Tips for Buying Food in Bulk

Miniature ShopperPhoto Credit: Jackson Latka

Whether you shop at the bulk bins in your natural foods store or buy in bulk from one of the big warehouse clubs, you’ll find buying in bulk not only saves you money but helps at mealtime by having key ingredients always on hand.

There is no shortage of items that now come in bulk. You can buy your everyday staples such as rice, beans, oil, and flour, and you can bulk buy items such as paper products and even cookies!

These tips are ways you can save money while buying your food in bulk:

1. You can buy the exact quantity you need. If you are buying an ingredient for a particular recipe, you can buy from the bulk bins in just the quantity you need. Feel free to bring in a measuring cup to get that exact amount.

2. You can try new products. The bulk bins are full of rices, grains and beans that you may never have had the opportunity to try. The bulk bins allow you to buy enough to experiment and try them without a large investment.

3. You can exercise your own portion control. By buying your goods in bulk, you can then bring them home and repackage them into your own portion controlled quantities. When you buy those “100 calorie packs” from the store, you are often paying a premium for all that packaging! PLUS, as an advocate of Going Green, I often buy food in bulk because it eliminates the need for excess packaging and waste.

4. You can stockpile in a big way! Stockpiling goods when they are at their lowest costs is a great money saver. Make sure you are storing your dry goods in airtight containers to maintain freshness. Washing and using your old peanut butter, jelly or pasta sauce jars is a great way to do this. Also, you can put your flours and rices in the freezer to keep pests out. When you store bulk items like beans properly, they can last for years!

5. You can have meals ready quickly by dividing bulk meat purchases into family size portions before freezing. Being able to pull out just the right amount of meat for a family meal is a real time saver when it comes to meal prep. Don’t forget, you can brown ground meat or turkey prior to freezing making mealtime prep a snap.

One word of bulk buying caution! Use bulk goods before the expiration date. The beauty of bulk buying is some items, such as toilet paper, can last years if stored properly. However, if you are buying items such as beef in bulk quantities, have a plan to use it within 6 months to optimize freshness.

What do you buy in bulk?

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  1. Great tips Andrea! One more tip: bring your own reusable containers. I have a few glass containers and cloth bags that I like to use. If you use glass the stores will generally allow you to deduct the tar weight of the glass from the cost of the bulk item.

  2. Lori, I store bulk good in reused/washed out jars once I get them home, but haven’t brought reuseables into the store yet. Need to get it together! Thanks for the kick in the pants to finally just do it!

  3. I love buying in bulk! Here in Pittsburgh, the East End Food Co-op has a great selection of bulk items, mostly at very good prices and many of them organic. We bring re-used containers, and it’s MUCH more convenient than buying in a bag and transferring the food to containers when you get home.

    Some of the things we buy in bulk are raisins, oatmeal, lentils, instant hummus mix, flour, sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast flakes, honey, tea, rice, couscous, peanut butter, and most of our spices and herbs.

  4. Great tips! Thanks! here from Milk & Cuddles. πŸ™‚

  5. Excellent pointers.

    My biggest problem with bulk buying is I do not have lots of room for storing stuff.

    Thanks for linking up this mommy solution. I am going to share this over on Facebook. πŸ™‚

  6. I never thought of brining my own measuring cups — what a great idea!


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