If, like us, you are preparing your long term pantry for whatever reason (weather, gas savings, economic future) you may be a tried and true veteran of this longstanding homestead traditon or you may be new at it and ready to take the plunge. Either way, it doesn't matter if you live in the country or the city, buying in bulk can be a money (and time) saver if you do it right. There truly are some key points to keep in mind when learning to buy in bulk.
First, just exactly what IS bulk buying? Well, it's not just buying a lot (as in multiple items all at once). It IS buying larger than typical amounts of the same item. One can of organic green beans is always going to cost more per can than if we can find them in the case. Then, each can is substantially lower in price, because we have 12 or 24 of them.
Secondly, buying in bulk often, but not always, is less expensive in the long run. Time saved, gas saved and quantity discounts (as above mentioned) add up to being dollar stretches.
Third, bulk buying doesn't have to be done in the big warehouse stores. When a local market had tomato sauce on sale of $.30 a large can, I got about 8 of them. There are still 7 of them in my pantry and that sale was 3 months ago. The price has risen again, but there I have 28oz of tomato sauce for thirty cents sitting ready for us to use. Most of the time I can tomatoes, but the sauce takes too long for me and heats up our kitchen in the summer. This bulk buy was/is a big time/money saver for us.
Fourth, remember not to buy it - even if it seems like a great deal - if no one in the family will use it, or eat it before it goes bad! Fresh veggies are aften a good buy in wholesale clubs, but if you have 4 heads of romaine lettuce to throw out, then you have still wasted your hard earned money.
Fifth, learn how to store bulk items. Dry items need to be kept in a moisture proof container. Even large bags of rice and oats are easily stored for months on end in the right container...see here.... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEblkB1mvFk
.... For meats, repackage into meal sized amounts and freeze. For cheeses, if you don't mind crumbled cheese, just freeze. If you do mind it, slice and freeze or shred and freeze.
Lastly, bulk buying can also work for items that are more household related than just food. Find out how long that $9 giant pail of laundry soap lasts by writing the date you started using it on the top in a magic marker. At the end when it's empty, you can see if it was a savings or not. I'll bet it was.
Buying bulk can be a bit of a learning curve, but by keeping a few things in mind we can see how bulk buying stretches our dollars each month!
Best Blessings and enJOY the journey!