Oct 17 2007

The Incredible Bulk

I’m going to start buying in bulk. Up until very recently, I made a conscious decision not to buy products in bulk. For one, I was a broke college student with no extra money to stock up on sales. And number two, I moved a lot. It’s a pain to have to lug boxes of cans up and down three flights of stairs.

However, because we have more money to make bulk purchases, I’m going to start doing it, even though our apartment doesn’t have a lot of storage space. We don’t plan on living here forever, but even if we have to move all of those bulk purchases, just think about the savings. Stocking a pantry takes a long time and can cost a lot of money. If I can save myself from that burden at my shiny new house or next apartment, it’s money well spent.

As you might recall, my goal is to spend $35/week or less on groceries. Last week, I spent $10 and some change. Since I’m new to buying in bulk, I’m going to put that unspent $25 toward this week’s shopping, rather than save the money. I think spending $25 now on great bulk bargains will be a better use of my funds.

So, I’ll be spending about $60 on grocery purchases this week.

I might swing by Aldi today, and Giant Eagle, Kuhn’s and Shop ‘n Save on Thursday.

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In the meantime, be sure to check out these fantastic posts on bulk purchases:
Phillip Brewer of Wise Bread discusses a significant investment return on bulk buying.

Also at Wise Bread, Myscha Theriault posted Bulk Buying 101, a primer on storage ideas, purchase suggestions, and reasons why bulk buying is so important for the frugal shopper.

It’s important that you’re not just buying big packages in large quantities. Read this post by The Ta of Making Money.

Head over to The Simple Dollar for the debate on bulk buying.

Finally, be sure to let me know about your experiences with buying in bulk!



3 Responses to “The Incredible Bulk”

  1. Ok, my original comment didn’t go through so here’s another version:
    There are three things I would consider when thinking about bulk buying:
    1) Space: like you said, it usually comes in short supply, which is why I covet that pantry (and how well organized it is) on the bulk buying 101 article.
    2) Cashflow tied into this inventory of food. as an accountant, cashflow has been ingrained in how I manage my money. So I try to have as little of it tied into inventory/pantry items as I can. In general I try to buy items that will carry me throught to the next sale, 4 months or so tops for most items. Unless I found pantry items for almost free I wouldn’t have tons of items like that lady in the article has jars of preggo or boxes of rice-a-roni. For example last week I used the 20% off coupons at Big lots to stock up on some canned items but I then realized that the coupon usually comes available every two months. So I didn’t need to stock up on items so much.
    3) what items are worth bulk buying, or which ones will have the most impact on your budget. Meat is usually one of them for us at least. We also go through a lot of Oatmeal and every two weeks or so I kept buying 42 oz containers at Walmart for $3.29 or 1.25/lb. I saved a few of the containers and then headed to Whole Foods where I was able to find bulk oats for $0.79/lb. I don’t get to go there very often so I do have quite a bit of that in my pantry.

    I hope that helps.

  2. Thanks for taking the time to comment again! It’s really helpful. I think buying enough to get you to the next sale is spot-on.

    For free items, I’m going to acquire as much as I possibly can. I’ll store the free stuff however I can. But for the stuff I actually have to pay for, I think I’ll adopt your strategy.

  3. Storage space is our biggest hurdle for bulk shopping, but I really do feel we save money by going to Costco, even though the bill is always over $100. We go about once a month, sometimes less. Freezer space is the worst, as our fridge isn’t truly full-size. We once spent 30 minutes taking everything out of it and disassembling boxes with individually wrapped portions so everything would fit. But it was worth it.

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

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