16 January 2015

Buying Big

Excuse my slightly messy shelves! This is just one of my bulk storage areas.

Food. We love it. We need it. And it is the biggest flexible expense for most families. Buying your groceries in bulk is a fantastic way to save money.

I love bulk shopping. I love the shop once, pack it all away once, then relax for a month or three or twelve. Yes, some things I buy in bulk monthly, others I buy in bulk quarterly (think meat and chicken and some frozen products) and others I only buy once a year (wrapping paper, cards, dishwashing liquid, dishwasher powder, borax, washing soda, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant etc. when they come on sale).

If you have never shopped and bought your groceries in bulk quantities before, these tips will help you decide if it's for you and make it that much easier.

Getting started

Buying in bulk is a great way to save money, time and energy. But beware - only buy what you know you'll use, and within a reasonable period of time. If the family doesn't like brown rice and you won't use it in a month of Sundays, it's not a bargain no matter how cheap it is!

If you are a bulk buying beginner try switching from weekly shopping to monthly for a couple of months. Work out your average weekly shopping list and multiply by four. Go to the shops once and through the month make a note of what you run out of or don’t use up. This will give you the feel of bulk buying and a really good idea of exactly how much you really use of each item.

What to buy in bulk

Great things to buy in bulk include items that you buy every week and that you always keep in stock. Canned goods, baking supplies, dry goods, frozen foods, toilet paper, toiletries and cleaning products are all a good choice. Most non-perishable items are perfect for bulk buying.

Fruit, vegetables and meat are often much cheaper in bulk but they do have a limited shelf life. Perishables should only be bought in bulk if you can use them up, share them or preserver them (either dehydrating, freezing or bottling) before they go off.

The same rule applies to non-perishables too. If you only use one tin of smoked oysters a year, buying a case isn't really saving you any money, even if they are half price. You are better off putting that money towards the bulk purchase of something you use regularly to take full advantage of the saving.

Where do I keep it all?

If you are serious about bulk buying, you will need to set up a 'store'. This can be a cupboard in the house, or some shelves in the garage. Preferably it will be somewhere dry, relatively dark and cool. You can utilize the space under beds, behind furniture, even the dryer can be used to store things (don’t forget to take them out before you use it).

Name it and rotate it

A key to bulk storage is labelling. Make sure all containers are air-tight and clearly labelled and dated. Bulk goods generally have a long shelf life because they have been prepared with long-term storage in mind.

Always rotate your stock so you are using the oldest first. A good rule is to always put new stock at the back of the shelf or bottom of the pile. Storing food this way ensures you won’t have to worry about wastage because food has deteriorated.

1 comment:

  1. I have been buying in bulk for years, especially items such as toilet paper, paper towels, flour and sugar. It saves money and also means fewer trips to the local grocery store - a win-win.


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