Saving money buying groceries in bulk works if you follow a small list of rules-track prices, don’t overstock, know your product and watch expiry. With these rules and knowledge of what to avoid buying, you should be able to make money-saving purchases of bulk groceries.
Stores that offer bulk buys include stores specializing in bulk purchases such as Costco and Sam’s Club, and many of your local grocery stores have a bulk section. Check out your local directory for bulk stores near you as they go by a variety of names. Check for online stores offering grocery store items in bulk such as Amazon and Boxed.com.
Three Simple Rules for Bulk Buying
Know the price of the product at your local grocery, discount, and drug store. You can overpay if you aren’t aware if it is a bargain. Create a price book to track these items. Learn how to figure the Price per Unit. Price per unit is comparing serving or ounces to a similar product that may be a different size. The site offers a free Spend Smart, Eat Smart app that will figure it for you. Armed with this information, you will be able to determine if the bulk buy is a bargain.
Know the product
It is always a good idea to try out low priced products to see if they are acceptable, but not when you are bulk shopping. Know if you like the product before buying in bulk.
Don’t overstock and watch the expiry date
Only buy as much product that you can use before the food rots or hits its expiry date. For example, bleach starts losing its effectiveness in six months. Overstocking is a waste of money if you are throwing away a part of your purchase.
Bulk Buying to Avoid
Fresh produce- buying large quantities of produce only makes sense if you have a large family, cooking for a crowd, sharing with a friend, or planning on freezing or canning the surplus.
Fresh milk and eggs -usually the price break is minimal.
Spices have a short shelf-life, and many will go bad before you use up a large spice bottle or can. Buying from the bulk section of grocery stores (self-serve bins) allows you to decide the quantity you need.
Shampoos, conditioners, soaps, and deodorant are frequently put on sale by grocery and drug stores making them cheaper than bulk buying at bulk stores.
Maybe Good Buys
Meat and cheese if you have freezer space, a food sealer and the time to separate into smaller packages. Refer to the FDA food storage chart for how long the food can remain in the freezer. Cornell has a food keeper app that lists most food products. Use this chart to figure out the pounds of meat needed to have a family-size serving for each cut.
Onions and green peppers that are chopped and ready to use is convenient to have on hand if you have time to chop some up and freeze.
Best Bulk Buys
Alkaline batteries -these have a long shelf life if kept in a cool, dry place.
Canned goods- canned goods have a shelf life of a year.
Toilet paper, sanitary napkins and other paper goods -paper goods can last a long time. Make sure you have storage spaces for the excess.
Office and school supplies -notebooks, pens, pencils, etc. -you can save by buying these in bulk — store the excess for next year.
Toothbrushes and toothpaste -if you change toothbrushes every few months, as recommended, it is economical to buy them in bulk.
Pasta, dried beans, and rice have a long shelf life if kept cool and dry.
You can use these same tips when items go on sale at non-bulk stores, and you are considering buying the product in quantity. Keep your price book up to date. Check out deals and offerings from a variety of stores and start saving.
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