I hope you will indulge me. I must be in some sort of investigative mood lately because it’s rare I will post two “informational only” posts in a row. You can take the girl out of reporting….but you can’t take the reporter out of the girl. :-) And for the person who commented on a recent post that I should tell less stories and just get to the point…this one’s for you. :-)
Here’s a statistic that might be a bit shocking…..as of April of this year (2012), according to the USDA, the average family of four spent anywhere from $694.30 to $1240.10 on food a month! That’s up from $530.30 to $1203.00 just one year ago. That’s a lot of MONEY! No wonder so many of us are looking for more ways to cut back!
One way MANY people attempt to save $$ in their monthly household budget is to shop at warehouse stores like Costco and Sam’s Club. I personally have a membership…even though the closest one is a good 30 minute drive away. There are couple dozen items that we regularly buy there that make it worthwhile for us.
After looking at many articles on the subject, and keeping in mind that everyone’s “list” is going to be slightly different…I have come up with the top things *I* think should be purchased in bulk, if possible, to save money:
Buying TP in bulk can be up to 50 percent cheaper than buying a few rolls at a time. The challenging thing about this is finding a place to STORE those huge packages. Under the bed is always an option! :-)
If your pet sticks with one type of food, why not stock up on Fido’s favorite fare??
This is a no-brainer if you have an extra freezer to store your surplus. Warehouse stores typically offer good quality meat. Just be careful to seal and freeze it properly, and don’t fool yourself into thinking that it will last in there forever.
When you buy all that meat, you’ll need something to store it in. It’s good to buy storage products like foil, freezer bags and containers in bulk.
You know you’re going to need one vitamin per day, for the rest of your life, so you might as well buy in bulk. However, a bottle of 500 pills is only a good value if you take them all, so keep expiration dates in mind. You may not be able to go through that large of a supply before the pills expire. In general, vitamin tablets last about four to five years.
Diapers (if applicable)
Babycenter.com estimates that the average baby’s diapers cost about $1,100 in a single year! Once baby has reached a consistent diaper size (or has just graduated to a new size), buy as many as your car will hold! (and pray for early toilet-training!)
Cooking oils sold at warehouse stores, especially large containers of olive oil, are a better bargain than those sold at grocery stores. You’ll find yourself saving a lot more money by buying a gallon vs. a liter at the supermarket, which often can cost as much as the bulk version. Of course use common sense. If you RARELY cook ANYTHING with oil…or anything at ALL…maybe skip this one.
Including cereal and canned goods with distant expiration dates. Products like canned tuna or soup are around 30 percent cheaper in bulk at the warehouse clubs than at standard grocery stores.
Jump at the chance to save on light bulbs and batteries. People often forget to buy these until the lights go out.
Dentists recommend that you start using a new toothbrush after three months, but the average American waits nine months to make the switch. So keeping a bulk supply can help improve your dental hygiene. You can also offer your extra toothbrushes as spares for forgetful house guests.
Purchase your favorite brands (or the ingredients to MAKE YOUR OWN cleaning products) in bulk. You use them on a daily basis and they keep your home clean and healthy.
Dried Beans and Pasta
Because they last so long and take up relatively little space, dried beans and pasta are great pantry fillers. Dried pasta will last up to two years in a sealed container. Dried beans, will last about a year.
Soap and Shampoo
Buying these items in bulk saves a few cents an ounce on shampoo or per bar of soap, and over time it definitely adds up. Don’t forget razors and deodorant too!
And as long as we’re on the subject….here are a few additional tips on……
What NOT To Buy In Bulk
Soda and Chips
These are big promotional items for supermarkets, especially around big events like the Superbowl, and national holidays. Major manufacturers help retailers deeply discount products on a rotating basis.
Supermarkets will always feature one in-season item at doorbuster prices. No need to eat them at once, either. Grapes freeze well! :-)
Candy and unhealthy snacks
Although you may save money buying candy and unhealthy snacks in bulk, having a lot of these items around may cause you to overeat, which will be a detriment to your health. Saving money is not worth the cost to your health.
Although frozen food will last longer than regular food, it may take up too much space in your freezer and you may not be able to finish it before its expiration date. Frozen products also have a shorter shelf life than canned foods.
They may be more affordable in bulk the high fat content in nuts (particularly in peanuts, pecans, and walnuts) causes them to go rancid rather quickly.
Mayo (and other Condiments)
These tend to only last six months to a year and take much longer to get through than you’d expect.
Unless you cook ALL THE TIME it might be best to buy spices in smaller quantities. Spices lose their potency in six months to a year.
Hopefully you’ve found some helpful information here. As always….I hope you will chime in with your thoughts and ideas on the subject as well! Knowledge is power…..frugal buying power! :-)