product will return to $6, or slightly higher! While everyone else is spending a fortune for the newest flavors, with the rain check you will only spend $1 each minus whatever coupons you have!

How can you find these savings? Ask yourself WHY certain items are on sale. Pay attention to trends. When the Reveal light bulbs came out, GE’s energy saver bulbs dropped from $9 each to $1. GE reintroduced the energy savers with a package indicating they will save $47 a year on electricity.

As organic, natural, omega-3, no trans fat, all come to be “must haves” in product labeling, the old packages will be cleared as quickly as possible. Watch for the changes, and you can capture significant savings.

9 Responses to “Understand the Seasons of Savings”

  1. Tightwad Kitty Says:

    The same apply here too! Not only do packaging change, time of the season brings holidays and back to school sale etc. also!

  2. Thrifty Ray Says:

    I appreciate this information. I never knew most of this!! Thanks for always taking the time to educate us!

  3. LuckyRobin Says:

    This is interesting. I have noticed this happening with a certain brand of pizza. It'll be 3 for $10 for one week, then 4 for $10 for a month and then 5 for $10 for one week. These are the full size pizzas, not the smaller ones. I always wondered why they did it, I noticed the pattern but since I never pay attention to the packaging, just the name of the brand and the type of pizza, it didn't really occur to me.

  4. markio26 Says:

    great info. flash... i knew some of it.. but, i am always open to learning more.... it seems everything has a cycle.

  5. flash Says:

    Good savers don't pay attention to packaging as much as value. Yes, I want omega-3. The fact that something ALWAYS had omega 3, and they just needed to repackage it to attract more consumers, not a problem. Benefit for me! (well, DH, because, as I've noted, he is OBLIVIOUS to packaging promo etc.!)

  6. flash Says:

    If you want to track some of the trends in upcoming products, go to

    or even subscribed to their magazine (free). It's always interesting to see where manufacturers plan to take us next!

  7. Tightwad Kitty Says:

    Most of our packaging charges here are to weight charges. But new prices
    are the same or more at times.

  8. flash Says:

    It happens this weekend...Unilever circular has the Breyer's coupons and announces two new products...more to come...but...

    Those $6 packages with the rain check for $ I have 75 cents coupons to put against each 25 cents each!!!

    Now I need to collect as many 75 cents coupons as possible...and when *I* am ready, the rain check will be them up and record the percentage savings!

  9. flash Says:

    p.s.--if you're on a train, add this to my wish list Smile

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