Buying in Bulk

This is part of the Saving Money on Groceries series.

Some people love it, some people hate it. I have one friend who nearly refuses to buy anything that’s not at Costco because he doesn’t like to spend the time and effort to go to another store. I think it’s great, but you need to be careful.

1. Make sure you’re really saving money:

  • Make sure the membership fees aren’t eating all your savings.
  • Probably the most important thing: Have a good working knowledge of unit prices for the items you buy. Use that calculator to compare costs between stores! Truly, many “deals” are not really deals at the warehouse.

2. Have a place to store the items:

  • Bulk items are, well, bulky. Store them in different containers, in the garage, shed, closets, under the bed, etc.
  • Consider a chest freezer. Check craigslist. Use your savings to buy one. Do the calculations to make sure that keeping it running won’t negate the savings of buying in bulk. It’s always saved me money, but it’s worth making sure for yourself.

3. Actually use what you buy:

  • Are you likely to use it all before it expires? Such a waste to throw out that nearly full gallon of mayo (ew, right?).
  • Since you’re storing stuff all over the house, don’t let yourself forget about it entirely! Keep a running inventory or draw up a quick one every month or two and use up what you have before buying more stuff.

4. Don’t limit yourself to Costco (or other major warehouse stores):

  • Stock up on sale or coupon items when it saves a bundle. These are often the best deals you can get anywhere – free or super cheap!
  • Check out the other stores in your area. For me, I’ve been wanting to check out Cash N’ Carry. I think about Grocery Outlet occasionally, but I have a bad habit of buying brie when I’m there. 🙂
  • Find co-ops or other bulk savings opportunities! Look them up on localharvest.org. Also, once people know you’re into saving money and always looking for deals, they’ll start to let you know of opportunities.

Here are a couple good sources of information. Feel free to share your tips or recommendations!

Next Post: Coupons and Stocking Up – Does it Pay Off?

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About GirlDuck

I am a wife, mother, and homemaker who loves Jesus. I am married to an amazing man, Aaron, and I have three fantastic kids. I write this blog mostly to share information with others, record things for my own future reference, and pour out just a bit of my heart.
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8 Responses to Buying in Bulk

  1. Pingback: Saving Money on Groceries | Proverbial Girl Duck

  2. Pingback: What About Eating Out, Junk Food, and Snack Food? | Proverbial Girl Duck

  3. Annette says:

    Good advice! I, for instance, have done some of the math and found that Most paper goods (towels, TP) are cheaper at Target than Costco. So are diapers. Their canned and frozen foods, cheese, other dairy, and bagged breads are almost always at least Competitive with WinCo, although their deli items and non-frozen meats can be awfully expensive. There are exceptions, so there’s nothing for it but to do the calculations and then keep track – probably in a little notebook you carry in your purse or something.
    Also keep in mind that Costco sends out a coupon book every month or so. Sometimes they are silly enough to put some of our staples (OJ, cheese) on sale, not to mention TP, vitamins, batteries, and etc. (Moms: Their store-brand wipes sometimes go on sale and become quite competitive, but don’t get sucked into the dollars-off *both* diapers and wipes deals. You won’t save!)

  4. David says:

    I tend not to buy fresh fruit and vegetables from Costco, unless there’s a special need for them soon (see Tauna’s comment on food going bad before you use it). Everything else seems to be worth it when you factor in the gas/time/etc. of going to another place. Places like Target want you to buy paper products in small unit sizes which don’t store as easily, thus encouraging you to buy less at any one time, resulting in more trips to the store.

    • GirlDuck says:

      Well, I think that depends on whether one of the other stores is close by and whether you go to them anyway for special things. Like diapers or for sale items that make the trip worth it. But otherwise yah I agree. We get our paper towels and other paper supplies at Costco, but if we happen to be at Target we might buy some there.

  5. cash and carry has some good deals on some things, especially their asian section, and spices. also I buy meat there and break it down into meal size portions and ziplock the meat. Costco I find to be high in their meat section. Purchase whole cuts of meat, and learn to cut your own steaks, stew meat, stir fry, etc. There’s a bit of loss when trimming your own meat but overall it’s usually cheeper. you might find for instance “tri tip” at 3$ a pound in a restaurant size pack untrimmed and trimmed you will find it for 7$ a pound. Of course you need freezer space. Pork and Chicken I tend to not want to keep as long, but Beef can usually be stored in a good freezer for a good year.
    Just some thoughts from a cook.

    • GirlDuck says:

      Those are great suggestions! I’ll need to learn how to cut beef up like that. I really have no idea. I’ve never tried cash n carry but I’d like to. I also have been curious about a few local butcher shops.

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