Cinco de Mayo – It Makes Cents to Save at the Store

Cinco de Mayo is a primarily Mexican holiday, celebrated, too, in the United States. It’s another of my favorite food Holidays, and I feel a bit remiss about not posting much about it until now. Start looking for sales in the weeks before Cinco de Mayo and through out what ever week Cinco de Mayo falls. For the uninitiated, Cinco de Mayo translates as 5th of May. (May 5th is also National Enchilada Day.)

cinco

While some stores blatantly post Cinco de Mayo sales, many ads don’t mention it at all – and some don’t even advertise the sales, but in the store you’ll see discounted sales signs on many items used to make Mexican cuisine. You’re also likely to find great sales on many barbecue or cook out related items. Here’s a few to look for:

Tortillas and items used to make them and Breads:

  • Look for tortillas near the Mexican food and in the refrigerator section of the grocery store.
  • Hamburger and hot dog buns will be on sale, too; they often are on any holiday where there is a chance of a cook-out.
  • If you use lard (are you Paleo?) then check the baking and refrigerator sections, possibly the freezer area depending on where you live and the type of lard.
  • Masa may be on a deep sale, too.

While tortillas don’t keep long in the freezer, a few packages, well wrapped will last for awhile, and larger packages can be broken down into sizes your family can use. If you buy dried Masa, freeze it for three days when you get it home. I just keep mine in the freezer, along with several other specialty “flours” I don’t use as often.

Meats and Fish:

Barbecues and cook outs are often thrown on Cinco de Mayo.

  • Hamburger is often on sale and pork shoulder is regularly at a near low in my area.
  • Ribs, too, may be on sale – while not an item one normally thinks of as “Mexican,” yes, ribs are.
  • There will likely be one or more steaks available at a low price, and perhaps a Chuck roast.  Look, too, for ground pork and Chorizo.
  • You’ll probably find a decent price on some sort of chicken, too, most likely breast meat.
  • You may find a good (probably not a great) price on frozen shrimp.

Produce:

  • Avocados, Tomatoes, Garlic, Cilantro, Peppers (both Bell as well as jalapeno, Poblano and others) are on sale, along with a lettuce or two and limes.
  • Premade refrigerated Salsas and guacamole are usually on sale, too.
  • Almost every Holiday will have great prices on green onions, mushrooms and of course: Berries!

Frozen Items:

  • Ice Cream Bars, popsicles. and Ice Cream will be at a deep discount.
  • Mexican specialty items (taquitos, tamales, etc.) may be on sale as well as many Mexican frozen dinners.
  • There will likely be a sale on frozen vegetables (frozen corn is often used in Mexican type casseroles) and from here on out, sales on frozen vegetables will diminish as the summer hits.

Dried Beans and other items:

Often the sales prices on these items aren’t advertised, but I often find them at great prices and stock up if they are:

  • While often not advertised, dried beans may be on sale – you can expect black beans and pintos, but some stores simply discount all bean products.
  • Bagged rice may be at a low price.
  • Corn Husks will likely be discounted. Freeze them for at least three days when you bring them home and they’ll last for months – years perhaps.
  • Chile Peppers of all kinds are likely to be on sale. While they don’t keep forever (you want a certain pliability) the do keep for a long, long time.
  • Check the nut sections of the grocery – which may be in several places (near snacks, baking, dried foods, bulk foods, organic, and in this case, Mexican or the ethic part of the produce section) for Pepitas. They can be pricey little things, but stock up if they are on sale.

Canned Items and Boxed Items:

If you cook Mexican or Latin American foods on a regular basis, you may want to consider stocking up for the year on items that keep well if they are at their lowest prices. Manufacturers often issue coupons.

  • Taco Shells and Kits are likely to be on sale, with coupons. Stock up.
  • Salsas, America’s most used condiment, will be on sale, with coupons, and other condiments may be at a low price.
  • Your store will likely have a great price on some of their canned tomatoes.
  • Beans will be on sale. Likely this will be the last great sale until winter hits for many beans. (Canned baked beans are the exception here – they will only get less expensive during the summer.)
  • Rice mixes may be on sale.
  • Often unadvertised, look for sales on things like Chipotle peppers, canned jalapeno and green chiles, etc. Dulce de Leche may be on sale, and you may find great prices on condensed milk, vanilla and some spices. Check the price of cooking oil, too, as many stores drop the prices during a Holiday.
  • Take a stroll down your Mexican, Ethnic or wherever your grocery store places these items and see what is a great price.

Dairy:

You may see great prices and coupons available on Dairy – coupons for Dairy seldom are out in any force unless there is a holiday.

  • Cheese: There will likely be a great price on some block and grated cheese, but look also in the Near Deli section for Mexican cheeses. Often pricey, they’ll likely be on sale, and there may be coupons. Check your coupon matching site, but also check the websites for the brands carried in your area. Even coupon matchers may not be aware of the sales.
  • Sour Cream and Cremas: Nearly always on a great sale, whether advertised or not.
  • Eggs may be on sale, often a loss leader – a grocery store strategy for almost any Holiday.

Junk Food:

  • It’s very likely you’ll see sales on bean dips, salsas and tortilla chips.
  • Pop will be on sale.
  • Premade bottled and iced teas will likely be on sale.

Beer and other drinks:

  • No Holiday is complete without a great price on beer – and it’s likely you’ll find the Mexican brands discounted as well as a few basic beers. While beer will be at a great price during Memorial Day sales, it’s likely you’ll not find the Mexican beers at this low for awhile – why not stock up a bit to last you through a few barbecues if you have a fondness for them?
  • Of course, it’s likely you’ll find Tequila, Kahlua and other items on sale, too.

Other Items:

Cook outs mean a plethora of items will go on sale, but prices may be better during Memorial Day – Cinco de Mayo is the “opener” of the summer Barbecue sales. Mother’s Day is next, but never as good, then Memorial is the huge one, followed by Father’s Day, and so on.

  • Charcoal, lighter fluid
  • Paper plates, napkins, cups
  • Possibly garbage bags and storage bags, foil, etc.
  • Dish Detergent and dishwasher packs may be on sale.

A few of my favorite Mexican or Southwestern dishes – follow the tag “Mexican or Southwestern, below at the bottom of this post, for the recipes:

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Cyclic Changes in the Market – What I call Man Made – Holidays

So many Holidays have great sales – while it “seems” to make sense sometimes to budget a set amount of money per week for food, food doesn’t cost the same every week! The amount of savings can be much greater if you can identify when to expect great sales on items, and what those items are and budget a bit extra for those weeks.

Then beat the grocer at their own game! Instead of passively being drawn into a store to pick up one or two specials and then buy whatever else you need for the week, buy as much as possible of the specials for the Holiday week and weeks or months beyond. Make up the rest of your meal from low priced staples and such you have “banked” at home. Of course, only buy what you can store and use in a reasonable time period.

 Links for The Twelve Strategies: 

If you made it this far, what am I missing, guys? What bargains do you look for in this extended Holiday season?

Comments and discussion always welcome - tell me what you think.

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