I consider myself a bit of a foodie. I don’t eat a lot, but I like to eat a variety of things and stay balanced. Don’t’ this confused with me being in shape, because trust me a do have a long way to go. When my family goes grocery shopping, we don’t buy in bulk – dare I say not following the norm, swimming against the current, and so on.
Yes I know there are many publications out there that suggest if you buy in bulk you’ll save. But you’ll be selling your internal satisfaction and desire to try other foods because you’ve bought a 3 pound bag of almonds and are starting to feel a little nutty yourself.
You Won’t Necessarily Save
Of course, the main reason why people buy in bulk is to save. But this isn’t always true. If you buy in bulk but haven’t used the item(s) before the expiration date, you’ve really lost the savings. Per Money Crashers (What to Avoid in Bulk) some items that are not suggested to buy in bulk are nuts, olive oil, eggs, and bleach. Similar items are also mentioned by Clark Howard on clark.com and Readers Digest. Your body is a temple and you want freshness, quality, and variety, right? Right!
Don’t Get Much Variety
Lately, I’ve been having a smoothie obsession. About 2-3 nights per week, I’ll have a smoothie for dinner. When I first started a few weeks back, I ran out of bananas. So I went to my local grocery store and saw that I could get bananas for 48 cents per pound for like 8 bananas wrapped up in a bunch or .58 for single bananas.
My plan didn’t include having a smoothie every day nor did I want to eat a banana every day. After two days, I’d get tired of it and wouldn’t enjoy it. So I just bought 2 bananas for the week for $1.16. Apart from bananas, I have a whole list of other ingredients that include bases, fruits, vegetables I can use for my smoothies, check it out (click to expand):
Because of all these ingredients, buying in bulk may not make the most sense.
There are So Many Options To Try
Options….one word….CEREAL! I’m sure you’ve seen in many grocery stores, the variety of cereals take up almost one whole side of an entire aisle. I usually never buy the same cereal back to back. It’s boring and well you only live once.
I’ve bought a value size cereal before, which I wouldn’t really say is bulk but the box is still bigger than normal and after eating it for a week, there was still plenty left and I was tired of it. I suppose it makes more sense if you have a larger family, but it’s just three of us for now. At my local Walmart or Weis, I can find deals for two boxes for about $5, which is cheap in my area.
Off-Topic, but kind of related – Use a List
Many publications will also say to use a list when you go grocery shopping. Before I thought, hey if I see something I like for a good price, I want it. But after many years of grocery shopping, I pretty much know what I like and don’t like. As a result, we have a pad with a magnet on our fridge and update it with items we need throughout the week (milk, eggs, waffle sticks, raspberries, cereal, etc.) to go on the weekend or on a Monday night. This has truly been wonderful and has really saved us some money.
We stick with the list, spend less time at the grocery store and still if we come across something we want to try, we’ll buy it. But we’ll limit that to one or two items so we still consider ourselves to be free. I reckon we’ve slashed about 25% of our grocery bill per month using this list method. It’s strategic, focused, targeted, and a bunch of other cool synonyms.
If you have a large family, then yes core items such as bread, milk, orange juice, and eggs may make more sense to buy in bulk. But just double check that unit price per item or how much quantity (ounces, pounds, etc.) you are actually receiving for each dollar spent to see if it’s worth it. Who knows you may be surprised. What are your thoughts about buying in bulk?