How to Shop in Bulk and Save Money
How to Shop in Bulk and Save Money
These simple tricks can help you stock up without breaking the bank.
Know Which Foods to Buy in Bulk
Some foods have an excellent shelf life (meaning they won't go bad as they sit in your pantry or refrigerator), making them ideal for bulk purchase. Stock your pantry with items like rice, quinoa, oats, beans, lentils, and canned tomatoes. These foods are inexpensive, wholesome, and shelf-stable. Other items that make good bulk purchases are onions, garlic, and potatoes; they will last a long time if stored properly. Even boxes of cereal or crackers can last for up to six months if they’re stored in a cool, dark place.
Know Which Foods to Avoid
Unless you have a plan to use an item quickly (or can utilize techniques like canning, preserving, or freezing), avoid buying highly perishable foods in bulk. Fresh fruits and vegetables (like tomatoes, bananas, or avocados) and many dairy products (like yogurts and soft cheeses) will go bad before you can use such a large quantity.
Know How to Extend the Shelf Life of Highly Perishable Items
If you do find an excellent deal on a bulk quantity of a highly perishable item and you know how to preserve it, then it is worth stocking up. Even if you don't know how to can or jar foods for an extended shelf life, making a quick red sauce from a surplus of tomatoes and freezing it, for example, could save you money if you plan correctly. Other ideas include turning bread into croutons or breadcrumbs, transforming bulk berries into easy homemade fruit leather, or chopping and freezing fresh vegetables.
Know How to Store Bulk Goods
One you've purchased your groceries in bulk, make sure you store them for maximum shelf life. Store your pantry items in pest-proof containers (like airtight containers made from hard plastic or sealable glass jars) and keep all of your bulk food items at least 18 inches or more off the ground. Coupons.com savings expert Jeanette Pavini recommends that you store bulk purchases in a cool, dry, dark place (like a pantry) and avoid storing food anywhere that gets hot (like a cabinet above your oven, for example).
Know How to Organize Your Pantry
Prevent food from going to waste by placing new purchases at the back of your pantry or freezer and moving older food items to the front so you remember to use them before they expire.
Stock Your Freezer
If you have the freezer space, meat is another great item to stock up on. If you can buy whole cuts of meat and break them down into smaller portions yourself (before freezing them) you’ll save even more money. “Some warehouse clubs do sell meat prepackaged into smaller portions,” Jeanette says, “so you’re able to get the discount (because you’re buying an eight-pound package of chicken) even though it’s already been divided up into six individually packaged freezer portions.” As previously mentioned, if there is a great deal on fresh vegetables in bulk, chop up any that you can’t use right away and store them in freezer bags for future use.
Check for In-Store Promotions and Use Coupons
Though it takes a bit of time and planning, looking through store circulars or websites, coupling your bulk purchases with coupons, and planning a menu around what’s on sale can save you even more money. If you’re looking for easy ways to take advantage of savings without clipping coupons, check out the store loyalty card coupons available at coupons.com. Just choose the deals you want and load them to your store’s loyalty card — no paper coupons needed.