Holiday Food Sales? Stock Your Pantry

The food ads are mighty attractive at this time of year. A few items are being offered at decent sale prices: bacon, eggs, cheese, soup, canned tomatoes, flour, chicken broth, coffee, yams, canned and plain frozen vegetables, crackers (I’m partial to the cracked pepper and olive oil Triscuits), potatoes, butter, apples, and canned beans.

The idea is to get us to buy extra ingredients for holiday meals and those homemade sweets. But why not buy extra ingredients for ourselves?

This may seem like an obvious idea, but not everyone thinks along frugal lines. They buy the way they usually do – week to week. The trouble is, food prices go up from week to week. By locking in at current prices, you’re investing in food futures, so to speak.

Having extra food on hand also means you’ve always got something to fix for lunch or dinner. This helps you not to rely on takeout. Worst-case scenario: If your fortunes go south in the new year, you’ve got what my MSN Money colleague Liz Pulliam Weston calls “the emergency fund you can eat.”

The sunk-cost menu

Your budget may be stretched thin during the holidays (or maybe year-round). But anyone with even an extra dollar or two per shopping trip should be looking to stock up.

The canned tomatoes and beans can be turned into a 20-minute chili that will warm you on a cold January evening. With some cheese and a mug of tomato soup, those Triscuits will make a simple but satisfying weekend lunch. That loss-leader flour is the centerpiece for a night-before-payday event known as “breakfast for supper,” i.e., pancakes or waffles.

Best of all: These will be sunk-cost meals. So stock up for January and beyond, when you’re receiving a higher-than-usual utility bill due to a cold snap – or the credit card bills from holiday indulgences.

Position yourself now for a little after-the-fact frugality. Keep your favorite chili recipe handy too.

More stories from Donna Freedman:

Sign up for our free newsletter

Like this article? Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you a regular digest of our newest stories, full of money saving tips and advice, free! We'll also email you a PDF of Stacy Johnson's "205 Ways to Save Money" as soon as you've subscribed. It's full of great tips that'll help you save a ton of extra cash. It doesn't cost a dime, so why wait? Click here to sign up now.

Check out our hottest deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,159 more deals!

Comments & discussion

We welcome your opinions, but let’s keep it civil. Like many businesses, we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. In our case, that means those who communicate by name-calling, racism, using words designed to hurt others or generally acting like an uninformed bully. Also, comments that include links to email addresses or commercial websites typically aren't posted. This isn't a place to advertise your business.