I have been a bulk shopper for a while now. However, most of my “bulk” shopping had meant buying oatmeal, rice, flax, and beans from the bulk bins at my local grocery store. That way, I was getting a better deal and controlling exactly how much I wanted to buy with each purchase. I also purchased larger containers/jars of organic coconut oil and honey online, where I could get better deals. Recently, though, our family took bulk buying to a whole new level.
Bulk section at grocery store: Herbs
I used to buy bulk herbs on occasion when I only needed a little bit or when I couldn’t find a jar of what I wanted. When I started buying organic spices, I bought large bags online or generic store brands. Then, once when one of my favorite generic organic brands was out of bay leaves (in a jar), I bought some from that store’s bulk spices section… and have never gone back. I can pay about $0.60 for what costs $3.99 in a jar! Can you believe that?! That’s crazy savings! I just use put the newly bought spices into my old glass jars. Buy your spices in bulk!
Co-ops have become more popular over the years. Although buying through a co-op doesn’t guarantee savings (know your price points!), you can score if you buy the right stuff. What I look for are items that we already eat with a long shelf life. Here are the categories of items that make it worth being part of a co-op.
Grains. The best deal I can get on organic rolled oats at our local grocery stores is $1.49 per pound. Once in a while, I can get them on sale. But, even then, I can’t get them for the price I can get them with the co-op. If I purchase 25lbs, I can get the oats for $0.90 per pound. Obviously, deals vary from one co-op to another, but you get the idea!
Beans. It’s the same idea with beans. We love black beans and decided to get a 25lb bag of organic black beans at $1.48/lb. That’s unheard of for organic black beans.
Potatoes. How about 20lbs of organic Russet potatoes for $8.00?! Yes, I know! You just can’t get those kinds of deals at your local grocery stores!
Where do you buy your bulk foods?
By far the most expensive item on our shopping list is meat. If you don’t eat meat, there is one way to save money, but for the rest of us, our grocery bill can get pretty costly especially if you buy natural or organic meats. Here are some tips for saving money when you buy meat.
1. Check out clearance.
There is still a lot of life left in clearance meat. And a lot of times, the cost is cut down by 75% or more! Even if you don’t need it anytime soon, meat freezes wonderfully!
2. Buy bulk and freeze.
This is especially good for hamburger meat. You can save anywhere from $.10-$.50 a pound off. Just make sure you remember to divide it out and freeze it when you get home from the store.
3. Buy local beef.
This is what my family does and we save a TON of money. We get approximately 115 pounds of beef for $2.50 a pound. That’s a pretty good price for ground beef, but that’s for ribeye steaks as well! The meat is WAY better than anything you can find in the local grocery store and it’s free of any hormones or fillers. We know exactly what we are getting when we buy our cow. Sometimes we even know the pasture they were grazing in.
4. Look for coupons.
I see coupons from the store on meat ALL THE TIME. I especially see them at Kroger, Smiths and Albertsons.
5. Take advantage of BOGO at Albertsons.
They have this sale often and it’s a wonderful time to stock up! I’ve done the price comparison and even though Albertsons meat may be more expensive than some stores for individual items, when you take advantage of BOGO, they can’t be beat!
6. Bulk up your ground beef.
Oatmeal and breadcrumbs are a great way to bulk up things like ground beef and it’s healthy for you. If you grind up oatmeal really fine, you can’t even tell it’s in there.
There is some money to be saved when you buy in bulk, but only if you are smart about it.
For example, I thought my children would be huge oatmeal eaters so I went to Costco and bought the big huge tub of it only to find out, they hate it. A year and a half later and I still have oatmeal coming out of my ears.
So tip number one, don’t buy it unless you use it often.
When buying in bulk, the cost may be higher, but the cost per unit is much less.
Some items that we buy in bulk when we can’t find a good deal at the grocery store are things like toilet paper, paper towels, meat, butter (I know weird right?) and snacks for the kids. We only buy in bulk what will either keep or stuff we can freeze. We very rarely buy anything like fresh produce because it will go bad before we can use all of it. The best way to waste money it to definitely not use what you bought.
Meat can get really expensive and I mean REALLY expensive. In our family, we like good meat, so our bill can get out of hand. Buying meat in bulk can really save you some money. However, make sure you freeze what isn’t going to get eaten so you don’t lose any. We often will call local meat processing companies and find out if they know of ranchers who sell animals that you can get processed. We’ve done that for two years and ended up spending around $3 per pound on all meat. That’s a pretty good price for ground beef, it’s an outstanding price for ribeye steaks though!
Another great thing about buying in bulk is the choices. Have you been to your groceries section of bulk foods? You can really score on the diversity of stuff there. You will probably see foods you’ve never even tried before. Often times grocery stores will have an entire organic bulk section.
When you walk in the door of your local bulk food warehouse, make sure you ask if they have any coupon books. I know our warehouse sends us coupons ever so often.
Buying in bulk definitely isn’t the cheapest way to shop since so many of us can just use tons of coupons to get next to nothing supplies, but for those just wanting to cut a little expense, buying in bulk is perfect! Plus, I just love going and trying all the samples!
What are some things you buy in bulk?