We're reader-supported and only partner with brands we trust. When you buy through links on our site we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Learn More. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date and time indicated and are subject to change.
Since the coronavirus pandemic started, we’ve gone through a bunch of shortages — including food shortages, coin shortages, toilet paper shortages, and even Halloween shortages. While some shortages have ended, a bunch more have begun, as the supply chain difficulties of the past year catch up to us.
While these are super inconvenient, we can point you toward time- and money-saving solutions to get you through when products are in short supply — even when they affect your holiday shopping plans.
Here are 9 products that are in short supply:
1. Toilet paper shortage (yep, again)
The problem: The continued shortage of bathroom tissue stems from lumber’s raw material, wood pulp, which is used to make toilet paper. Only 60% of orders are being shipped out to retailers. Costco, for instance, has taken measures to ensure common household items remain on shelves, putting purchase limits on toilet paper, bottled water, cleaning products, and paper towels.
Solution: Shop for toilet paper at smaller, independent stores rather than big-box stores — who also take toilet paper coupons, y’know. And don’t panic-buy.
2. Canned goods shortage
The problem: Lots more people bought canned sodas and foods during the pandemic, and now there’s an aluminum shortage. That means common canned goods such as vegetables and sodas might be in limited supply at your neighborhood grocery store.
Solution: Keep tabs on KCL’s up-to-date list of Campbell’s coupons, soup coupons, and Coke coupons to see the best deals on these items, to make sure you don’t overspend. Then, if there aren’t any cans in your store, switch to non-canned packaging, such as plastic tubs and cartons. In most cases, coupons apply to cans and non-cans.
3. Thanksgiving turkey shortage
The problem: The pandemic caused many Thanksgiving celebrations to be toned down in 2020, which drastically increased the sale of small turkeys to accommodate smaller meals. That trend likely continues in 2021. Grocers expect shortages this year thanks to that sustained demand for smaller birds in conjunction with factory shutdowns and increased grain prices.
Solution: If you’re worried about stock, buy your turkey as soon as you can find one and put it in the freezer. Or plan an alternative meal that doesn’t include the traditional turkey — like buying a whole cow. If you’re feeling lucky, you might wait to see if you can get a free turkey from your grocery store.
4. Toy shortage
The problem: Toymakers are warning shoppers that there are a lot of supply chain issues that will result in empty store shelves this holiday season. We’ve got a lot more to say about the toy shortage, but basically there are lots of shipping containers waiting to unload at ports, and labor shortages make it tough to get them off the docks.
Some stores and toymakers are taking things into their own hands, buying shipping containers and solving their own transportation problems (but they’re passing the added cost on to you).
Solution: Shop early and be more flexible with your gift prospects. Krazy Coupon Lady is constantly on the lookout for great toy deals, online and in stores. And there are deals to be found, even now.
5. Christmas tree shortage
The problem: Extreme weather in the Pacific Northwest and Midwest have created a shortage of Christmas trees. We can’t even blame Covid for this one.
Solution: Buy an artificial Christmas tree — we have Christmas tree deals, y’know. Or, if you must have a real tree, shop as close to Thanksgiving as you can. The American Christmas Tree Association says that despite supply issues, shoppers who start looking early for a tree will not encounter problems.
6. Personal electronics shortage
The problem: During the pandemic, people bought lots of things that require semiconductors — the chips that make a LOT of electronics possible, like smartphones, gaming consoles, and tablets.
Labor shortages, difficulties at manufacturing plants, and overseas shipping gridlocks have made these electronics scarce — right in time for the holiday shopping season.
Solution: Shop as early as you can for the items you want the most. Or buy discounted gift cards from Raise so the person on your list can shop from Best Buy, Amazon, Walmart, or Apple once the supply chain nightmare clears up in the new year. Bookmarking our PlayStation deals, Nintendo deals, Apple deals, and tablet deals might not be a bad idea, either.
7. Alcohol shortage
The problem: Folks drank a lot more alcohol in 2020. I’ll just let that sit for a sec. But the swell in demand has led to shortages in some states. Pennsylvania, for example, instituted a two-bottle limit for certain alcohols. There’s no telling when supply will catch back up.
Solution: Check out our expert tips to help you save on wine, or find out which store has the best price on White Claw. Or branch out to a new kind of alcohol. Bookmark our wine deals and beer deals to make sure you don’t pay too much when product is in stock.
8. Medication shortage
The problem: The FDA says more than 100 medications are currently in short supply, including some drugs used to treat cancer and COVID-19. Turns out that more than 80% of pharmaceutical ingredients are produced overseas. The American Medical Association calls the drug shortage “an urgent public health crisis.”
Solution: Sign up for Amazon Pharmacy, and they’ll help you get the medications you need, but will also suggest good alternatives for your medications. We tell you all about how to save on prescriptions with Amazon Pharmacy.
(Of course, that doesn’t mean your meds will actually be there — but it’ll help you save money during the shortage.)
9. Pet food shortage
Problem: Not only has the supply chain been stressed by the pandemic, but demand has grown, as lots of people bought pets during lockdowns. Stores like Amazon and Target have been struggling to keep products in stock. And the cost of pet food ingredients has spiked between 8-20% since the pandemic began.
Solution: Find cheap pet food online and stock up now. Take advantage of savings and rebates for repeat purchases and auto-renewals. There are a lot of sites pining for your return business, so mix and match a few to see which ones you prefer. Also bookmark our pet coupons page to see what manufacturers are discounting.