- Personal Finance»
- Frugal Living»
- Household Expenses
Save Tons of Money, Buy Groceries in Bulk
The More You Buy, the More You Save
I hate when advertising tells us "the more you buy, the more you save". Of course everyone loves to save money. However this type of advertising only focuses on one part of the picture. For example a mobile phone company might offer three accessories for 15$ each if you buy three. If they are normally 20$ each, you are definitely saving. But they have gotten 30$ more of your money. You probably did not intend on buying three accessories, but couldn't pass up the deal of saving 5$ on each.
That same idea of buying in greater quantities is the appeal of all the warehouse clubs. These large member-only warehouses claim to offer great savings, due to the fact that you are buying in bulk, and the fact that it's a warehouse environment. But are the savings offset by the fact that you buy more then you intended on buying? Is buying in bulk really a money-saving strategy?
I have found that it is a money-saving strategy for my family of six. I also see how buying in bulk can be a great source of savings for smaller families, along with larger families. Whether you chose Sam's Club or Costco, I am sure you will find great savings.
Here in Denver, we have both Sam's Club and Costco. As Sam's is a bit closer to my house, I chose to obtain a membership there. I have personally never been into a Costco, but I know they are very similar in products and savings. They are also identical in their setup and warehouse style. Nevertheless, I recently renewed my membership for the 2nd year at Sam's. In looking back I can definitely realize the savings. The 45$ annual fee is well worth the savings that I have experienced. I have not given up the regular grocery stores, by any means, but have replaced several items usually purchased there, with Sam's products. In addition, I have been able to greatly reduce my number of trips to buy groceries. The most important thing is to figure out which items purchased in bulk would benefit you most.
Determine What Items to Buy in Bulk
When buying in bulk, you must determine which items you can buy and use up in a reasonable time. Items that go bad, or lose taste are not the best idea to buy in bulk. In addition, buying items with a short expiration is a poor choice, such as sour cream and butter. Unless you use a lot, these items can be a waste of money if you find yourself throwing some away. Fresh fruits and vegetables that you're not going to can or freeze would not be wise either. Buying things you really don't need can defeat the purpose of trying to save money buying in bulk as well. You might be able to buy 30 pairs of socks in a variety of color, but if you only wear black socks, the other colors are useless. Another thing to consider when buying in bulk, is your storage space. While you can save a tremendous amount of money buying boxes of pasta, if you don't have a place to keep it, the inconvenience of having pasta all over your house will outweigh the savings. The last thing to consider when looking to buy in bulk, is your monthly grocery budget. When times are tight, it might be difficult to buy a couple of months worth of paper towels, if you need that money to buy milk, bread and other basic items. So be sure to keep your monthly budget in mind when buying in bulk.
As I mentioned earlier, I choose Sam's due to location. But I know that Costco has the same choices and bargains. So whichever you chose, when comparing to the grocery stores, you can see the savings. I typically buy all of my dry ingredients at Sam's such as sugar, flower, canned goods, popcorn and other staples like laundry soap and batteries. I also buy all of my sauces there and put them into smaller containers when I get them home. Rice and cereal are great items to buy as they last a long time. I can get a box of cereal containing two bags, for the price of a single box at a grocery store. My household goes through a lot of cheese and butter, so in my case I save by buying those items in bulk. However those are items that if not used quickly will expire and need to be thrown out. My family doesn't run into that problem as we definitely love our dairy. I am able to save hundreds on cheese alone in the course of a year. Snacks are another great idea to buy at Sam's. My youngest child loves fruit snacks, I am able to get 4 times the amount of fruit snacks for the price of a small box at the grocery store. The list goes on and on.
In order to determine whether or not bulk buying will save for you, its a good idea to use unit pricing to compare items. Unit pricing is dividing the total number of items by the total cost. For example if say you see a can of corn at your local grocery store for 99 cents and at the warehouse you find that same brand of corn for $6.50 for 8 cans. If you divide the $6.50 by 8 cans, the cost is 81 cents per can, you can see the better deal is at the warehouse. As long as storage isn't a problem, canned items can last a long time. So while your saving money, that's one less thing you have to get the next few times you go to the store. One of the greatest joys of buying in bulk for me, is the reduction in going to the store. In buying so much at one time, we are set for awhile, and only need to run to the grocery store for a couple of items at a time once in a while.
As long as you know how to find the good deal, the correct items to buy, and consider your storage space, buying in bulk can be very rewarding for any size of family. Warehouse clubs are a great place to find really good savings. But to truly win at the cost-saving you will need to investigate the pricing patterns of the chains in your area. If you ever end up at a Sam's Club in Denver Colorado, you might just see me! Happy grocery shopping and money saving to all!