It makes a lot of economical sense to shop in bulk. We all know this, but how many of us are actually doing it? With so many of us carrying a membership card to the many warehouse stores popping up everywhere, are we turning into a nation of bulk buyers? Not as much as you would think. Many families cruise the aisles of Costco, Sam’s or BJ’s with high hopes of saving big. And it certainly can be done! But, in reality it takes a little planning and foresight to realize the full potential of bulk shopping.
Let’s start at the beginning. First and foremost, it is absolutely necessary to have a few things in place to get started. Storage space is key. If you buy 24 rolls of paper towels, you need a place to keep 24 rolls of paper towels. If you buy a 12 pack of barbecue sauce, you either need to cook out every day of the week or have some serious pantry space. And, if you endulge in a 30 pound package of chicken breasts, you better have a stand alone freezer!
If you don’t have a garage, a pantry, and a freezer, there are limitations to the savings you will realize with buying in bulk. And, if your current home is a studio apartment, you may very well be better off with smaller purchases. But if space allows, then it’s a fantastic way to save on living and food costs. A good sized refrigerator with ample freezer space can store a lot of food. And a freezer is a key element to your success. If you don’t have a stand alone freezer, it would be a good time to acquire one. A rent to own option could quickly pay for itself in savings on frozen food items.
Before you start your bulk buying, clear out a little extra space and assess if you are using your pantry space wisely. Once you have your storage plans in place, then it’s time to write a list. If you know that large packages of chicken are a great buy, plan ahead and think of the many different meals you can make and what further ingredients will be needed. Try to honestly calculate how much of certain items you can use. A gallon of paprika is not generally speaking a wise buy for a family, as it will most likely be stale long before you ever use it up. However, a 12 pack of juice concentrate is very practical, and will save on something you are going to buy weekly at a higher cost.
It’s easy in a large warehouse store to get carried away with the bargains and arrive home with huge bags of snack foods that aren’t good for your family in small quantities, let alone by the bushel. Also, in bulk buying we are prone to buy things we would never buy normally, simply because it seems like a good deal. So, keep your wits about you and aim for the aisle with produce, meats, and basics. Buying packs of meat, chicken or fish, and larger sized packages of vegetables that can be successfully stored fresh, or frozen or cooked and then stored. In the freezer aisle, avoid the 24-portion cheesecake and go for the healthy and nutritious meat portions.
In short, just because something is available at a reduced cost in bulk doesn’t make it a good buy. Use a list, shop wisely, and store your goods properly in the freezer, refrigerator and pantry for maximum savings.