Buying Groceries in Bulk
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Buying Groceries in Bulk

Posted on Sunday, July 24th, 2011 at 4:12 pm
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Although it is not necessarily practical to buy all your groceries in bulk, it can be beneficial to buy the essentials in bulk. Pretty much anything you buy in bulk will save you money simply because items packaged in bulk have lower per unit costs. However, you can also lose money if you don’t shop wisely. The most common stores for buying in bulk are the warehouse stores such as Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s Wholesale.

What are the essentials?

The essentials are the things you use daily. Nonperishable goods are also good to buy in bulk. With all food items you purchase in bulk, you will want to make sure to store them in a cool, dry place. Here are some ideas of bulk money savers to get you started:

  • Toilet paper. Everyone uses it everyday, so why not save money by buying in bulk?
  • Paper Towels.
  • Trash bags.
  • Personal hygiene products, such as shampoo, soap, toothpaste, etcetera.
  • Prepackaged foods, such as granola bars, oatmeal, cereal, etcetera.
  • Bottled beverages and water.
  • Laundry detergent.
  • Condiments.
  • Canned foods.
  • Pasta and rice.

What shouldn’t I buy in bulk?

Things you want to avoid buying in bulk are items that will go out of date before you get a chance to finish them. Some of these items are obvious, such as with fruits and vegetables. However, there are some perishable items you might not be aware of. In most cases, buying the following items in bulk will end up costing you more money in the long run.

  • Perishable foods, such as fruits, vegetables, fresh juice, and meats.
  • Bread.
  • Nuts. Unless you eat a ton of nuts, they only have a shelf life of 4-6 months so be careful.
  • Spices. Even though the per unit savings may be tempting, spices lose their flavor over time. Most people don’t use enough spices to buy in bulk.
  • Bleach. Bleach retains its full potency for about 6 months. However, it should be okay for household use for about 10 months. Either way, unless you use a lot of bleach, you might want to avoid buying it in bulk.
  • Oils. Unopened oils (such as olive, vegetable, peanut, and other cooking oils) have a shelf life of about a year. But once opened they will only last for about 4-6 months.
  • Brown rice. Because of the higher oil content of brown rice, it only stores well for up to 6 months, unlike white rice which will last for years.

What are the benefits of buying in bulk?

  • The savings, of course! Not only is the per unit price of bulk items lower, but you will also make less trips to the store.
  • You will always have the essentials on hand when you need them.
  • Reduces packaging waste.

Where do I store my bulk purchases?

If you, like many people, don’t have a ton of extra storage space just sitting around you might be wondering where you are going to put all your bulk purchases. If you can, clear out an extra closet, cabinet, or pantry that you aren’t really using. This can be your bulk purchase storage area. If you have to, you can also purchase relatively inexpensive free standing cabinets. Another idea for storing bulk purchases is to transfer the contents into smaller airtight jars, Tupperware, or containers since most bulk items come in bulky, over-sized packaging – just be sure to mark the dates so you can keep your bulk purchases organized!


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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.