Knowing what foods to buy in bulk to save money can be tricky. It really comes down to timing, need and available space. However, if you’re not sure what to buy and when buying food in bulk could be overwhelming.
Buying in bulk isn’t just about bulk, it’s also about timing. Timing is everything!
Time Your Food Purchases Properly
A good stock broker knows when to sell and when to buy. A delicious dish can be ruined if it is baked too little or too long. And we’ve all seen photos that were snapped at just the right moment to create a hilarious outcome.
Did you ever consider that timing is important for something as basic as shopping for groceries? For years, I went to the grocery each week to buy what I needed for that week. I didn’t realize I was making a critical timing error that was costing me money!
I always waited for a sale before buying new clothes. I scanned multiple websites to find the lowest prices on electronic items. I shopped around to find the best rates on insurance. But, I went to the grocery store and bought the food I needed without realizing that I could spend less if I simply changed the timing of my purchases.
There is a right time to buy groceries! You’ll save hundreds or possibly thousands of dollars each year if you buy groceries when they are on sale!
I’ve discovered that many people pay little attention to the grocery store’s weekly ad. Most shoppers make a weekly trip to the grocery to buy the things they are out of that week. If those items happen to be on sale, that’s an added bonus. What they don’t realize (and for many years I didn’t either) is that they are overspending by shopping that way.
Don’t wait until you run out of an item to buy it. Follow the rule of the stock market: buy low. Buy the items you use when they are on sale. Timing is everything.
Buy Meat in Bulk When It’s on Sale
Let’s look at an example: Boneless, skinless chicken is regularly priced at $4.99/lb. Each week you buy 4 lbs. to cook for your family’s evening meals. At the regular price, you’ll pay $20 per week for chicken. That’s $80 per month.
Most grocery stores rotate their sale items, so you’ll probably find chicken on sale every 3-4 weeks. In my area, I can buy chicken on sale for $1.99/lb. At that price, I’d spend only $8 on chicken for that week’s meals and only $32 for a month’s worth of chicken!
Do the math. Spend $80/month for regular-priced chicken. Spend only $32/month for sale-priced chicken. That’s a savings of about $50 just by buying it at the right time.
You may be wondering what you would do with so much chicken at one time. When I buy chicken in bulk, I’m able to prepare it in advance for that month’s meals. I cook, shred, and freeze a portion of it to use later in soups and casseroles. I separate the remainder into meal-sized portions and freeze it. I might even add a marinade or a sauce before freezing. Not only have I saved money, I’ve also saved a considerable amount of time because some of my meal prep for the coming weeks is already done!
When I find ground beef on sale, I spend an hour or so prepping it. I can prepare and freeze meatballs, meatloaves, fried ground beef for soups and casseroles, cooked and seasoned taco meat, and much more. There are lots of options. To learn more about buying meat in bulk, read my posts Meal Prep Ideas To Save Time On Busy Weeknights and How to Spend Less by Menu-Planning.
Depending on how much meat you use, you might need a freezer to store the meat you buy in bulk. Use the money you save on meat purchases to buy the freezer. It will “pay for itself” in just a few months.
We’ve only discussed meat so far, but you can apply the principle of buying on sale to all your grocery items. When I realized how much I could save by buying groceries at the sale price, I started spending a portion of my weekly grocery budget to stock up on the sale items.
Check Grocery Store Sale Papers Each Week
Each week, I scour the sale paper to see what’s on sale. If an item that we use regularly is on sale, I buy multiples of that item. When I go to the store that week, I might buy five boxes of cereal, three packages of cheese, several pounds of ground beef, four bottles of laundry detergent, six cans of soup, and a few other items. The contents of my shopping cart may look strange to others. People probably wonder how I’m going to prepare square meals with such an odd combination of products. They don’t realize that I’ve built up a stockpile of the items that we use. After years of cherry-picking (buying multiples of sale items), I have a 2-3 month supply of all the items that my family uses.
I’ve also learned that grocery items go on sale during the season they are most used. Condiments and hot dogs are on sale during the summer grilling season. Baking items are on sale during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Soups go on sale during the winter. I’ve written a free printable guide to which groceries to buy each month to help you plan your grocery spending.
I will never go back to my old way of shopping. I love saving money and having a good supply of the things I need. If we finish a tube of toothpaste on a Tuesday, I don’t have to make a trip to the store. I just grab a new tube from my stockpile. It’s so convenient and I know that I bought that toothpaste when it was at it’s lowest price.
Imagine how much you could save if you bought all your grocery items at the sale price! The savings can be substantial. For years, I spent way too much on groceries by waiting until I was out (or almost out) of an item to buy it. I finally learned that I could spend much less by changing the timing of my purchases.
Timing is everything.
This is a guest post by Andrea Charles of SharingMyFavorites.com. Andrea shares her favorite strategies for saving money, easy recipes, meal planning and prepping tips, shopping tips, and more.
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