She’s talking about grocery shopping again? What a surprise! Said no reader of mine ever.
In my ongoing quest to explore every food buying option known to man, I spent last Friday morning at a wholesale club (BJ’s Wholesale Club to be exact), soaking up all the tips (and coupons) I could from Molly.
Instead of my strict, detailed list meal plan, I brought a rough sketch of potential meals. As we chatted and roamed, I definitely began to see some of the benefits of buying in bulk. I didn’t intend to fill up the cart, but the paper towels and tortilla chips alone took up half, so I left with plenty to sort through as I analyzed how bulk shopping worked for us over the past week.
Pro: Lower prices per ounce on name-brand products.
That big ‘ol bottle of avocado oil (my kitchen favorite) cost $10.99. The 24 pack of Clif Bars? $21.49 (roughly $0.86 per bar instead of $1.00+ that they usually run). The marinara cost $8.99, but it is double the size of the smaller bottle that sells for the same price at the regular grocery store).
Con: We don’t typically eat the same meat/protein multiple times in the same week.
This is probably something we could (should?) change, but I found myself freezing half the sausage and half the chicken drumsticks, instead of cooking it all up throughout the week. Since I shop my freezer on the regular, it will equal a cost savings for another week, but it’s just a new rhythm for me.
Pro: They sell wine. And coffee.
I crossed my fingers that David would like the coffee I chose (he does) because it’s huge and will last him forever and at $11.99, I just couldn’t pass it up. Josh, my favorite wine, was $11.49 (usually it’s around $13/$14 a bottle) and the store-brand pinot noir (which was good!) was on sale that day for $6. How do the kids say it? #winning?
Con: I bought things not on my list simply because of the price.
I jumped for joy at paying only $7.99 for TWENTY FOUR La Croix’s (I typically spend $4.99 on about 10!), but we never buy juices. Yet when I saw the Honest Kids at $11.49 for 32 pouches, I talked myself into how great they’d be for playgrounds and the boat.
I try to be good about coupons when it’s convenient, but I’m certainly not organized enough to have a coupon binder or anything. The flyer at the front of the store (combined with coupons from the mailer that Molly brought) ended up saving me $24. It was an exciting moment!
Click here for more posts on grocery shopping details!
- We have a lot more food in the house than usual. It’s weird for me to be on the last day of our weekly food cycle and still have extra ham, sausage, chicken, mozzarella cheese, egg whites, tortilla chips, and more. I’m so used to clearing out the fridge that it’s a new challenge for me to see how to incorporate these items into the next week’s menu so they don’t go to waste.
- I had to stop by other grocery stores 3 times this week. Once for yogurt and sweet potatoes, once for breakfast burritos for David, and another for bread. No big inconvenience really, but again, just a different way of doing things.
- It’s really nice as a growing family to have more quantity. I’ve mentioned that we never have leftovers from meals and how I am finding myself not making enough food to fill us all up sometimes, so being able to buy 1 super-sized bag of green beans that provided us all with plenty to eat and even some for lunch the next day for the same price as a small bag at another store was really nice.
- The bill was expensive. I spent $302 after coupons, which put a decent dent in our monthly grocery allowance. However it included paper towels, 4 bottles of wine, a big jug of laundry detergent, and over-sized portions of groceries. I’m interested to see how it pans out over the month, since some of that food cost will obviously trickle over as savings into the coming weeks. Still, I’m down to $250 for the rest of the month. Let the strategics continue!
I am intrigued by the potential for cost savings over the month and think it could be a really neat set up to try this summer. I just joined a local CSA and think between that produce, and buying bulk for pantry items, it could lower our monthly bill. I’m just trying to decide between BJ’s (close by), Sam’s (also close by), and Costco (not close by- about 45 minutes away).
Wholesale shoppers, help me out:
I know Costco has a mass following, but those that have shopped at multiple whole sale stores, is there a big difference between them?