What To Buy {And What NOT To Buy} In Bulk!

buying in bulkI 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 in bulk

Toilet Paper.

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! :-)

buying in bulk

Pet Food.

If your pet sticks with one type of food, why not stock up on Fido’s favorite fare??

buying in bulk

Meat.

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.

buying in bulk

Storage products.

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.

buying in bulk

Vitamins.

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.

buying in bulk

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!)

buying in bulk

Cooking Oil

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.

buying in bulk

Nonperishable foods.

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.

buying in bulk

Batteries.

Jump at the chance to save on light bulbs and batteries. People often forget to buy these until the lights go out.

buying in bulk

Dental care.

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.

buying in bulk

 

Cleaning products.

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.

buying in bulk

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.

buying in bulk

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.

Produce.

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.

Frozen food.

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.

Nuts.

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.

Spices.

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! :-)

 




Share on Facebook397Tweet about this on Twitter4Pin on Pinterest4469Google+1

Enjoy This Post? Never Miss Another!

Subscribe to Jillee's FREE email newsletter and receive more great tips and ideas!

   

Comments

  1. Sherry Burgess says

    I really enjoy your posts on Pinterest and I love your sense of humor. I tried the Dove wash recipe and I am amazed!!! Now,I just need to find a way not to make such a big mess when putting it in bottles..sigh!!
    Thanks

    Sherry

    • itismedia says

      Sherry,
      One of the BEST purchases I ever made for the kitchen was a set of funnels. They were not expensive and they range in size from a small one with a small funnel spout to a larger one that can be used for the wider mouth jars. They stack together and take up very little room. Mine have a silicone bottom half (where the down spout is) and plastic at the top where you would be pouring whatever in. Hope that helps. ~ Diane

  2. says

    Another good source for vitamins is the mail order company, Puritan’s Pride, when they have buy 1 get 2 free.

    I drive about 40 minutes to Sam’s Club but find that it’s worth it for their store brand EVOO, TP and meats.

  3. Lynn says

    I buy pecans in bulk whenever I catch them on sale. They are my nut of choice for baking, and I use a lot, especially during the holidays. True, they can go rancid, BUT they freeze very nicely! I plan to keep at least a half dozen in the big freezer all the time “just in case” the mood to bake strikes. As for how long they last – I’ve used some that I know were in the freezer for more than 2 years, and they tasted absolutely perfect!

  4. malinda blevins says

    Toothbrushes and toothpaste may be cheaper at Costco then a regular grocery store- but I hate to spend over a dollar for a toothbrush- so I pick up extras when a drug store has a close out- and the Dollar Tree has tooth brushes and tooth paste for a dollar- we stock up on these- take a basket of toiletries when we tailgate at the military school where my son goes- the cadets can not always get out to pick up the “little things!”

    • Marion in Savannah says

      Every time I have my teeth cleaned at the dentist (2 or 3 times a year) I’m given a new set of toothbrush, floss and small sample tube of toothpaste. Most dentists do that now, don’t they?

      I keep the new and most recent brushes in the bathroom (older one for morning brushing, newer one for after dinner brushing) and then the older ones go to the kitchen for small scrubbing jobs like cleaning the microplaner and strainers. I have to buy toothpaste, but I get that at Sam’s Club in packs of 3 about twice a year.

  5. Juliet says

    Yes for the TP! What we save on the OTC Allergy Medicine more than covers our membership fee each year. Their yeast is also a good deal — 2 1lb. blocks for about $4. I just keep it in the fridge in a tupperware after opening. We get our garbage bags as well. You hate spending $24, but I think they last up 18-24 months.

    • Mary says

      I no longer buy garbage bags. For the kitchen I found a $4 rubbermaid trash can at wal-mart that holds the plastic grocery bags. The trash goes out every day (sometimes more than once) and it’s free. We have the small cans from the $ Tree around the house. I put 5-10 bags in those at a time and we just take out the top one when it’s full.

      We did have re-usable grocery bags, but they didn’t last and they get germy and we always seemed to forget them.

  6. says

    I always buy TP in bulk although last month I think I over did it. Its only me in my house and I currently have around 30 rolls!

    Oh well, they were on offer and its definitely saving me money in the long run! :D

  7. says

    I live 140 miles from the nearest Costco and it is still worth it to me to “stock” up on certain things especially with our higher cost of living. Not only for cost savings, but to ensure I am prepared for hurricane season. It is finally nice to see warehouses starting to carry more organic products. I too, do purchase nuts and store them in the freezer without any problems. (pecans are $16 a pound in our local grocer) I do like to stress the importance of buying local and supporting small business when you can. Sometimes I will buy something from my local health food store, knowing I am paying $3 or $4 more, but I like knowing I am helping the store stay open and they will be there when I need them.

  8. Eric Gregg says

    Spices can last a few years if you buy them whole, rather than already ground (e.g. whole nutmeg). My experience is that they are more powerful when freshly ground anyway. I keep a cheap-o coffee grinder tucked away just for spices.

  9. Emily says

    I love shopping in bulk, but after frustration with diaper prices, we’ve let our membership at our local warehouse expire. Diapers are much more expensive there than deals you can get at stores, especially since you can use coupons! I prefer to buy the huge pack on amazon.com. But I will miss the meat. We’ll probably still make an annual trip and just pay the 10% fee (if I’m spending anything less than $350 on my bulk toiletries, it’s till a better deal). Great post, just want to point out that warehouse prices aren’t always better!

  10. Cynthia says

    Pecans and walnuts are easily frozen and keep up to a year in the deep freeze. They thaw quickly and actually chop more easily when still partially frozen. I keep the large bag in the deep freezer in the mud room and a small one in the freezer of the refrigerator so I’m not continually opening the deep freeze. I’m diabetic and the nuts are also a good high-protein snack.

  11. says

    Here are a few of my favorite tips.

    - Tampons/pads in bulk can be an awesome deal. I once bought 20 – $1 off tampax tampons coupons from ebay. I combined that coupon with a sale and bought 20 boxes of tampons for 99 cents a box. 20 boxes was a 2 year supply.

    - If you have the space, freeze nuts bought in bulk. They’ll last longer.

    - don’t buy liquid fabric softener or gel dish washer detergent in bulk. Both get runny, clumpy and gross. The Gel breaks down into a watery mess. I prefer fabric softener crystals. Those are AWESOME bought in bulk.

    - if you find that you’ve overstocked on an item, sell some of your stash to your friends. When I needed to thin my stockpile I sold some of my items to a friend. She was thrilled to get great prices and I was thrilled to have more space.

    - when storing your goodies separate the soaps and cleaning products from the rice, pasta, flour and beans. The perfume smell can leach from some products into the dry goods.

  12. April says

    As someone who is super passionate about the animals and dogs especially, I have to comment. Please, please, please reconsider purchasing pet food from the big box stores – or at a minimum do your own research. Please.
    Any pet food containing a meat-protein-by-product, corn or corn products in the first five ingredients is not a good quality food (in my limited research, big box stores typically only carry these types of food). In my own experiences, corn especially has contributed to Fido’s weight problem; it’s a filler that doesn’t satisfy our pets. (Yes, good quality food is far more expensive, but all of my pets actually needed to eat MUCH smaller portions once transitioned to the higher quality food. I also saw other improvements from coat to energy level.) Pet food can also spoil or go bad so you must store it carefully. All the best to you and your pet!

    • itismedia says

      April,

      I agree. My cat uses a prescription food and my dog is on a higher end food without fillers. The vet explained (years ago) that the cheaper foods are like humans having a fast food diet. It will sustain them, but can lead to excess weight, disease, etc… We lost one of our dogs last year. She was a rescue and when we got her she had a slew of problems. She was overweight, but malnourished because of the diet the owners she was removed from fed her, the weight caused hip problems, she was without shelter (rain, sleet, snow, blazing heat) and developed arthritis in nearly every joint, she had to have 3 teeth removed (again because of the diet the previous owners), AND she had heartworms so bad we had to treat her twice. The vet gave her 1 to 1.5 years and said to look at it as her last year would be happy and away from the neglect she had suffered most of her life.
      We treated everything, put her on pain meds, suppliments and a GOOD QUALITY dog food. She was 17 when she died…8 years older than the vet had intially given her.

      It is worth it to me to spend 40.00 every 6-7 weeks to feed our dog (the one still with us is almost 7 and also a lab). He gets only 1 cup twice a day verses the 2 cups I would have to feed him of the filler food. It breaks down to be almost the same.

      I am not judging anyone and I understand that just like human food we sometimes have to buy what we can afford, but we all know hamburger helper is not as good for us, although cheaper. =+)

    • maggie says

      Costco’s Kirkland super-premium line is made by Diamond (same plant that makes many other well-known high end brands). It has an ingredient list that rivals Canidae, and their canned food has tripe and other ingredients that you typically see only in $3/can brands. Also, Costco has recently introduced a higher end GRAIN-FREE dog kibble with an ingredient list almost identical to Taste of the Wild (which, coincidentally, is also a Diamond-produced food). It is the ONLY store brand that is in this league, and it’s only because Costco went out of its way to develop a super-premium food for members.

      That said, are there better foods out there: yes, and I feed one of them. Are there better foods out there at this price? NO. If money’s tight, Costco’s price point may makes it possible to feed a “pretty good” food at a very reasonable price.

  13. says

    Good post! I do disagree on a couple things. As far as paper products including tp, I’ve found Sam’s to be higher in price than the local discount stores. Also, we buy our nuts from Sams. We keep a small quantity in the pantry and the rest is in the freezer. We buy our olive oil there since we not only cook/bake with it, we use it to make our soap! Other items we buy at Sam’s include their cheeses and some fish. However, we do buy local meats from our health food stores to not only help the stores but to support our local farmers.

    • Marion in Savannah says

      I guess it depends on where you live, or if there are options other than Sam’s. The cheapest place I’ve ever found for bulk purchasing down here is Sam’s, and we’ve almost stopped going to the “regular” grocery stores.

      I buy meat in bulk there and cut, portion and freeze it, because the quality of the meat I find there is not only better but more reliable than what I can get in the local supermarkets. I certainly get paper products (TP, paper towels) and things like toothpaste, vitamins and ibuprofen (I’m an old, arthritic creature) when needed. Another thing I do is bulk buy stuff like sweet potatoes when they show up in the fall 10 pounds at a time, bake them, and then mash the baked sweet potatoes with nothing added and package them in 2-cup portions in freezer bags for freezing. We love sweet potatoes with pork chops, and they’re hard to find in most of the year down here.

      I also get other bulk items at Sam’s that places like Ronald McDonald House need (toilet paper, paper towels, unscented laundry detergent, etc.), or what our church’s “Backpack Buddies” program for kids in fragile food situations needs, like cans of beef stew, soups, peanut butter, juice boxes, etc.

      All in all, I guess I really rely on Sam’s more than I knew!

  14. itismedia says

    A few things…

    1. Someone complained that you talked too much on YOUR blog? I personally love your stories and think you should continue as you have been. It helps me to know your experience with what you are talking about. I may not always have the same experience (i.e. the oil face washed did not work for me at all =+( So sad).

    2. We have a Sam’s Club near us, but the annual fee has kept me away. I think it is about 35.00???? I can get boneless skinless chicken on sale at my local grocery store for around 1.99lb. I watch out for BOGO sales for EVOO and get roughly 32oz for 5-6.00, I HATE buying TP, but that is about 6.00 for a dozen double rolls, I make all our cleaners, we do not use Ptowels, and we did not have little ones. Is the price of the memebership still worth it?

    3. I am absolutely shocked at the grocery spending averages! My husband and I just discussed our grocery spending for last month and I was moaning about reducing it until he pointed out his daughter had been here for the whole month, my youngest daughter had graduated HS and we had a party, AND my 21 year old son has moved home to go back to school (MAN can he eat!). Our grocery bill was 450 for 5 people for the month. 1/3 of the high end for a family of 4! WOW!

    THANKS for anyone’s input on #2!
    Diane

    • says

      I have to agree Diane. We had a membership and there were a couple benefits to it, but I really don’t think we ended up saving any money for what we usually buy. I look out for good deals and arrange our meals to match the deals…so only a few items really benefitted us at Sam’s club. I would bet I could have found the same prices if I’d been looking for them elsewhere too. We have a family of 3 and usually hover around $300 for the month.

    • Marion in Savannah says

      Yeah, Sam’s Club costs us $35 a year. I’m generally able to save that amount within the first month of the year, on meat alone.

      I’m not sure where you all live that you can find better, cheaper meat or staples than at Sam’s, but I’d love to find out where you’re shopping so I can go there too.

  15. Michele says

    I can’t even begin to imagine having a $500 or more for a food budget! I buy 2 weeks of groceries for a family of 4 for $120! And that’s NOT using extreme couponing! We have recently considered a club membership, but our trouble is finding storage also. My kitchen has NO cabinet space for any kind of stocking up!
    I love your posts and enjoy hearing your stories….keep up the good work!

    • itismedia says

      Michelle,

      I am not sure if this is an option for you, but we use our garage. I bought 2 multi-tier shelves at yard sales they are only a couple of feet wide and 5 shelves high (6 for one if you count the space underneath one). I keep soaps, shampoos, tampons, etc… on one and foods that bugs cannot get into (unopened juices, sauces, condiments, etc…) on the other one. I have a pantry in my kitchen, but it is small. I just stock it as needed from the garage. This way when my Publix has pasta sauce BOGO I can buy say 8, I keep 1-2 in the kitchen pantry and the rest in the garage. Buying the shelves from the store can be super expensive. I just kept my eye out at garage sales and found them about a month apart for 5.00 each.

      I have a friend that doesn’t have a garage and she bought under the bed rolling containers (like the rubbermaid) and she keeps extra things under her bed and restocks as needed.

      Hope one of these suggestions help!
      Diane

    • Sue says

      Consider finding room for storage (even under your bed) for extra food. If there is a national emergency, food distribution systems might be interrupted for several weeks. It is smart to have food and water ( meds and medical supplies, too) on hand. My area is so remote that I think it will be nearly last on the priorities list to be resupplied, and even if you are in a large city, many people will be wanting the limited air-lifted supplies your community receives.

  16. says

    Thanks for insights! I feel somewhat validated now that we have a Costco membership but have to travel an hour into the city to go there. (Anniversary dinner in the city? Only if it’s following the obligatory Costco and Trader Joe’s trip.) The prices on EVOO, allergy meds, and cheese make it worth it. Don’t know why cheese is such a bargain there compared to our grocery store, but it is. The increase in food expenditures is also really interesting — no wonder I’m having trouble keeping to our same monthly food budget as last year!

    • Catherine's not naturally crafty says

      I know, what is with it and the good deals on cheese and pork ? That alone makes it worth it to us. We use a lot of Blue cheese and cheddar so I buy bulk, freeze the blue crumbles as is and then grate the cheddar, portion it into 8 0z zip bags and it keeps for a good year. The pork loins and pork butts are always way cheaper than any rotating monthly sale price at any of our supermarkets or meat markets. I’ve even compared prices to our Mexican market where meats and produce are often better on quality and cost and Sam’s pork prices can’t be beat. I slice up the loins and freeze them and halve the butts bag ‘em and tag ‘em. I often use trimmed pork but and grind it for sausage, meatloaf, etc. and it makes a killer pulled pork in the crock pot. Loin ground can make a great meatball or meatloaf but NOT a good country sausage. Ground turkey is better, but often not as cheap as pork.

      I do buy produce at Sam’s if – I’m entertaining and know I’ll use it up or it’s something I can prep and freeze: celery, carrots, bell pepper, onions are all items I routinely cook with and need sliced or diced. again, look for seasonal values.

      The best advice I ever got about shopping at Sam’s is to take a calculator and make up an average cost per unit on items you buy regularly and tend to need to stock up on. That way you can quickly figure out that the bulk buy of the club item is or isn’t a good value. Second best – get all the air out of whatever you freeze. Air causes oxidation and freezer burn.

  17. Jamie says

    I don’t buy in bulk at all. My house is on a weekly budget for groceries, and household items. I buy diapers, food, dog food for 2 English Mastiffs, and household items for $100-$120 a week and we are a family of five with a 6, 3, and 1 1/2 year-old. I never thought we could do it but with meal planning, a few coupons, and price matching. Before I did any of this I was spending $200-$300 a week.

    • Marion in Savannah says

      Shredded cheese freezes well? DAYUM — WHO KNEW??? (Obviously not me…!) Thanks SO much for that little piece of information. [sneaking off to add shredded cheese to her next shopping list]

  18. Deborah Jennings says

    Jillee, we buy these products at our local grocery store when they put them on a good sale. We may buy 4 big packages of toilet tissue. We buy most of our bulk items when they put them on sale. We have a Sams Club, but it is 45 minutes away, and we never go in that direction anymore. We also shop at the local Dollar Stores when they have a good sale. We do watch the expiration dates on everything we buy. (And I have been known to go to the back of the stock and get the longest dates I can find. Just good Stewardship to me!

    Thank you for all your postings! I love them and love your stories!

  19. says

    I personally have found I can get items much cheaper if I add match and shop at Walmart rather then Costco or Sam’s club. Typically a good sale on an item rolls around every 3 to 4 months. When that items hits it’s all time low sale price, I purchase enough of that item to last me the 3 to 4 months before it reaches another big sale. I also make sure to really pay attention to prices per item per store. And, watch the price per ounce. When an item goes on sale, it might be on a smaller box of cereal, and even though we think ‘bigger is better and cheaper’, look at how much it is per ounce. I can get more cereal if I buy 2 smaller boxes rather then one big box and save at least 30%. Smart shopping is worth it. Yes, it takes more time to add match and cut coupons, but I can stay home with my kids by doing this.

  20. Connie says

    Great list! I follow many of the same guidelines when it comes to stocking my home with household products and pantry. Take a little extra time to compare prices per unit, stock up when on special and be mindful of expiration dates–and don’t buy so much that you cannot reasonably consume before it spoils. Certain food products can be bought in bulk, especially if you can split a package/container with a friend–such as that large jug of oil. Storage can be an issue for some people, but it is a matter of making room for things you need by getting rid of those that you don’t. Repurpose, donate, give away or throw away.

  21. Mary Anne says

    I have to say, as a nurse, I would hold off on buying vitamins in bulk. First of all, they have an expiration date which should be strongly adhered to just as with any medication or supplement. They also lose their efficacy the longer they are held and many times are stored improperly (the bathroom is the *worst* place to store medication and vitamins!) Secondly, I find that a lot of drugstore chains run competing BOGO specials each week and so just by searching your circulars, you can save a boatload of money depending on which store you shop that week. Also, dog food can become infested with bugs or go stale depending on how it is stored; also, the higher-priced and better made dog foods (with less fillers) can also become rancid if stored too long at improper temperatures. We have a sealed bin for our dog food that we store in the cool, dark, basement that only holds 40# of food (for 3 dogs) and it’s happened to us. I’d hate to recommend buying larger quantities just to get a “deal” only to have to dispose of it or spend money on vet bills because Fido is ill… But the biggest takeaway I learned from bulk shopping is to watch the price per ounce – what you think may be a fabulous deal really may not if you compare it to something you could buy at the market with a coupon. And for those naysayers who don’t like your stories – well, they can just go to another blog!

  22. says

    I almost forgot to post my favorite bulk buying tip! Every few months we make a trip to the restaurant supply store. We have a Restaurant Depot near our home. They sell food items in bulk. The prices are better than costco and the membership is free. We’re a family of 5 (3 sons and hubby) so we go through a LOT of food.

    I go to restaurant depot for bread, cases of chicken patties, flour, cans of tomatoes, dry spices and cooking supplies.

    • Faith Davis says

      we shop at GFS (no membership needed)about once every couple of months and mainly buy zip bags, (quart, gallon, sandwich). which saves a ton of money and they are supplies that restaurants and caterers use. I try to buy popcorn kernels there also, you can get a large 5 pound bag for the same price as a 32 ounce package of name brand popcorn kernels at walmart. and popcorn freezes well, has a good shelf life and we eat a ton of it. My hubby loves pickles and we buy the big gallons of them, we also stock up on lunch meats, Plus you can get an extra large size bag of potato chips for the same or less then the name brand at other stores. some items are not a deal, you just need to watch the price per unit.

  23. says

    I am blessed to have a large walk in pantry. I buy basics in bulk such as wheat berries, sugar, spices etc. My pantry is stalked up enough that now I only buy sale items. So when green beans, or whatever canned good, comes on sale I buy a case or however many I need to fill up that particular space on the shelf. I also can and dry a lot of my own fruits, salsa’s, tomatoes etc. I have a large cupboard in my garage for storing paper goods. My budget is $200.00 per month for two people (and granddaughters that visit regularly). Sometimes, I spend much less than that and other times I will spend more depending on what the sales are for the month and what I need. My sale shopping is limited as we only have 2 grocery stores between 2 small towns about 10 miles apart. Ours Sams club is 70 miles away and we go about every 6 weeks for cheese, butter etc. as I have found that dairy items are cheaper there. I buy several bags of cheese etc. divide them up into smaller bags and freeze them. Most diary products freeze well.
    You will also save quite a bit if you make a menu planned around what is on sale for that week or for what you already have in your storage.

  24. says

    I agree for the most part, but I do buy some of my produce at Costco. You can’t get cheaper bananas at the grocery store, and when they have pineapples, they are bigger and a better price than grocery stores usually offer, apples are usually cheaper too, but you have to buy them in 10 pound bags. Also I make a lot of salads and they have a huge pack of romaine lettuce there that is super affordable. Just like grocery stores, they have great prices on a lot of in season produce.

  25. Debbie says

    Oh please don’t get rid of the stories! I don’t always have a use for what your are making, BUT I adore the stories you weave into each post. This is what keeps me coming back each day :)

  26. Melissa says

    I haven’t shopped in bulk or buy anything for household use at retail price anymore! COUPONS does wonders! Paying a small fraction of the retail price or nothing for things I need! Other than groceries! This is the only way I stock up on my things and have saved us loads of money..
    Btw, love your blogs!!

  27. says

    Awww…thanks Debbie (and Sandi K, itismedia, Michele, Deborah, Mary Anne, Carolyn and Kori). You convinced me. I’ll keep telling my goofy stories. I doubt I could have stopped anyway. I’m a “story-teller” by nature. I can’t help it! Ask my Mom…I was always writing stories…even as a little girl. Her favorite one to remind me of is the story I wrote in 5th or 6th grade entitled “A Day In The Life Of A Piece of Chewing Gum.” lol! Talk about your over-active imaginations! ;-)

  28. Chels says

    I lover your posts, and to whoever said you should just “get to the point” shouldn’t be reading them! I love your stories!

    Im trying figure out how to follow you via BLOGSPOT not Google+. Could you help me!?

  29. Olivia says

    I think this is a great lead on things to buy in bulk. I personally enjoy the way you write on our blog. It is always inform-able (is that a word? lol) and i gives me an idea of your sense of humor.
    I am going to use this info… Thanks.

  30. Amy says

    I got a small standing freezer on Craig’s list for less than $70 – I buy a lot of freezer items in bulk. We have a BJs close by. I use coupons there. We generally do not eat meat or dairy… but our BJs carries gallons of almond milk for what the grocery store sells a half gallon for. Right there, the membership saves. I put shelves downstairs so I have dry goods storage and paper products… I just started using a menu for meals. I keep staples on hand – plan around sales. We have 4 kids – so buying in bulks helps us..

  31. Luci Sheriff says

    Input from Anyone Welcome here – For food items (mainly) SamsClub vs. Aldi. most all our food shopping done at ALDI. Friends have Sams membership. So which one is the better buy??? Thanks

    • says

      I have asked myself this question. I shop at Aldi’s once a week, often for butter, yogurt, half and half, almond milk, and fresh veggies and fruits. Many of their canned goods are also a better deal. The list in this post is a very good guideline for what you’ll find at a better price at Sam’s vs. Aldi’s. One item that I wavered on was toilet paper. Because the products are not always the same, it’s hard to judge just by square inches or plys or whatever. So I tracked how long a roll lasted us (using about 9 rolls of each) and found that when it came right down to our actual use, the Sam’s Club tp was the clear winner based upon how long a roll lasted and the cost per roll. I also keep a grocery price book, where I record the best prices on the items I typically buy. It has saved me many a mistake when I thought something seemed like a better deal at first glance. Hope this helped answer your question a little if you happen back upon this old post. :-)

  32. Stephanie says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I need to start looking into bulk shopping to keep my home well stocked, but I didn’t know where to start! Growing up, my parents (who had 3 growing girls + their friends) always shopped at Sam’s Club, buying in bulk. Butttttt, they always broke the rules and ended up throwing stuff out because we didn’t eat it fast enough. It was a shame, and a total waste of money. I am gonna forward this post to my mom so she can read it. Brilliant advice!

  33. Lyndsay says

    I buy my vinegar and Dawn at Sam’s, along with TP, paper towels, pasta, olive oil, vanilla, and certain spices (I cook ALL the time, and go through them about every 4 months!). But I don’t buy their meat. I just don’t think the quality is there. Our local grocery store grinds their own hamburger daily, and cuts their own meat at the meat counter. I wait for them to have good deals, and them stock up. I can get fresh ground hamburger prepackaged into 1 lb packs on sale for less than $3 a pound if I wait. And when you buy 20 lbs, they tend to have to grind it while you shop. Also, when roasts go on sale, I usually have them cut me a 5-7 lb one. Cause I need that if I want any leftovers (the joys of feeding 4 boys!).

  34. Ann Marie says

    We don’t do any regular shopping at Costco, but do go there occasionally b/c my hubby has a free membership thru work. Otherwise, it would be hard to convince me to pay for the priviledge of spending my $. I have found that most things aren’t a great deal….even Target brand diapers were cheaper than Kirkland. I only coupon for basic stuff like TP and PT and even without a coupon, they are cheaper on sale at the grocery store. Bottom line is….each family has differing needs and we all need to be diligent and not assume that the Big Box place is cheaper!

  35. Kadee Gray says

    This is a really helpful article and a couple things on your ‘not buy in bulk’ list really stuck out to me because they are things I’ve made trips to Costco specifically for. I’m in my early 20s and this is really helpful as I haven’t done enough shopping to know or pay attention to these little things yet.

    Great post!

    Kadee Gray

  36. Suzy says

    I hate to be critical because I really enjoy your blog, but I did want to comment on the dog food. We noticed that our pup always enjoyed a new bag but stopped eating at the bottom. We finally smelled the bag – it went rancid. We stopped buying big bags and finally now just feed her real food.

  37. Melissa says

    I love your blog and reading the comments people leave. Just wanted to agree with someone who mentioned garage storage. I live in a 4 season climate where our temps range from below zero on a winter’s night to 105 on a summer afternoon. I use a 2 tier shelf in my garage for non-perishables and cleaning items – TP, Ptowels, Comet, Ziploc bags, shampoo, etc…It has been great to have the extra space in my house for food items.
    Keep up your great blog!! Thanks for your hard work :)

  38. Regan says

    Jillee,
    Oh my dear wonderful life changing Jillee. Please please please don’t stop telling stories!
    This is my first time commenting but I’ve been reading your blog for several months now every day. Usually right before I leave for work at 5:30 in the morning.
    I have made “paperless paper towels” for myself and for my Sister-in-law. (I made them out of old flannel sheets. 24 towels for about 1$!!) and laundry detergent and body wash and “oxiclean” so far. I can’t wait to make all the miracle cleaning supplies you have posted. You have changed my life
    No, I don’t think nice cheap laundry detergent changed my life. YOU changed it. Your stories and your incredible cleverness. I don’t have a HE washing machine but I know how to clean one! Because I wanted to read what you had written. Your simple little ways to change how we live and how we think.
    So, please don’t stop telling stories.
    =)
    I promise I’m not crazy
    ~Regan

  39. Lauren says

    We buy most of your dos AND don’ts in bulk. :) I love the rotisserie chickens we get at Sam’s – they seem MUCH bigger than the ones in regular grocery stores, and after taking the bones/skin off, it shreds up and freezes well! I know the herbs & spices don’t last forever, but when I can pay less to get WAY more than at the grocery store, I’m willing to take the risk of it losing potency. My 14-month-old daughter is affectionately known as our little fruit bat, so we buy lots of fresh fruit in bulk. After living in Utah for a few years, I was shocked at produce prices here on the east coast. It pays to be closer to California, I guess! Have some of that “Darn Sweet Corn” for me this summer. And the cherries. Yum…

  40. says

    I actually disagree on the dental care, razors, and deodorant. I’m actually a stickler for replacing my toothbrush every 3 months. I have a stockpile of toothbrushes and toothpastes for free just because drugstores often have them for free after rewards and/or coupons. Same goes for deodorant. Razors have been fairly cheap after coupons as well.

  41. Amanda says

    The best thing I took from this post is Storing the T.P. under the bed! That’s brilliant! We keep ours in the dining room, and I hate it! All this info is great, but I am so thrilled No More Toilet Paper in the Dining Room! Thanks!

  42. Catherine's not naturally crafty says

    Oh yes, if you’ve got a bulk spice bin at your grocery store that’s still going to work out to be much cheaper than a Sam’s and way cheaper than the spices on the baking aisle at the supermarket. Most health food stores sell bulk herbs and spices so if your grocery store doesn’t have the bulk food/spice bins you still usually have that option and man are they cheaper. So do you want to pay 2$ for cinnamon or .35$ for the SAME amount? Plus no additional bottle to deal with recycling. I need to work with my HEB and find out how I can actually bring my empty spice bottles, tare them and just measure what I put inside so I’m not even using the disposable plastic baggie. Same thing goes for oatmeal, nuts, and all the goodies HEB has in their bulk food bins. Oh yes, they have lovely exotic sea salts for less than a 1/3 of what the exact same salts cost if you buy them pre-packaged. that’s just nuts!

  43. Chris says

    Great advice. I agree with all your products that you listed. Naturally if you watch the grocery ads you may find something cheaper with a coupon, but your list of do and don’t buys is right on. Thanks!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] just do not understand why we Brits cannot do this. Why is our food in such places crap? I think 1. What To Buy {And What NOT To Buy} In Bulk! | One Good Thing by … Warehouse stores typically offer good quality meat. Sometimes I will buy something from my local [...]

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *