Buying in Bulk Article - Allrecipes.com
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Buying in Bulk

It doesn't take a math wizard to know single-serve packages are pricey. But heeding the ins and outs of bulk buying is important if you want to net the most savings.

Bulky Calculations


Big warehouse clubs, food co-ops, natural food stores, and even regular supermarkets sell bulk quantities of food. The key to figuring out whether or not the savings is significant depends on several factors. Here are four things to keep in mind:

1. Frequency of use  It's no big deal to buy paper towels, paper plates, or toilet paper in bulk since these items last forever and will eventually be used. But buying a 10-pound bag of pears or a huge carton of salad greens takes a little more careful assessment. Will these delicate fresh foods be used up before they spoil?

2. Cost per ounce  Sometimes shelf tags underneath a food item break down the cost per ounce for different-sized packages of an item so it's easy to compare cost. But keep a calculator handy to crunch these numbers yourself. The biggest package is sometimes cheaper. Other times it's not.

3. The "sale" factor  Supermarkets and discount merchants run weekly specials on fruit, meat, or even laundry detergent. Many times these prices are below cost, or are "loss leaders" meant to draw shoppers to the store. In this case, buying on sale can be better than many warehouse deals.

4. Membership dues  Most warehouse clubs charge $40-$50 annual membership fees, so the savings disappear if you shop there infrequently. Still, most families find the savings secured on one or two trips is enough to recoup the cost of joining. One downside: it can be tempting to overbuy in warehouse clubs, particularly on nonfood items.

More tips for the bulk-minded:

  • Start your own bulk co-op with friends, family, or church groups. Buy 50 pound bags or  rice, beans, flour, and oats and divvy them up between the group.
  • Steer clear of single serve packages since price tags can be double or triple the usual cost. Instead, buy yogurt, pudding or chips in bulk and repackage them yourself.
  • Buy steaks, hamburger, chicken, and pork chops in bulk packages and rewrap and freeze for future use.
  • Purchase large blocks of cheese and grate yourself with a food processor. Repackage in
    usable quantities and freeze.
  • Consider cooking in bulk; this way you can freeze leftovers for future meals. For example, if a big package of hamburger is on sale, cook triple the usual chili recipe and divide leftovers and freeze. See our Freezing Foods article for more ideas.
Comments
Tina 
Nov. 23, 2009 4:12 pm
I have a vacuum sealer and I love it. When freezing things like steak or chicked, I will add a marinade to the meat before I seal it that way, I can take it out of the freezer a night or two before I want to cook it and it will marinade while it is thawing out. Helps eliminate freezer burn/ice crystals as well.
 
Jan. 13, 2010 6:42 am
You are so right. I use that method of buyibg in bulk also. It is such a great help with not having to run to the store every other day.
 
Feb. 5, 2010 9:17 pm
I agree with thought of spending more in certain areas,we live in an area where I can get wonderful fresh pressed olive oil with various fruits and veggies like blood oranges, jalapeno, garlic and several others, allpressed with individual olive oils. I especially like the jalepeno.It only takes a little bit to enlarge the flavor of a bean soup, or any soup with a low sodium content. The blood orange dresses a salad nicely. I'm planning on trying some of the vinagerette dressings withe the meyer lemon and others.My husband is a heart patient, and it is crucial,as crucial as our budget, to watch his diet, so I have worked up 3 styles of bugdeting.I Save Ahead.A modest savings set aside during fall,spring and winter adds up to enough tobuy seconds from the fruit and veggie farms near us as they come in. I feeze them and as the fall comes along I process them into fruit butters and return them to the freezer,in freezer zipzolk bags I've ascertained a reusable and sanitized or used and sa
 
gary ross 
Aug. 31, 2010 6:10 pm
I am 69 years old with diabetes. today I watched chanel 444 from 2-4 est for the first time. the chefs were presenting low carb recipes in a very interesting and natural format. I have been copying recipes on your website ever since. I have been a food network fan for many years and I do all of the food shoping and cooking for my wife and son. most of the recipes I cook are high in carbs and calories. I am going to use the low carb recipes from your web site starting tomorrow. my hope is to loose weight and my diabetes. I want to become a good role model for my son who is also overweight. thankyou for your wonderful website. I will keep you posted on my progress to better health. sincerely, gary ross prospect, pa.
 
Oct. 23, 2010 8:55 pm
These tips are great. I'm trying to do most of these things all ready. We are eating better than ever, and I'm not making those panic-pizza-delivery phone calls anymore. The meal ideas I get on here, making things from scratch... they are cheaper and wayy more delicious than the restaurants we used to go to.
 
sungod100 
Jan. 31, 2011 1:43 pm
I've just joined this site and already am impressed with the number of cost conscious, quality recipes. Eating healthier has become ever important, particularly as I get older. Keep up the good work.
 
the rooster 
Feb. 18, 2011 2:57 am
I was raised in the food service industry I have many wonderful ideas to put to the public. When you buy products in bulk especially meats of any kind, it's very important label and date these products before you put them into storage. Also remember you must rotate the older items from the bottom of the freezer and bring them to the top and the new items on the bottom. And yes, the things that you have stored in your freeze will become freezer burned and outdated. Fish is a delicate meat that will get freezer burned more quickly than most other meats.Even if you double seal your meats you need to take care how long that these items have been in the freezer.One last thing to say about marinating any meats before freezing. If you use salt in this process use very little or no at all because salt will make the beef and chicken tough. Meats such as these have what is called connective tissue and that is why so many cuts of beef are tough to chew. Tenderize your meats with a meat mallet bef
 
Dianne 
Sep. 13, 2011 4:25 pm
Being a diebetic and on a fixed income, I find any and all tips help my faimly with food shopping. ty
 
lovetocook 
Jan. 11, 2012 7:34 am
My daughter had an addiction to cold coffee house drinks, which costs a lot, until I started making them at home. I buy flavored syrups at Sams Club and add them to very stong coffee and skim or low fat milk and store in quart mason jars. Once they are cold, they taste just as good as the $5 drinks at coffee shops. Shaking the far vigorously before pouring also provides the foam my daughter loves. This has saved a ton of money for our family, and they taste wonderful. I use caramel, hazelnut, or kahlua coffee flavored syrups sweetened with splenda.
 
lovetocook 
Jan. 11, 2012 7:36 am
My daughter had an addiction to cold coffee house drinks, which costs a lot, until I started making them at home. I buy flavored syrups at Sams Club and add them to very stong coffee and skim or low fat milk and store in quart mason jars. Once they are cold, they taste just as good as the $5 drinks at coffee shops. Shaking the jar vigorously before pouring also provides the foam my daughter loves. This has saved a ton of money for our family, and they taste wonderful. I use caramel, hazelnut, or kahlua coffee flavored syrups sweetened with splenda.
 
Mar. 22, 2012 12:26 pm
something many people don't know is that you can get group memberships as well as get extra cards made.. my family has 3 main members and another 3 cards the cost of membership goes up a little but with 6+ people using it, it's definitley worth the price. Plus we cook for 6 plus people most nights so the bulk comes in handy!
 
Dec. 31, 2012 9:21 am
trouble i have with bulk buying is that my husband is a picky eater. so, if i don't get things he likes, the food goes to waste. most of the things he likes aren't cheap and convenient to obtain.
 
 
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