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Is buying groceries in bulk worth it?


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    Some of my more frugal friends swear by buying their groceries in bulk. I can see where buying things that are usually on the expensive side, such as paper towels, diapers and toilet paper being cost-effective in bulk. Here's the good and the bad about buying in bulk:

    Pro: Buying in bulk is almost always cheaper per unit.

    Con: Buying in bulk is an upfront expense.

    Pro: Buying in bulk means you rarely run out of that product.

    Con: If you have a large quantity of something, you're prone to overusing it.

    Pro: Bulk buying is more environmentally friendly.

    Con: Buying in bulk requires storage space and reliable transportation.

    Pro: Buying in bulk makes it easier to handle emergencies.

    Con: Buying in bulk means less variety in the products you use.

    Pro: Buying in bulk means fewer trips to the store.

    Con: Items bought in bulk can sit around past their expiration dates.

    Pro: Bulk buying allows for low-cost bulk meal preparation.

    Con: Bulk buying for many products requires a warehouse club membership or other additional cost.

    I agree with all of them. I could definitely see it being cost-effective when buying non-perishables such as canned goods, rice and flour. You could build one heck of a pantry doing that. You could have spaghetti every night of the week (not like you'd want to) by just bulk buying pasta and tomato sauce. Are there any bulk buyers out there who'd like the weigh in on this? Do you have any strategies to share with a layman like myself?

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    Never went the Costco route. Though I do go for bigger versions of whatever I'm buying, the cost-per-ounce labels at places like Walmart help show you how much cheaper it is to buy the bigger version of whatever it is. Liked mixed nuts for instance. Imagine savings get even better when buying in true bulk. Seems a must if you have a large family and less of a big difference if you are single. Never did it because I think some of the savings are off set by membership fees.
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    I think it really depends what you're buying.

    For example, my wife and I buy a half cow and whole lamb every year. If you have the freezer space to hold that amount of meat then it could wind up saving you hundreds of dollars a year. That, and there's just something about visiting the farm you get your meat from to see how the animals are raised for yourself.

    On the other hand, we never buy fresh fruits or vegetables in bulk because they would spoil before we could eat them all. However, bulk frozen fruits and vegetables are another thing entirely.

    I pretty much get the same things at Costco every trip - nuts, bread (which can be put in the freezer), coffee beans, frozen fruit, and a few other nonperishable's that have a really long shelf life. We then buy any meat we don't buy wholesale, fresh fruit and vegetables, and other perishables at our neighborhood grocery store.

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    Old Sport Wrote:

    For example, my wife and I buy a half cow and whole lamb every year. If you have the freezer space to hold that amount of meat then it could wind up saving you hundreds of dollars a year. That, and there's just something about visiting the farm you get your meat from to see how the animals are raised for yourself.

    Great idea! I was raised on a ranch, and we took part of the herd every year to the slaughter house. We had two freezers full of beef at one time. Lasted us years almost. It's funny, I was thinking about big box stores, and for some odd reason, I never thought about freezer meat.