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How do you shop? Bulk Buying VS Need Only Buying

Last post Thu, Apr 3 2008 9:31 PM by atlgirljj. 46 replies.
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  • Sat, Mar 22 2008 11:50 AM

    Inflation fighter [IF] How do you shop? Bulk Buying VS Need Only Buying

    In today's stretcher thread, another member, Pam, mentioned a shift from buying in bulk to buying only what she needs every day or two and how it has saved them money.  This is something I have been thinking about for awhile and would love to know what you guys do/think.

    I have started to do a lot more bulk buying lately but even though my unit costs are lower, I am not sure I am saving money overall.  My inlaws live in Europe (England & France) where bulk buying is not an option due to small storage spaces and lack of availability of bulk items to purchase.  My SIL goes to the market every day or two and only buys what she will use for that day and the following, including household supplies like soaps, toilet paper, etc.  If something she uses a lot is on sale, she will buy an extra one or two but not huge quantities.  When they came to visit us, they were amazed by our "American Fridge" (a large-ish double side fridge/freezer) and ENORMOUS pantry (a closet with 5 shelves and some floor space) plus all of our kitchen cabinets (they only have a few-just enough to hold dishes, equipment, etc).  They are always amazed by the amount of food I have stocked in my pantry, freezer and fridge.  I am not sure they are spending more than me though: the store is on the way to other places and they are only buying what they will absolutely use-no wasted or forgotten items at all.  They may pay a higher cost per unit but spend only a little money at a time and are in and out of the store quickly just to pick up the essential items for that day-no browsing or picking up items that might be good, or are on special,etc.

    Which brings me to the point of this thread . . . if you bulk buy, have you seen your monthly spending reduce?  Do you try to bulk buy as much as possible or do you just bulk buy certain things (if so, what?)  If you don't buy in bulk, do you think you spend less by only buying what you need and are absolutely going to use?

    Currently I buy a lot of household items in bulk-toilet paper, diapers, wipes, soaps (both personal and laundry/dish), etc.  I also buy things like flour, yeast, and canned goods (tomatoes, beans, etc) plus shredded cheese.  I'd love to know what you buy in bulk and how it is helping you!

  • Sat, Mar 22 2008 12:14 PM In reply to

    Re: How do you shop? Bulk Buying VS Need Only Buying

    I tend to buy things that are needed often in bulk. Laundry detergent (now set for ~5 years if careful), dish detergent (buy economy size), trash bags (bought at Sam's, 300 ct for $11.~~; figured lasting ~4 years), toilet paper (still have a lot left over from this summer, Charmin brand, and also 2 yrs ago, Scotts brand; might end up buying some by fall), and paper towels (bought over 2 yrs ago; 2 8pks, down to 9 rolls +1 in use) so I don't have to lug that home often. Tissues (i.e. Kleenex) I buy in the 3pks when I see them but it takes me over a year to go through them. I do see me spending less in the long run since I am not always searching for the best price and it takes me a long time to buy it again so my overall cost is cut down. Food items I don't buy bulk since I don't ever know what I am to expect from my stomach if I can take it or not... but for me, being single and alone, "bulk" is family sized portions so it's not a big deal.  

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  • Sat, Mar 22 2008 2:20 PM In reply to

    Re: How do you shop? Bulk Buying VS Need Only Buying

    yeah, we will still buy non-perishables (mainly toilet paper, lol) in bulk and stuff that goes fast like cat food (four cats) to save some cash. There are only two of us at home full time with two children who pop in and out so we were buying lots of fruits, breads, cheese and lunchmeat stuff that was molding before we could eat it. This buying a few things at a time as needed seems to be working okay for now. peace.

  • Sat, Mar 22 2008 4:16 PM In reply to

    Re: How do you shop? Bulk Buying VS Need Only Buying

     We buy in bulk, staples like, sugar, flour, eggs(a months supply), starches(instant potatoes, rice, pasta), spices and dried herbs, condiments(mayo, catsup, mustards), and I buy the large 102 ounce - 105 ounce cans of fruits and vegetables(with the exception of green beans), and recan it to suit our needs.  We also buy pet food(dry cat and dog food)in bulk, along with vitamins, shampoos and conditioners, and disposable razors(soon to change to a staight razor w/cup and brush).  I only buy dish soap and buy 9 bottles a year(usually Aldi's brand), at 99 cents a bottle.  I do stock up on borax and baking soda for laundry soap(haven't had to buy bar soap for years)and mix it myself.  I make rice milk or soy milk if we have the beans to store(I buy 50 bags of Laura Beans), it costs me about 13 cents a quart for rice milk and about 30 cents a quart for soy milk.

    We frequent our local farmers markets and buy in bulk at the end of the day for canning, preserving and dehydrating.  We grow our fresh vegetables and fruits as much as possible. if we come cross a sale of something we use or will use frequently and it is a good price, we buy enough to get us thru the year.  For example cake mixes, I bought 2 cases or 24 boxes of Duncan Hines Yellow Cake Mix for 45 cents a box, 3 years ago.  I still have 11 boxes left.  : )

    Do we save on our budget, well we spend on average $45 a week(2 adults and 3 pets) on groceries(fresh veggies and fruits, meats, some cheeses) and are always trying to lower it. 

    Brianschef Michelle 

  • Sat, Mar 22 2008 4:40 PM In reply to

    Re: How do you shop? Bulk Buying VS Need Only Buying

    Brianschef:

     Do we save on our budget, well we spend on average $45 a week(2 adults and 3 pets) on groceries(fresh veggies and fruits, meats, some cheeses) and are always trying to lower it. 

    Brianschef Michelleand

    WOW!  I'm pretty impressed by this, especially as you added your pets into that total!  My pets (2 dogs, 2 cats) cost about $35/month in food alone, almost one whole week's worth of your spending! 

    Our food costs alone for 2 adults, 1 preschooler, and 1 baby (formula/baby food-make alot myself but some store bought) is about $125/week.  I do buy in bulk and stock up when items are on sale.  But maybe I am not as efficient as I could be with my purchases.  I do have a lot of food in the house, maybe it's time to think outside the box to use it rather than letting it sit there.  That I think is sometimes the danger for me in stocking up.  I have a lot of things in my pantry that have been there a good while-I need to rotate them out!

    I think I will always buy non food items in bulk-usually at Costco.  That stuff is a lot cheaper and doesn't go bad.  I hate running out of things like toilet paper or toothpaste.  Like Pam though, sometimes I overbuy in the perishables area and end up having it go bad before we use it.  That is wasteful and it would certainly be better to buy a couple things here and there as needed rather than keep it stocked only for half of it to go bad.

    But thinking about these things has me ready to dive in to my pantry-no point buying in bulk just to have stuff sitting on my shelves right?!

  • Sat, Mar 22 2008 5:14 PM In reply to

    • Brandy
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Mar 28 2007
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    Re: How do you shop? Bulk Buying VS Need Only Buying

    I spend less when I buy in bulk and visit certain stores like Wal-mart only every two to three months. 

    The proof is in the pudding for me. I have bulk bought for two years and shopped only weekly for sale items and perishables. At this time last year, I was spending about $250 or so on food and supplies, over the summer and winter, it dropped to $160. We moved this month and my husband has taken me shopping where we tend to just buy a few items at a time...at the price of over $400 so far!

     

     

    The Dollar Stretcher Community Manager



  • Sat, Mar 22 2008 9:19 PM In reply to

    Re: How do you shop? Bulk Buying VS Need Only Buying

    But maybe I am not as efficient as I could be with my purchases.  I do have a lot of food in the house, maybe it's time to think outside the box to use it rather than letting it sit there.  That I think is sometimes the danger for me in stocking up.  I have a lot of things in my pantry that have been there a good while-I need to rotate them out!

    jennylyn ~  I have been shopping like this for a long time.  I am a list freak, very anal about it.  : )  I rotate everything out, use everything I have, date the cans and boxes when they are stored, etc., so I use all I buy.  I also use my dehydrator when I find I have odds and ends left of veggies and fruits, just takes a few minutes to load it up.   

    We buy Natural Choice dog food and same with Cat food.  We buy 20 pounds of dry cat food, it lasts this guy about 9 months or so.  The dog food is another story, both pups weigh in at about 50 pounds each give or take, we feed each one 3/4 cup of dry food twice a day.  We supplement with a lot of table scraps and bones we buy in 10 pound lots from the local butcher(30 pounds each trip for 30 cents a pound, 3 times a year).  In the cooler months we supplement with bulk oatmeal, corn meal and day old or marked down breads.  Brian warms it in broth and adds their dry food, they thrive on it.  : )

    I keep a master list of everything I have int he house and make sure I mark what I have and when it needs to be used up.  I took the idea from Amy D. and made a chart, telling me what I had on hand and then noted when I needed to use it.  I rarely make the same dish twice as I am always looking for and trying new recipes.  And I have renewed my quest to write that elusive cookbook and am now spending many hours creating new recipes.  : )

    Brianschef Michelle 

  • Sat, Mar 22 2008 10:13 PM In reply to

    Re: How do you shop? Bulk Buying VS Need Only Buying

    I do both. I only buy in case lots if it is a better price then buying individually.  I will buy in bulk..case of 6 boxes of kleenex, 24rolls tp, once in a while kraft dinner, box of 12 pizza pops, case of chicken breasts etc.  I will go to certain butchers etc and stock up.  Since I don't have to feed a herd..I don't need to stock as much on meats etc 4-6 items of each is my normal limit for stock I find with our household.  About 1/2 my grocery bills is perishables.

    I find buying on sales, loss leaders etc at different stores is the best one for me to stock up. I find we just don't though enough of most cases of product before it expires. a case of mushroom soup for example.   I think I rather have some of a wide variety of items then a lot of just some I have found out. Plus easy and favourful things like smoked sausage.

    I buy science diet for the cats in a big bag 10kg (about months worth, doesn't come bigger) and canned cat food for about a month at a time.  I don't buy case lots of canned cat food because half the flavors they don't like. I try to do the same for the birds.

    I admit with the amount of stocking up and variety I have done in the last few months has made cooking easier.  I think I like better the idea of having a fully stocked pantry with variety so I just have to add back what I used up. 

    My Family's Interests
  • Sun, Mar 23 2008 9:47 AM In reply to

    Re: How do you shop? Bulk Buying VS Need Only Buying

    I definitely shop in bulk and definitely keep the pantry well stocked.

    For 3 yrs dh kept quitting his job to take a better one (eight diffrent jobs a year)  for a year and a half they paid less than the one before ($.25-$.50 and hour less) then they started paying a little more (a nickle or dime an hour more), when he landed the job @ the local casket plant I put my foot down and told him I'd divorce him if he quit there (he was $.75 an hour short on his orginal wages when he started trying to find himself). During the three years he was trying to find himself we couldn't keep food on the table cause he refused to keep a job long enough for the probationary period to end and for him to get the pay increase. In order to pay the bills we had to cut back on groceries and often depended on the food pantries to feed the family each week. We were ineledgible for foodstamps cause the van we drove was fairly new (4 or 5 yrs old) and we were making payments on it food stamps felt we should sell it buy a hunk of junk then use the payment $ for groceries but this was a very decent running van so we kept it. I was working pt when the kids were in school (dh refused to pay for their sitter). Dd#1 had a paper route to and help us out I took 10% of her monthly check for household expenses and asked that she buy her own clothes, school supplies and paid her own lab fees and girl scout dues, if she didn't like what I cooked for supper she could buy her own food too.

     When DH landed the job at the casket company I decieded to keep a well stocked pantry so we wouldn't have to go back to  depending on the food pantries. When we got our taxes done and saw that we were getting money back (for once)  I decieded we were going to have some food in the house and started buying enough meat to last us and went to a butcher to buy a side of beef and a case of chicken breast (that's the only part of the chicken we eat) and to a slaughter house for 1/2 a pig (a few years later the butcher couldn't find sides of beef so we started going to the slaughter house for that then later switched to farmer direct but kept using the same slaughter house). Three years into him working at the casket co I started keeping a shopping log to keep track of what we bought each week, how much it was and if it was on sale (kinda like a price book but not as stringent) from that info I made a master pantry list that I go off when stocking up. The casket co's contract was due to end and I had a bad feeling thinking they might strike and remembering the times Dad went on strike @ GE I figured that if the pantry was full that would be one less thing to worry about. I told DH I wanted to keep a years worth of food in the house incase things went bad at the casket co and we started stocking up. The contract was grudgingly passed but 3 wks later the workers went out for lunch and weren't allowed to return cause home office had sold them to their diect competitor and they were closing the plants laying off 350 workers. When he lost his job we had enough food that all we needed each week was milk, bread, eggs, ceral and produce (he lost his job in the spring so no garden). It was six months before he landed his job at the university where he currently works.

    I still like to keep the pantry stocked and use my spending log. When I see something that we need on sale I get a years worth if possible 6 20 pks of TP @ $9 ea, 60 boxes of mac & cheese @$.25 ea. 8 cans of frosting @ $.88 ea just incase something goes wrong at least we can eat. Some people think I'm nuts but knowing what I need, what price I can afford them at helps me and dh to feed the 6 1/4 of us on around $80 a week (some weeks less some weeks more), after what I've been through it's jsut common sense!

     

    thrift is a sign of intelligence, any fool can spend money


    A merry heart does good like a medicine; but a broken spirit drieth the bones. Proverbs 17 verse 22
  • Sun, Mar 23 2008 10:14 AM In reply to

    Re: How do you shop? Bulk Buying VS Need Only Buying

     nanagain2000 ~ Excellent job and terrific explanation...

     Brianschef Michelle

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