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Best Things to Stock Up on Every Month of the Year

When it comes buying in bulk, the key to maximizing your savings is knowing what to buy—and when.

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Quaker Instant Oatmeal, Variety Value Pack, 18 Count via amazon.com

January: Oatmeal

Before you start stockpiling, it’s important to follow sales cycles. “Sales cycles are simply designated time frames that grocery stores reduce items and place them on sale,” says Joy Hearn of Cards and Clips, a Facebook page that offers tips on extreme couponing. The best time to buy in bulk is when you can stack coupons on top of sale prices, which usually cycle every six to eight weeks. Once or twice a year, however, you can find products at their absolute lowest prices. January, for example, is National Oatmeal Month—a great time to stock up on granola bars and other Quakers products. It’s also when department stores host “White Sales,” meaning deep discounts on sheets, towels, and bedding. Need a place to store your oatmeal? Check out these brilliant kitchen cabinet and pantry ideas.

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Kikkoman Japan Made Soy Sauce, 33.8 Ounce via amazon.com

February: Asian foods and condiments

It makes sense that chocolate goes on sale around candy-oriented holidays like Valentine’s Day, but the sweetest deals start the following day when all that chocolate hits the clearance shelf. The Krazy Coupon Lady also suggests stocking up on Asian food ingredients this month. “Chinese New Year starts at the beginning of February and goes into March, so during this time, look for deals on items like soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, noodles, rice, and more,” she writes. Plus: Here are the items all DIYers should buy at Costco.

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Amy's Black Bean Tamale Verde, 10.3-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 12)via amazon.com

March: Frozen food

“March is Frozen Food Month, which means consumers can expect lots of coupons on products in the frozen food aisle,” says Courtney Jespersen, Nerdwallet‘s consumer savings expert. And with over 3,000 products to satisfy any craving or dietary need, according to the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association, you’ll want to make sure there’s plenty of room in your freezer! While you’re in the mindset to save money, here are 10 foods you should never buy full price.

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Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Water Face Gel Moisturizer for Dry Skin, 1.7 fl. ozvia amazon.com

April: Beauty products

Now’s the time to stock up on face cleanser, body wash, or moisturizer. “According to shopping data from RetailMeNot, April is the best time to buy your favorite beauty supplies with deals as high as 40 percent off,” says shopping and trends expert for RetailMeNot, Sara Skirboll. “You’ll end up saving a lot more than purchasing at full price when you run out.”

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Mr. Bar-B-Q 94001X 18-Piece Stainless-Steel Barbecue Set with Storage Casevia amazon.com

May: Cookout foods and grilling supplies

The end of May is when you’ll start seeing sales on hot dogs, ground beef, buns, condiments, salad dressing, chips, soda, and Popsicles. That’s because most people celebrate Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer, with a good old-fashioned barbecue. Grill supplies like charcoal, lighter fluid, and grilling utensils are also discounted, but “wait to buy an actual new grill closer to Labor Day,” writes Skirboll. Here are the 25 grilling tools you need this season.

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Tylenol Extra Strength Caplets, Fever Reducer And Pain Reliever, 500 Mg, 24 Ct. via amazon.com

June: Headache medicine

June is National Migraine and Headache Month, reports The Krazy Coupon Lady, so take advantage of coupons and sales to stockpile pain-relieving medicine like Tylenol, Aleve, and Excedrin. You can also snag great deals on dishware, as they tend to go on sale this month to correspond with peak wedding season. Service for 12, anyone?
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Haagen-Dazs, Vanilla Ice Cream, Pint (8 Count) via amazon.com

July: Ice cream

You don’t have to feel guilty about indulging during National Ice Cream Month! There are plenty of discounts to scoop up on frozen desserts, cones, and toppings—as long as you have the freezer space. July is also prime time to stock up on shorts, tanks, and sandals, when retailers start swapping out summer apparel for back-to-school clothing. Know what else you should put in your freezer? An envelope. Here’s why.

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Moleskine Classic Hard Cover Notebook, Ruled, Large (5" x 8.25") Black - Hard Cover Notebook for Writing, Sketching, Journalsvia amazon.com

August: School and office supplies

It’s not just students who benefit from savings on back-to-school items. You can replenish the office supply closet for next to nothing by stocking up on paper, pens, folders, and more. According to The Krazy Coupon Lady, stores like Office Depot and Staples usually sell supplies for a penny, but they often place a limit on how many you can purchase at a time. “If you’re prepared to make multiple trips to the store,” she writes, “you can get enough school supplies for this year and next year, all while saving up to 70 percent.” These are the 14 back-to-school items that are a waste of money, and what to buy instead.

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Costa Farms Live Ficus Lyrata, Fiddle-Leaf Fig, Indoor Tree, 2-Feet Tall, Ships in Décor Planter, Fresh From Our Farmvia amazon.com

September: Plants

While you won’t harvest the rewards until the spring, you can save a chunk of change if you do your planting in the fall, according to The Spruce. Trees, shrubs, perennials, and spring-flowering bulbs all go on sale during September, as nurseries and home improvement stores need to make room for fall plants and holiday merchandise. And don’t forget to stock up on gardening supplies like potting soil and planters, which you can typically find on clearance at your favorite big box store.
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Signature by Levi Strauss & Co. Gold Label Women's Modern Straight Jeansvia amazon.com

October: Denim

RetailMeNot’s Skirboll says that October is the best month to stock up on your favorite jeans and denim apparel, which have been on store shelves since the summer. “During October you’re most likely to find the best deals, with up to 27 percent off,” she says. “Plus, buying multiple pairs at a discount means that when you’ve worn out one pair, you have backups available without having to pay full price.”

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Libbys 100% Pure Pumpkin, 29-Ounce Cans (Pack of 12) via amazon.com

November: Baking supplies

From butter and flour to canned pumpkin and Cool Whip, November is the time to stock up on ingredients for Thanksgiving pies and Christmas cookies. On her website Everyday Cheapskate, Mary Hunt writes, “Baking supplies are notoriously on sale at rock-bottom prices starting now in anticipation of Thanksgiving and continuing through the end of the year.” While you’re shopping, grab several rolls of aluminum foil and plastic wrap to wrap up all those baked goodies; they also tend to be discounted this month.

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LEGO Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Hogwarts Whomping Willow 75953 Building Kit (753 Pieces)via amazon.com

December: Toys

Unless you’re looking for the year’s most popular toy, resist the urge to shop your kid’s holiday wish list before the middle of December. On The Real Deal, Skirboll explains that the deepest discounts on toys happen in the ten days leading up to Christmas. Afterward, take advantage of clearance prices between 50 to 75 percent to stock up on birthday gifts for your children and their friends. Shopping for something more expensive than toys?

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Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Originally Published on Reader's Digest