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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thrifty Thursday - Buying in bulk

Is it economical to buy food in bulk?  Yes.  No.  It depends.  :)  How's that for an answer?
Here's why...

Yes -
1. If you have room to store it.
2. If you have a large family.
3. If the bulk price is cheaper than the regular packaged price.
4. If the items have a long storage life.
5. If your family likes the food.

No -
1. If you don't have room to store it.
2. If you're planning on moving in the near future.
3. If it's more expensive in bulk form.
4. If it's perishable.
5. If it's food your family can't stand.

Having said that, I can tell you that I've done all the wrong things at one time or another.  I've stocked up on bulk food only months before a move.  I've bought food in bulk that was nasty tasting.  I've wasted fresh fruit because we didn't eat it fast enough and I didn't get around to doing anything with it.

However, because I raised a large family, buying in bulk was generally a money saver.  My "canisters" were 5 gallon buckets and plastic containers.  If you're going to spend the money to buy in bulk, you want to protect that food from insects and other critters.  So, you can't store things in their original bags. 

Now that my family is getting smaller, I'm having a hard time adjusting to smaller sizes.  Some things I continue to buy in large sizes because I like the product or I can easily repackage in freezer bags...things like crushed tomatoes and olives.  Weird, huh?  My husband still likes to buy large containers of things and I keep telling him that we don't need pickles in the gallon jar any more!  Oh well, we won't run out of pickles any time soon.  :)


  1. Hahaha I have such big problems with this stuff... I love bulk food and it's so silly when there's just the two of us :) great tips for the future!!!

    1. Just don't keep fish in the refrigerator for too long and you'll be fine :)

  2. Love the labels! And it is so important to check prices. I had been shopping for sugar a few months ago (it's a lot more expensive than it used to be) and the cheapest I found it at the time was at a random store in 5 pound packages. It helps to stay on top of the current prices so that you know it when you see a good deal. Costco isn't necessarily always the best way to go...

    1. A good point Jeanne! Especially if you are going to be buying 25-50 pounds of something, checking prices first will save you a substantial amount of money.

      The labels are removable for washing or changing the contents :)

  3. One thing I've learned about shopping in bulk with a smaller family is that it is possible to do as long as you do it from a store where you can pick how much you want (i.e., Winco, for example). Sometimes the selection is better, you can try something in small quantities at first and then get more to 'stock up' based on your family size if you really like it.

    I still love Costco, though!!!

    1. I agree David. Stores like Winco are wonderful for trying out a product first. They're also wonderful if you need a small amount of a spice you don't normally stock in your kitchen. Two tablespoons of a spice is only about 10-25 cents. I love Winco!

  4. You are impressive! Or did you just find that photo on the internet? ;-)

    1. They're mine :) Notice the container for Goldfish Crackers? We know what's important at our house :)

  5. It looks like the goldfish container is empty... ;)