I’m sure it’s not a surprise to hear that my grocery budget is our largest monthly expense after childcare and the mortgage. The first two budget items don’t have any flexibility without drastic changes (we just moved and I don’t have any plans to quit my job so someone has to keep the babies). So we choose to be intentional with our grocery budget.
One of the ways we save is buying in bulk. When we buy our most used items in bulk on a monthly basis we are able to shorten our weekly grocery list, resulting in less time at the store and less money spent. Here’s what we get in bulk, and where we shop:
The Discount Grocery Store
It’s impossible to make a list when shopping the discount grocery store so I go in with a vague and flexible list. I do have to be especially mindful of use-by dates as I purchase. Here are my favorite items to look for:
- Cereal- it’s often priced at $.99/box for brand name items like Mom’s Best Toasted Cinnamon Squares 12oz. (Pack of 3) and
- Crackers- cheez-its and club crackers are often in stock
- Snacks- most recently I found white cheddar popcorn for $.99/bag and ranch flavored mini rice cakes 2/$1
And that’s it. The store always has lots of sweetened beverages but we steer clear of those. Cheap drinks are still more expensive than tap water.
Oh how we love Costco. Before entering the store it is essential that I make a list. Our first few months with a membership I absolutely overspent. I’ve learned to balance what is a good deal, and what we actually use frequently, to craft my shopping list. Here are the repeat items:
- Kirkland Applesauce Pouches. A box of 24 pouches is under $10. Way more affordable than the local grocery store! I know bulk applesauce is cheaper than pouches, but given that we pack lunches for our kiddos 5 days a week, we opt for the pouches.
- Polly-O cheese sticks. Another lunchbox staple. Both kids love them and again, they are a great value.
- JIF Peanut Butter. Every day when asked what she wants for lunch, EK answers “Peanut Butter Sandwich made with jam. Stick stick stick stick stick.” Thank you Raffi.
- Yeast. The package is large (and lives in our freezer) but homemade pizza is a weekly treat at the Davidson home. We bake in the winter and grill in the summer. We love our pizza. Yeast would be the most expensive ingredient if we didn’t buy it in bulk.
- Frozen Dino Chicken Nuggets. We eat these once every two weeks or so. The kids love them and on especially busy days its nice to have an easy dinner option.
- Ground beef. I bring home the big pack of ground beef and immediately portion and freeze it. I could probably beat the price if I watched the sales at the local grocery store but for me the simplicity of shopping my freezer rather than the store makes the bulk purchase worth it.
My one and only experience thus far with Zaycon Fresh was a 40 lb box of chicken breasts. I’ve been impressed with the quality but I think any future orders I’ll stick to frozen and not fresh items. It was a bit messy getting the chicken portioned and stored away in the freezer. My colleague has had great success with the frozen salmon so I’ve place my order and it’ll arrive in October. Nothing like planning ahead, am I right?
Does your family do any bulk shopping? Where? What are your go-to items?
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