As a family buying in bulk makes sense but even when my husband and I were starting out we learned quickly that buying bulk ingredients makes it easy to cook foods at home and save money. The issue is that the current prices of food make buying in bulk difficult for most people. If you are struggling to lower your food costs to keep up with the rising prices buying in bulk is a great way to help but you have to be smart about it.
Today I want to talk to you about how you can move into bulk buying to quickly lower your food budget even when you don’t have extra money to spare.
Tips for making buying in bulk fit your budget
Start small with one bulk item at a time. As much as we would all love to dive right into saving most of us are living paycheck to paycheck and can not go put hundreds of dollars into stocking all at once.
Instead of stressing out trying to buy in bulk all at once go piece by piece. Buy one bulk item a week on sale or at a bulk store like Sam’s Club to help save money over the next few weeks allowing you to buy more items in bulk. (Snag the current Sam’s Club Membership Deal here if you are new)
Start with an item you use often. This will make the quickest impact on your budget. If you use flour every week to make homemade bread or baked goods this is a great place to start. What about oats for oatmeal or homemade granola, or buying pasta or rice in bulk to use a meal filler? Odds are you can find several ideas by simply looking at your spending over the past few weeks.
The first week change your diet a bit so you can spend $10 on one bulk buy. Repeat each week until you have more you can put into buying in bulk without struggling to get the things you need. Over time your spending will naturally drop while your stock grows.
What types of things should you buy in bulk
Eggs – While I am all for having your own chickens to eat all of those table scraps to help reduce food waste this is not an option for everyone. If your family least eggs on a regular basis this is a great bulk buy item to get you started. You can grab a case of 60 eggs at most grocery stores for cheaper per egg than smaller packages. These will safely last in your refrigerator for a few months past the sell-by date on the box. You can extend that time by oiling your eggs before putting the box in your refrigerator.
Flour – Many people are discovering these days that you can save a lot of money by making your own bread but for true savings, you need to buy your flour in bulk. I like to get the 25# bags from Sam’s Club for the best deal. These run about $10 and will least me a month of making bread for a large family. Smaller families can go a couple of months on a bag easily. Imagine if you no longer had to pay for bread, bagels, pretzels, and other flour-based foods.
Yeast – If you are baking your own baked goods you can do a lot with a sourdough starter but you may need to use yeast in some discard recipes making this a great item to buy in bulk. Instead of the small packets opt for a jar or yeast and if you use a lot of yeast buy it in bulk from Sam’s Club and split it with a friend or toss the 2nd bag in the freezer for later.
Rice – Everyone talks about using rice and beans to save money on food but the fact is you can save the most by buying rice in bulk. As the prices of everything goes up you can no longer get a pound of rice for a dollar at the dollar store. Instead, opt for buying the biggest bags you can find at places like Sam’s Club, Kroger, and Walmart.
Beans – You can’t use rice and beans as filler for your daily diet if you are trying to save money without switching to bulk. A pound of dry beans used to be one of the cheapest things you could buy but now you have to buy in bulk to save otherwise you are better off finding another filler. We buy kidney beans, pinto beans, and black beans and cook them in the Instant Pot to make them soft for use in things like chili or mixing with ground meats.
Oats – Oats are one of my favorite things to buy in bulk. They can be costly in smaller packages at the grocery store. You can easily make your own flavored oatmeal packets with dehydrated fruits, powdered creamers, and sugars to easy meals, make overnight oats before you go to bed, bulk up meals, and even make homemade granola.
Sugar – Sugar is essential to flavor foods that you buy in bulk, make treats when your family needs something fun, and even to give your bread that hint of sweetness you are used to if you do not use sourdough.
Baking soda – If you are trying to make homemade cleaners you can not go wrong with baking soda. This can be used in food as well as for saving money on cleaning supplies. Look for a larger resealable bag or move your baking soda to an air-tight container as it will absorb odors and flavors from around your home if left in the box. There are many great uses for baking soda from relaxing baths to homemade laundry detergent.
Vinegar – If you are trying to make homemade cleaners vinegar is your best friend. This pantry staple is great for household cleaning, clearing clogged drains, and even for canning recipes. The best deal is by far purchasing white vinegar by the gallon and making your own apple cider vinegar.
Cheese – Cheese is expensive but is a great way to add flavor to even the cheapest ingredients. The trick here is to buy cheese in bulk on sale. Once or twice a month I do a big cheese stock up when Kroger has a sale on the big packs of cheese so I never have to pay full price.
Peanut butter – If peanut butter goes on sale I recommend deep stocking this pantry staple but if you do not have a sale the big jars are always a better deal. I have found some amazing deals on cases of peanut butter on Amazon a few times. It never goes bad un-opened and lasts for months open making for a great way to save money. Of course, if you find a deal on peanuts you can always make your own peanut butter.
How to store bulk buys to prevent waste
One thing that scares so many people away from buying in bulk is that they worry the food will go to waste. The fact is that buying in bulk will always be the best way to save money but a little creativity may be needed.
If buying in bulk least to waste you can go in with a friend or two to buy items in bulk and split the cost so everyone gets a manageable amount.
Put your freezer to work to store extra bulk fruits, veggies, and meats.
Store bulk dry goods in sealed jars or mylar if you can not use it quickly to help it last for years without going bad.
Get creative when looking for a place to store your dry goods. totes under your bed, behind your sofa, and even stacked and hidden under a tablecloth can help to give you extra storage space so you can buy in bulk.
Remember to start small, don’t let it stress you out, and you will soon be enjoying the benefits of buying in bulk even if you do not have a lot of money to invest.