Skip to main content

How Buying Bulk Saves Us Money




We are great fans of Costco and have been for years. We have 4 children and cooked at home most meals so we got used to buying bulk. But as newly retired people, we had to ask ourselves if buying bulk was still the most money saving way to buy. And simple answer is yes!

The thing to know about bulk shopping is to only get those things you are use frequently. Most of the canned and frozen foods have a shelf life of about a year. And if you bulk shop, you really need to get used to finding that date. Our favorite list of canned items include: olives, diced tomatoes, corn, beans, refried beans, tomato sauce, the canned chicken, beef and tuna. I noticed that Costco doesn't break down their food prices so you can see how much per can, but that is NOT difficult to do. You take the total price for the bulk pack, divide it by the number of cans and that is your per can price. Why do you need to know that? So you can compare prices with what the similar item costs in your local grocery store. When the price drops below what Costco offers per can, you can stock up at your local grocery store instead. This is where a price book comes in handy... but that is for another blog post. Now the reason we get the "pure" item instead of let's say, canned chili or a pasta in sauce is so that we can make a variety of meals using the item rather than just the one type of meal. We also buy olive oil, spaghetti sauce, pasta, paper products, cleaning supplies and just recently had our printer ink refilled.  Below is an example of the Costco product sign. 12 cans of green beans for $7.79 total. That would be .65 per can using the formula above. 


In addition, we usually pick up some frozen chicken breast, thighs, drumsticks, ground beef, stew meat, etc. About two years ago, we decided to purchase a freezer so we could "stock up" when things went on sale, and for us, it's mostly meat in our freezer. Again, we like to have the ability to make several different meals from what we buy rather than the breaded chicken breast, meat in sauce or with pasta, etc. 

Here are just a few examples of things we have gotten at a deep discount. Shortly after Christmas and Easter, we visited our local bulk store, Smart & Final, and found spiral sliced hams more than half off! We brought them home, cut the meat off the bone, packaged it into 1 lb. vacuum sealed packages and restocked our freezer for at least 6 months to a year of ham! You can do the same around Thanksgiving when you buy a turkey and get a turkey. Either keep it frozen for the next holiday, or go ahead and cook it up, take the pieces off the bones and make bags of cooked meat and turkey broth. Earlier this year, we also bought 50 lbs. of carrots and 50 lbs. of potatoes and canned them in our pressure canner. Because it is just my husband and I now, we used pint jars and have an entire years supply of both canned potatoes and carrots for under $20. Canning is NOT difficult. Most cities offer classes at the county extension offices and supplies can be picked up at thrift shops, garage sales and from friends who no longer want to do it. Jars can also be picked up for cheap or free off Craigslist. I would highly recommend learning this skill. It can save you BIG time!


We also buy rice and beans in the giant bags and store them in heavy duty food grade pails. Some of the beans get processed in pint jars in the pressure cooker so we can have them on hand for weeknight meals and the rest will get us through an entire year at a time. Again, these are the 25 to 50 lb. bags of rice and beans. And since we make our own bread and baked items, we will buy the flour, sugar, spices, bread flour, yeast, butter, chocolate chips and nuts in bulk. You can usually find really good prices on baking items around the Holidays if you don't want to get a membership to a "club" store like Costco and still want to buy bulk.

Now how do we budget for bulk shopping? The easiest way is to make it part of your monthly food budget that you set aside rather than spend. We do our big shopping maybe 3 to 4 times a year and it seldom goes over $300. So we put away $75 to $100 a month towards the big trips. Another good way to save up is to wait for a tax return or work bonus and use that money.

You can drop a lot of cash at a store like Costco so you really have to watch out and think before you buy and do some research. And for us, we never, EVER charge anything we buy there. It's too easy to buy with a credit card thinking you will pay the food off as you eat it.  But most of the time, that never happens, and I'm speaking from past experience,
So BE CAREFUL. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Baby Shower Busy-ness

Ok, you probably thought I fell off the face of the earth right? Nope, there is just alot happening around here. The next event is Beckie's Baby Shower this Sunday. Decided to make my very first Diaper Cake and these are just a few of the pictures.

The first thing I did was watch about 20 YouTube videos describing how to do it. Then I bought my supplies and put it together roughly first then more refined about a day later. This is a close up of the baby sock roses with mitten leaves. Yes, that video DOES exist!

Next is a close up of wrist rattles and a little caterpiller radio that makes soothing sounds for baby. Background ribbon is from WalMart and the blanket set is from the Jungle Adventure Collection at K-mart.


The topper for our "Jungle" themed cake is a Silver Back Ganz Gorilla.


These little links slipped easily over the ribbon and added a little extra bling to the sides of the cake.


Each layer consists of diapers along with extras like washcloths, burp pads and Ones…

Hey Retirement! Don't take OUR Date Night Away!!

"Wait! Did we budget for Date Night??"

Wednesday night is Date Night at our house. It's been that way for a LONG time! And we didn't want retirement to do away with our weekly fun. So today, I'm going to cover some good ways to keep that fun coming and be able to pay for it with slightly reduced funds.
Put some money in the budget. Analyze what you can afford and how many times you will be going out during the month. If you get paid twice a month, budget for two date nights. If you get paid weekly, you only need to budget it in for the week. For us, we are getting paid once a month so we will budget for 4 to 5 nights out. We set aside about $20 to $25 per week for date nightRemember, it's about spending time together not how fancy the dining is. You can make a picnic one week and then spend double the following week at a nice place. You can make dinner at home and go to see a play or movie. In our case we could go to the beach with some hot dogs, potato chips a…

Valentino!

As last year drew to a close, so did the life of my most cherished chihuahua, Rico. I'd had him for almost 16 years and over the past 3 or 4, I watched as he went mostly blind and began suffering with trachea collapse. After 4 visits to the doggie hospital for oxygen in December, he finally had his final ER visit on New Year's Eve and we made sad decision to have him put down. What a way for a year to end. By this time, I had already chosen my "Word of the Year" for 2018 which was Joy and was having trouble figuring out just what was joyful about little Rico's passing. I also decided that he was going to be my last dog because my husband and I are getting older and I didn't want to have a dog that would need to be "passed down" in the event of our deaths. But, every day, I found myself cruising the online breeders for another chihuahua. I visited the local pet shops with their super high priced dogs looking for a replacement for Rico, and had nearly…