January 15th, 2013

How to Save Big in Bulk

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Groovy Green Livin How to Save Big in Bulk

Walking up and down the bulk food aisle at your local supermarket can be somewhat overwhelming. There are so many bins to choose from filled with grains, cereals, dried fruits, nuts, spices or baking ingredients. I’ve learned the hard way that I should never head down the bulk food aisle when I’m hungry-that generally leads to a lot of extra bags filled with chocolate and candy!

Why shop the bulk bins?

Buying from the bulk bins at the grocery store is a great way to save money on your food bill, but that’s not the only reason to shop the bulk bins. Here are a few more:

  • Get more bang for your buck
  • Bye bye wasteful packaging
  • Buy only what you need
  • Ability to test out new products without a big investment

Why are bulk bins less expensive?

Bulk foods are generally cheaper than pre-packaged foods because-

  • No packaging needed. All that plastic and paper needed to wrap and protect food is very costly. Bulk foods have no packaging, which in turn reduces the cost of the product.
  • No brand name. There are no marketing or advertising costs needed to sell the products.
  • Less cost for transportation. Bulk products are less expensive to transport since they can be carried in large containers.

How to save big when bulk food shopping

A little planning is needed before you hit the bulk bins.

  • Make a list before you head to the market.  Buying in bulk allows you to buy just what you need. Make a list and stick to it.
  • Bring your reusable bags or containers. The stores generally have plastic and/or paper bags available for carrying your bulk food home. Bring your own reusable bags or glass containers to cut down on waste. Glass Mason jars are a good option.
  • Save on cost by determining the tare weight of your container before filling it. Stores will allow you to deduct the weight of the container (tare weight) from the total weight. Check with the customer service department regarding the stores procedure-they may want to weight the jar or bag for you.
  • Bring a measuring cup or spoons to ensure that you don’t buy more than you need.
  • Look for organic ingredients (generally clearly labeled). Organic products in the bulk bin are generally much less expensive than their packaged counterpart.
  • Take time to compare the bulk bin prices to the cost of prepacked products. In most cases bulk bin prices will be much less.

Do you use bulk food bins? Do you bring your own containers?

photo credit: bcmom via photopin cc

13 Responses to “How to Save Big in Bulk”

  1. I do shop the bulk bins. I wish we had more options. I have to come to your neck of the woods to buy in bulk. I do try to bring my own containers, but sometimes forget. One of my favorite things to buy in bulk are spices. If I’ have forgotten my own container and have to use the stores bags, I save the bags with my reusable shopping bags. I then use them as my “list”. I place the empty bag, already labeled with my shopping list so I know to fill that bag.
    Kristina (The Greening Of Westford) recently posted..6 Oddball Things I Always SaveMy Profile

  2. I love to shop from the bulk bins!! I need to get better at bringing my own containers EVERY time, though.
    Cathy recently posted..The REAL Awards: Vote Now to Honor a Health Worker – Ends TonightMy Profile

  3. Great summary of tips, Lori. I love shopping in bulk, mostly because I think all those jars in my pantry look so pretty with different colors and textures. 😉
    Kim @ The Soulicious Life recently posted..15 Ways to Use Vinegar at HomeMy Profile

  4. Good tips! I think this is like going retro as I remember my mom buying in bulk too. 🙂
    Shane@EnviroBooty recently posted..Green News From the 2013 North American International Auto ShowMy Profile

  5. Great post Lori! I wonder what you think about Costco? I am normally turned off by some of those stores who have excess packaging, but Costco has really upped it’s game with bulk organic food and meat. (And also have WAY better wages etc than Sam’s Club)

  6. I buy in bulk as much as possible. I am horrible about bringing my own containers though which is weird because I have been bringing big bags for years. I loved the idea of keeping the bag and using it as a shopping list! Great idea!
    Susan recently posted..Get MovingMy Profile

  7. Thanks for spreading the word about this as an economical choice. I have to remind myself that when I run out of a little container of a spice, I can save that little bottle and usually refill it too at a bulk-friendly store.
    Anne recently posted..Favorite Quotes at Flour Sack Mama: On Keeping HouseMy Profile

  8. I need to start shopping bulk, I’ve been reading a lot about how much more money it saves, especially when you’re trying to eat organic/natural.
    Isra {TheFrugalette} recently posted..Be Happy For FREE: Week 2 Challenge: Go Somewhere New!My Profile

  9. Hi Isra, I really love using bulk bins. My favorite perk is the ability to only buy what you need. Thanks for stopping by!

  10. I love buying in bulk! Unfortunately, there are no bulk stores around here and especially ones that sell organic food. I buy in bulk from an actual company, Prana. Some of the nuts and seeds, and stuff I buy are in plastic bags, but it is so much cheaper, and definitely less wasteful! I miss whole foods for that reason, being able to bring my own cloth bag.
    Good Girl Gone Green recently posted..The green team at the NAIASMy Profile

  11. I think you need to open a bulk food store in your area Stephanie!

  12. […] up and down the bulk food aisle at your local supermarket can be somewhat intimidating and overwhelming. The sheer number of bins is […]

  13. […] to the bulk section at the supermarket and load up on dry beans and fruit, nuts, cereals and seeds. Buy organic bulk […]

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About Lori

Hi! I’m Lori, a recovering attorney, writer, and mom to three boys. Join me as I uncover and share the latest info on healthy living. Learn more.

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