Q: I've been following your weekly articles for a while, and I've really been able to target seasonal sales. As a new month is starting, what items should I look for in September?
A: End-of-summer clearance, back-to-school and Labor Day combined make for a great month of deals! Learning to shop strategically can help drastically reduce your grocery bill, even if you don't use coupons.
-- Labor Day sales: Due to the Labor Day holiday, you will be able to find sales on all of your favorite cookout items. This includes buns, hot dogs, seasonings, chips, dips and condiments. You also will find deals on paper plates, napkins, disposable cups and soda. Stock up on items you can use all year, or at least until the next sale cycle hits in 10 to 12 weeks.
-- Produce: There is a wide variety of produce that is on sale during the month of September. Remember: If you can't use produce all at once, you can always can, freeze or dry it for later. Some of the items you will find at their lowest price of the year are: Asian and Bartlett pears, apples, artichokes, beans, peppers, cucumbers, eggplants, grapes, onions, Valencia oranges, pomegranates, squash, tomatillos and tomatoes.
-- Diabetes products: You'll find diabetes products and supplies discounted this month. This includes items such as meters, test strips, vitamins, Glucerna food products and some sugar-free products.
-- Breakfast and lunch foods: Because kids are heading back to school, you will find many lunch and breakfast items on sale. Look for deals on lunchbox foods and meals, pudding, Lunchables, juice boxes, Pop-Tarts, lunch meat, bread, cold cereal and waffles.
-- School supplies: Keep your eyes peeled for clearance items, including pens, pencils, paper, crayons, folders, binders and other back-to-school essentials.
-- Summer clearance: Clearance items will be further reduced this month. Look for a variety of sales on outdoor supplies such as camping gear, tents, sporting goods, trampolines, charcoal, lighter fluid, lawn mowers, lawn games, gardening items, planting containers, garden hoses, plants, seeds, pool supplies, water toys, flippers, goggles, sunscreen, inflatables and other outdoor items. Even if you can't use them now, it is worth buying these items for next season.
(For more tips on saving money, go to time2saveworkshops.com. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, www.shns.com.)