Monday, January 18, 2016

10 Things I Always Buy in Bulk

Buying in bulk may be one of the best habits my old, extremely frugal self, started doing years ago.  Today, I still buy in bulk, and am always on the hunt for good bulk deals.  Buying in bulk saves me money, but it also saves me frequent trips to the store (where I'd inevitably spend MORE money).  My primary places for bulk purchases are Winco and Costco.  I realize not everyone may have a Winco, as I believe it's primarily a west coast store, but there are bound to be other bulk shopping options around the country.  Here's a list of the items I nearly ALWAYS purchase in bulk...

1.  Flours & Sugar.  Flour in bulk can save a pretty penny.  At Costco I buy bulk bread flour, which is great for pizza dough, tortillas, etc.  They recently started carrying bulk Organic Unbleached All Purpose Flour.  While it's not the "big" bulk I prefer, it's still a good amount of flour and a great Costco price.  For some odd reason, Costco has yet to carry bulk Whole Wheat Flour.  Winco has this in their bulk bins, so it's a pain to buy a TON at once, but a great deal if you don't mind scooping and bagging :)  I'll need to check again, but I think they may carry a big bag of whole wheat....I know they carry a big bag of AP Flour.

Costco carries a large bag of regular sugar, but they recently began carrying Organic Cane Sugar too! Again, it's not the massive bags I prefer, but still a good size and a great deal.

2.  Teas.  Individually wrapped teas are EXPENSIVE in comparison to buying unwrapped teas directly from the tea company.  We purchase our teas directly from the Davidson's Organics factory here in Reno.  I buy boxes of 100 unwrapped bags.  For a comparison, 100 unwrapped is $14, and 100 wrapped (meaning the pretty labeled wrappers) are $25.95.  I purchase 3 boxes at a time, and get a 4th box free.  BIG savings for people who drink a lot of tea!

3.  Rice.  Costco carries bulk bags of brown rice (and white rice, I believe). We go through brown rice like crazy, so a big bag saves us time and money.

4.  Oats.  Winco wins in the oats department.  We purchase a 25 pound bag for cheap, and go through one bag every two months at our house.  We eat LOTS of breakfast oatmeal, as well as use the oats in our smoothies and in these 3 Ingredient Peanut Butter bars for desserts.  Our chickens are also fans of oats!

5.  Vanilla Beans.  Amazon is actually our winner for vanilla beans.  We regularly use vanilla beans for the making of chai concentrate.  We have also used vanilla beans for making vanilla extract.  I like this pack from Amazon as it has a mix of A & B beans which can be used for different things.

6.  Beef/cow.  Last year, we began purchasing our beef in bulk from a local momma, and we will NEVER go back to store bought!  We first purchased an 1/8th of a cow, with 112 pounds of delicious, mixed, wrapped, and labeled beef.  The price averaged $5/pound!!!  That's cheaper than the fake slime meat Walmart sells, but we got delicious steaks and a variety of other cuts.  This bulk purchase was a lot up front, but saved us a TON in meat costs over time.  We are now preparing to buy half a pig in the next month or so, which will make our pork expenses dip too. If you're a Reno local, we purchase beef from Sanford Ranch.

7.  Local Honey.  We use honey for teas, cooking, sugar replacements, cough syrup, and more.  During the holidays, we used an entire gallon in less than two months.  Yikes!  We buy our honey by the pound from a local honey lady.  We pay about $66/gallon, which is approximately 12 pounds.  This works out to about $5.50/pound, which totally beats any store bought local honey price around here (typically $7.50-$9/pound here).

8.  Baby Wipes.  We purchase baby wipes at two different places: Costco and Amazon.  On Amazon, we usually do "Subscribe and Save" as you save money this way.  If we forget or don't have them delivered, we do Costco.

9.  Coconut Oil.  Coconut oil is great for so many things.  We use it for baking, making sunscreen, face moisturizer, diaper rashes, chapped lips, dry skin, and more.  I find that Costco and Amazon are regularly competing for "best price" for this item, so check both places before you buy.  Costco has a bigger "bulk," but Amazon's price per ounce one the single jars is about the same.  With Amazon Prime's free 2-day delivery, buying coconut oil from Amazon is sometimes just easier.

10.  Spices.  Buying spices in bulk is a unique one.  I don't mean that I buy a lot of the spice, I mean that I buy it out of bulk bins.  I once did a price comparison (see the post HERE) and the results were shocking.  By saving old spice jars or repurposing cute jars, you can buy just what you need of a given spice for a fraction of the cost of pre-packaged spices.  Honestly, this is one where I HATE having to buy spices pre-packaged as I know how incredibly marked up they are in comparison.  Fortunately, Winco has an amazing bulk spice section!

What do you find beneficial to buy in bulk?  What are your favorite bulk stores?

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