My Big Bulk-Shopping Trip

by aka Kath

by aka Kath

Monday, school closed due to the remnants of Hurricane Ike, which did some damage all the way up here in Ohio.  After doing a little happy dance at the unexpected holiday, I decided to head out to the grocery store for my first attempt at buying for three months.  Last week, I posted the rules for my new approach to groceriesBasically, I want to buy non-perishiables to last three months.  Then, I’ll supplement with trips to the farmer’s market, and bi-weekly trips for meat and cheese.

Thanks to some tips from readers, I decided NOT to join a bulk warehouse or go crazy buying things online.  Instead, I went to Meijer and aimed to buy the store brand as much as possible.  The trip itself was actually pretty fun.  They have nuts and granola in bulk bins and lots of large quantities of other supplies.  By limiting my shopping to the middle aisles, it didn’t wear me out the way buying everything does.  With my big bags of nuts and spices, I got a few odd comments at the check-out line, but also struck up an interesting conversation about grocery shopping as newlyweds.  Here’s what I bought:

  • 6 packs of butter and some canola oil to make our own spreadable butter
  • $40 worth of mixed nuts, sliced almonds, raw almonds, and walnuts
  • 12 cans of beans and 6 cans of salmon
  • 10 lbs of rice, 2 lbs of couscous, 10 lbs of sugar, 35 lbs of flour, 8 lbs of oatmeal
  • the largest containers of olive oil, honey, whole pepper, red pepper, and 6 italian spice grinders
  • choclate chips, nutella, peanut butter, raisins, bread crumbs
  • minced garlic, boullion cubes, lemon and lime juice, yeast, vanilla, taco seasoning, salt
  • 10 lbs of coffee
  • vinegar and rubbing alcohol to make our own cleaning supplies
  • 25 lbs of cat food and 12 cans of tuna (for the cat)

I also bought a few odds and ends for the week, but all told, I only spent $300!  I feel that this is much cheaper than the weekly deals I’ve been trying to get at Kroger’s.  Partly, I think this is because Meijer has lower prices, but I could also see the savings in buying the largest packages.  For example, the largest jar of minced garlic was about $3 cheaper than the equivalent in the smaller size I usually buy. 

I subtracted $50 from this month’s budget.  Then, I’ll pay back the other $250 out of each month’s budget over October, November, and December.  I’m hopeful to hold my bi-weekly budget to $70 and the farmer’s market to $20 a week.  If I do this and my supplies last, I’ll be able save about $1,200 over the course of the year.   That would be significant!

More than just the savings, I like the feeling of having all that food stockpiled.  Just with the moderate wind damage we had, several friends lost power for 4 or 5 days.  I like knowing that I’d have plenty to eat if that happened to us. 

Realistically, I know we won’t face a three-month disaster.  However, I also like that this approach is cutting down the mental clutter.  Getting together a big grocery list, scouring for deals, and doing a big shop every week took a lot of energy.  Now that the basics are all in place, I can free up some of that energy for more interesting things.  I’ll keep you updated on how my supplies last, and how well I do baking more items from scratch.  For now though, I’m quite excited about my “new thing.”

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7 responses to “My Big Bulk-Shopping Trip

  1. Meijer really does have a lot of bulk items, but they aren’t always in the same place as the smaller packages. It just takes some effort to find them … just as it takes some effort to find that clearance shelf!

  2. Penny and Buck

    How incredible it must feel to stock up like that and save a bunch of money at the same time!

  3. What an interesting idea you are trying. I am anxious to see your reports about how you are doing over the 3 months. Heck I tried earlier this summer to limit my shopping to once a pay period (every 2 weeks) and I failed miserably! Better luck to you.

  4. What a cool experiment. I’m excited to see how you do–I don’t have the space to really buy in bulk, so I’ll have to stockpile vicariously…

  5. I’ll probably start this when I have a house and a pantry to hold all the food. We had some horrible power outages in western PA, even though we northerners probably don’t have much to worry about in the natural disaster area, a fully-stocked kitchen is a happy one =) I’ll be trying to make my own bread here soon too, you’re very inspiring!

  6. mydailydollars

    Thanks everyone! I’ll certainly post updates. Yes, you do need some extra storage space for this endeavor. We luckily have a large basement and pantry, so I easily squeezed everything in.

  7. Pingback: Potluck Linklove | Almost Frugal Food

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