Bulk Buy Bargains

We found mom Lori Ricard piling her grocery cart high in a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, warehouse club store, where she shops to save on groceries for her family of six. With her bulk purchases adding up to $400 a month, she needed help cutting things down to size. The secret: Know which items are actually a deal.

7 Ways to Save Money When You Buy Groceries in Bulk

Grocery cart ambush

1. GO GOURMET
Typically expensive items, such as specialty cheeses, jarred artichoke hearts and prepared foods like potato salad, are some of the best deals in bulk stores (you save up to 75 percent!). Since most regular markets don't buy as big a volume of these upscale items, they pay more for them and, in turn, charge you more.

2. EAT TOP-NOTCH MEAT
Pricey proteins like steak, ribs and shrimp won't necessarily cost less at a club store. But the good news is they're often provided by the same suppliers who sell to restaurant kitchens. If it's in your budget, go ahead and splurge—the high quality is worth the money.

3. SKIP PRE-PREPPED PROTEIN
Lori spends a ton on meat, but she could shave her bill by about 20 percent by choosing bulk packs of ground beef and chicken breasts instead of convenience items like beef patties or marinated teriyaki chicken. Divide large packs into servings and freeze.

4. DO SHOP THE DAIRY AISLE
Milk, butter and eggs run about 20 percent cheaper at club stores. But don't buy too much (unless you have the freezer space to store extra butter).

5. BUY BARGAIN BOOZE
Wine, liquor and beer prices can be 35 percent lower here than at supermarkets. You'll see the steepest discounts on high-end vino. If you're buying in large quantities, store in a cool, dry place until ready to drink.

6. STOCK YOUR PANTRY
If it will keep in your cupboard, you should pile it in your cart! It pays to load up on cooking stock and other nonperishable pantry staples, such as flour, salt, sugar and EVOO, because they're often less expensive at club stores. The exceptions are premium- brand family favorites, such as Cheerios or Nutella, which are usually cheapest when on sale at the grocery store.

7. AVOID THE FREE-SAMPLE TRAP
Like Lori, many shoppers get a taste of a product they like, then throw it into their cart without thinking. Stores use this opportunity to hawk expensive convenience items, like prepared cookie dough or frozen meals (often cheaper at grocery stores). Be mindful of these impulse buys and eat before shopping so you won't be as vulnerable.

Big thanks to expert Julia Scott, founder of the money-saving site bargainbabe.com.

 

 

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