How to Maximize Case Lot Sales

I love September and March for one particular reason- case lot sales!! Case lot sales are a great way to get your canned goods for cheaper, but it’s also a great way to build your own home food storage and stockpile. I believe very strongly in having a personal food storage, so from the moment I had my own apartment, I started building one! I’ve learned and seen many tricks over the years, and I thought I’d share them with you here!

*Budget it in! Everyone’s budget is going to look a little different from time to time, and even our own budget might vary month to month or year to year, but almost always you can budget a little money towards food storage. My family has done it a couple different ways. We have had a separate food storage category in our monthly budget categories, and we’ve also tried just rolling it into the monthly grocery category, putting a little bit more money towards that category and knowing some of it would be spent on food storage. Both work, it just depends on your personality!

*Plan ahead for case lot sales. I’ve seen a lot of articles that suggest buying 2 of something every time you go to the grocery store, but I think a smarter way is to put that money aside so that when case lot sales come up (or if a particular item you’re wanting to stock up goes on a special deal), you can make that money stretch farther. Get familiar with when case lot sales go on in your area so that you can budget accordingly!

*Baby steps! Sometimes it’s overwhelming thinking of how much food you may need to purchase to get where you want to be. But just start little! If you can only afford to buy a couple cans, that’s a couple cans more than you would have had! I’ve slowly been able to get more and more food storage to the point where I don’t always have to buy a whole case of something- sometimes I just need 5 or 6 cans here and there to replenish my supply. And while you may need to start off with the basics, eventually you can build up to storing more of the fun stuff, like pancakes mixes or Nutella ;).

*Know your prices. Not all case lot sales are equal! Often there are multiple case lot sales going on at a time in one area, so it’s smart to compare the prices of each item you’re wanting to buy and keeping a list of which store has the best deal. You might have to make a couple stops this way, but you’ll be getting more for your money! Also pay attention to sale prices- sometimes you can only get the best deal by buying the whole case, but not always. But don’t feel like you have to buy a whole case if you don’t need it! If your family is not going to go through 24 jars of diced tomatoes, you’ll save more money just by buying the 4 or 5 cans you might need in the next months (or 1 year, or however big your food storage is ;) ).

*Know your inventory. Before you go shopping, take a look at what you already have! There have been many times I think I need more cans of something, but when I double check I realize I had already restocked it! And sometimes a particular food is much lower in stock than I realize. Always take inventory of what you have and what you need, so that you aren’t wasting money buying more cans of chicken broth if you already have 30, when in fact you could use that money to buy more of something you don’t have or have very little of. Also pay attention to what your family actually uses! My family eats a lot of black beans and canned corn, so I tend to buy a ton of those, whereas I only keep a few cans of mushrooms on hand since we don’t use those as often.

*Label and rotate. Food storage is only useful if you’re using it wisely! When you’ve finished your case lot shopping trip, label each can/box/package with the month and year you bought it, and then rotate your cans so that the older cans are always in front. You’ll be able to use things before they expire, and it’s a good excuse to keep things organized and clean! (This is also a great time to look at your inventory of what you have and make a note of what you need more of in the future!)

*Share the wealth! One thing I love about having a food storage is the ability it gives me to help others. My little brother just got married, and as part of his gift I was able to give him 2 boxes of food that I was just able to grab from my food storage. There’s always opportunities to share and give, and having a food storage makes it much easier!

What tips would you give someone who is new to case lot shopping? Share in the comments below!


    Camille Hoffmann
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2014
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