Conventional wisdom dictates that buying in bulk will ultimately save you money. If you’ve ever shopped at a wholesale store, you know that the per unit cost of all kinds of items is lower than the individual cost you can sometimes find at the grocery store. However, there are certain foods and drinks that many buy in huge quantities that are actually more practical to buy at the market instead. Become a savvier shopper and save a little money by following these purchasing tips instead!
Rice is one of those things that people tend to buy a lot of without realizing that it actually has an expiration date. Brown rice in particular has a shorter shelf life than other grains because of its higher oil content. Some even recommend that you store it in the fridge to help keep it fresh. It’s a good idea to buy it in smaller quantities, especially if you don’t eat it very frequently.
Warehouses usually have excellent deals on produce, but for fruits and vegetables that are in season and heavily in stock, it’s always a good idea to check your local markets. Grocery stores usually have great deals on at least one type of fresh, popular produce. For example, the local Safeway here is selling grapes for $0.99/pound (for Safeway club members), as opposed to the local Costco’s $2.00/pound.
Sodas and Soft Drinks
Soda is big business! The few big brands of soda are hugely popular around the US, and supermarkets and convenience stores frequently have sales and steep discounts available for buying everything from 2-liters to 36-can boxes. If you just scope out your local ads, you can probably save about 2-3 cents a can. The spotlighted brands tend to change every month, so you might have to wait if you’re a die-hard loyal to a particular variety, but at least you won’t have to pay a higher upfront cost for soda it may take you forever to drink anyway!
Unless you cook all the time, stocking up on spices and dried herbs is a bad idea. Spices actually do have an expiration date, greatly losing their “spiciness” and potency over a period of 6 months. If you’re only cooking for a few people, and not on a regular basis, you’re probably not going to go through enough to make it worthwhile. (How many recipes do you cook frequently that require herbs de provence or coriander?)
Supermarkets frequently have better deals for snack chips like Doritos and Lays than warehouses. Since they’re popular everywhere, all year long, they’re sold similarly to soft drinks. Certain brands might have a rotating schedule, but when one is on sale, you can usually grab a bag for less than you would at your nearby bulk buy store.