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The Coupon Lady: What's on sale in January?

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I hope all of you enjoyed the holidays as much as I have. But all good things must come to an end, so the holidays are officially over.

I am happy to report that with the help of an iPhone buyback program that almost completely covered the cost of one of my children’s entire Christmas list, we stayed well within our Christmas budget. We even had a little extra for ourselves since my husband and I celebrated our 12th anniversary the week before Christmas.

However, some of you might have gotten a little carried away during Black Friday sales, and now those bills are starting to show up. If you need a little help paying off some of those splurges, please attend one of my coupon classes. In just 90 minutes, I show you how to organize your coupons so that you can find them quickly and easily, how to maintain your coupon stash, how to find coupons and how to use them effectively.

My secret is in how I organize and prepare my system. Depending on the number of inserts in our Sunday paper, I only spend one to three hours getting my system ready. I meal-plan for about an hour the next night, and then I’m ready to shop. If a busy mom like me can do it, you can, too.

Some sales happen in cycles and some happen by month, so it’s important to know what’s on sale in order to stock up. During January, those New Year’s resolutions take center stage, so expect some great sales on diet and fitness products. Diet food brands such as Atkins, South Beach, Healthy Choice, Lean Cuisine and Weight Watchers will have products on sale this month. Foods such as yogurts, Special K cereals, Snackwell and 100-calorie snack packs will be featured. You should also find deals on fitness tapes, home gym and fitness equipment and accessories.

January often marks the beginning of the colder winter weather here. January has some deals on foods to keep you warm and toasty. It is National Oatmeal Month, so check Web sites and newspapers for coupons on this staple because this is the time to score the best price. You can find some great deals on other “warming” foods such as chili mixes and soups. If winter weather brings a case of the sniffles, don’t worry. Cold medicines, vitamins, aspirin, Tylenol and Ibuprofen will also be on sale.

Football fans have two big events this month: the National College Cham­pion­ships and the Super Bowl. My husband and I are Alabama natives, so we will definitely watch the Ala­bama/LSU game Mon­day. Game-day snacks will be on sale, so watch for deals this week and next on items including sodas, chips, crackers, dips, cheeses and other quick-fix snacks.

Clearance finds this month include Christmas décor and gifts, wrapping paper, ribbons, bows, ornaments, storage boxes and bags; Hanukkah decorations; New Year’s Eve party supples; computers and major electronics; and dated calendars. You also should start seeing some markdowns on winter clothing, especially jackets, coats, gloves, hats and boots.

If you are like us, then your kids got lots of new toys. So it’s time to organize and store all those items. Plastic containers, organizers, shelving units, cleaners and household items will be on sale.

This month will see a few national promotions in addition to National Oatmeal Month. January is also National Meat Month, National Slow Cooker Month, National Soup Month and National Prune Breakfast Month. This gives you an idea of what foods should have sales, so keep an eye out for specials.

Produce in season this month includes fruits such as Anjou pears, grapefruit, kiwi, kumquats, tangerines, lemons and oranges (including blood oranges). Vegetables in season include spinach, napa cabbages, leeks, broccoli, celery, chard, collards, kale, Brussels sprouts, carrots, celery root, cauliflower and haas avocados.

Come and visit me in my next coupon class and learn how to put your food budget on a diet. Until next time, happy shopping.

Beginner's coupon class

Carol Gunter will hold a beginner’s coupon class for ages 12 and older from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12, at The Augusta Chronicle News Building, 725 Broad St. The class is free, but seating is limited. To reserve your spot, log on to smartshopper112.eventbrite.com.

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