Wednesday, June 23, 2010

How I Grocery Shop - Bulk Buying

One of my favorite ways to save on groceries is to buy in bulk. There are several ways this plays out.

Bulk Size Packages - First, you can buy the bigger, bulk-size packages at the store. In general, but not always, the larger package of goods costs less per unit of measure than the smaller package. This is why Costco is so popular.

For example, earlier this month I bought a 65 oz. jar of marinated artichoke hearts at Costco for $8.65. The same product sold in smaller 16 oz. jars at the grocery store would have run at least $3.00 per jar, even with a good sale. The same quantity (65 oz.) of artichoke hearts would have been $12.00, at best, to buy 4 jars at the grocery store.

An exception to this is if you have a coupon. Usually the smaller package combined with a "cents off" coupon will work out to a lower per unit cost than the large package with the same "cents off" coupon.

Many Packages at a Low Price - This is basically buying lots of a product when it's on sale. The idea behind this type of bulk buying is that if you buy at the low price and stockpile for future use, those future uses will all be at the low price, too.

For example, I purchased 8 boxes of cereal yesterday because it was only $1.00 a box. Did I need 8 boxes of cereal? No. I have a dozen boxes already. However, I did need cereal for the kids as we are only one morning away of being out of Kix and we already are out of Cheerios, Raisin Bran, & Rice Krispies. I didn't want to feed my kids the sugary junk I have on hand and I didn't want to pay $3.79 for a box of Rice Krispies. So I bought 8 boxes of cereal I'll be happy to feed the kids (Honeycomb, Raisin Bran, & Honey Bunches of Oats) and only paid $1.00 for. These will last through most of the summer, just in time for the back-to-school cereal sales.

Stores place limits on their sale priced items just for this reason. They advertise a few loss leaders hoping you'll come in and do the rest of your shopping, too. The store actually loses money on some of those really good prices so they limit how much you can buy. I purchased laundry detergent this week for $1.99 at Fred Meyer with a store coupon. The limit was 2. At that price I would have considered buying more, especially if I'd had manufacturer's coupons to pair with the store coupon. But alas, limit 2, so 2 is what I purchased.

Major Bulk Purchases - Sometimes buying in bulk can save significant sums, especially if you buy really large packages. I recently purchased a 50# bag of oatmeal, a 20# bag of white rice and a 25# bag of brown rice for about $44. I shared the purchase with a couple family members and was left with 20# of oatmeal that only cost $8 and 22# of rice that only cost $12. These staples should last us six months or more and I certainly would have paid more than 40 cent/lb for oatmeal and 55 cents/lb of rice! Other items to consider buying in a major bulk purchase include flour if you make your bread or sugar if you do a lot of baking.

The difficulty of buying in bulk is, of course, coming up with the funds to purchase in bulk ahead of time. I had to allow an extra $100 in the grocery budget this month because I had planned a trip to Costco. The bulk buying adds up, but overall your meals will cost less when your ingredients were purchased previously at a great price.


No comments:

Post a Comment

So, what do you think?