Things You Should (And Shouldn’t) Buy in Bulk

woman browsing through grocery aisle

Americans have never really had much of a problem with food supplies compared with other countries. Groceries are relatively cheap. However, when you’re on a budget, grocery shopping is not a simple chore.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), an average American family spends $560 to $1,281 for groceries per month, depending on the family income. Those on a tight budget find ways to cut their cost for groceries. One of the solutions is bulk buying, which lowers the price of individual items. But, just because you can buy things in bulk doesn’t mean you always should.

Here is a guide to what items to buy in bulk and what to buy in small amounts.

Buy in Bulk

1.  Canned Goods

Buying canned food in bulk is a sensible thing to do. These often have distant expiration dates so, even if you don’t consume them right away, they’re safe to keep. Plus, canned goods guarantee that you have food ready in case of emergencies.

2. Pet Food

Buying pet food in bulk is always a good idea. Opened pet food generally lasts up to a year. As long as you keep your abundance of pet food in a cool, dry place, your pets will have a constant source of food for months.

3. Meat

According to the USDA, when you properly store meat in a freezer, it can stay fresh for up to three months. Depending on how much you consume, you can forgo buying meat every month if you buy in bulk. This is why many grocery stores, like the Dutch Discount Market, have meat products you can buy in bulk.

Don’t Buy in Bulk

1.  Condiments

Ketchup and mayonnaise contaminate easily. In addition to these two, most condiments do not have a long shelf life. Keeping a bunch of them in storage is not a good idea.

2. Coffee

Brewing your coffee at home is cheaper than buying from coffee shops. But stocking up on coffee doesn’t ensure a flavorful brew. Using fresh grounds or beans is the key to a great cup. Buying small portions regularly is better.

3. Spices

Spices don’t go bad, per se, but they lose their potency as time passes. This is especially true for ground spices.  If you’re not into cooking spice-filled food like Asian cuisine, it might be better to buy just what you need.

Groceries are not cheap for everyone. Families on a budget can save on individual items by buying in bulk. The above tips will help you cut costs without compromising the quality of your food.