Save Money, Buy In Bulk!

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We’re a family of 6 with a grocery budget of about $600 a month.  We eat mostly organic foods, pastured based meats, traditional foods, etc.  I’ve been asked how we do it.  It’s work, but it is possible.  Always compare prices and make sure that buying in bulk is actually saving you money.  Bulk isn’t always cheaper but 90% of the time it is.

buying bulk

Meat:

Look online for a local farmer, then ask if they give discounted rates if you buy a quarter or half of an animal.

We found a local farmer that raises pastured based beef and pork.  We bought 1/4 side of beef at $6 per pound, and 1/2 of a pig for $4 per pound.  It was a steal and should last us 9-12 months.  We buy soy-free pastured whole chickens from a farmer a couple states over for $3.99 per lb.  Even canned tuna can be bought in bulk.   Our goal is to buy great quality meat, and eat less to make those food dollars go further.

 

Grains, Legumes, and Nuts:

Buy grains and legumes in 25lb or 50lb bags.  Whole grains and legumes store well in sealed containers for years.  Buying these items in bulk can save you up to 50%.  We use a lot of rice so why not buy 50lbs. of organic rice when it makes the cost of organic rice half the price?  Grains and legumes we buy in bulk are: brown rice, buckwheat, popping corn, millet, pinto beans, and black beans to name a few.  We store them in 5 gallon buckets with gamma seal lids.  Nuts and seeds can often be bought in 5lb packages for a steep discount.  Nuts and seeds tend to go rancid quickly so keep these in the freezer if you won’t be using them within 3 months.  Nut flours namely almond flour can be bought in 25lb boxes for literally half the price, store it in your freezer to keep it fresh.  Grind these bulk grains and make your own gluten-free flours to save a bundle.  Before we got a grain mill, we ground grain in our vitamix.

Check your local health food stores and ask them if they give case discounts, most do.  Whole Foods gives a 10% discount on case purchases and my local health food store sells bulk items for whole sale price plus 20% which is much cheaper than paying full price for the item.

Grocery

Fruits, Vegetables, and Dairy:

These are your perishable items, but they can also be bought in bulk and stored for later use.  We buy pastured butter by the case from Whole Foods (15lbs is a case), and get a 10% discount.  We know we’ll use it, and a case generally last us about 3 months if I’m not doing heavy baking.  Butter stores well in the freezer.  A local farmer to us sells raw cheeses in various sizes.  If you purchase them by the 5lb block he gives you a discount.  Cheese can be frozen if you can’t use it right away.

Fruits and vegetables can be bought not only in bulk from local stores for a discount or while on sale, but also the farmer’s market where most farmers will give you a deep discount if you buy them out.    Preserve those fruits and vegetables by freezing, canning, or dehydrating for using later on throughout the year.  2 years ago Whole Foods had a great sale on organic apples for .99lb.  I bought a whole case (55lbs) and dehydrated and canned them for use in the winter and spring, I was upset that I only bought one case.  A year ago our local health food store was having a killer sell on organic pears, .99lb.  I bought 40lbs and canned and dehydrated them for later use.  We often visit pick your own farms to stock up on large quantities of fruits.

fats(1)

Sweeteners and Fats:

Sweeteners like sucanat can be bought in 25lb or 50lb bags at a much lower rate than the 2lb packages.  We buy honey in 6 gallon buckets from a local bee keeper for a steal of $160.  We buy 2 gallons of olive oil from Chaffin Family Orchards when they are running their annual sale, we purchase coconut oil in 1 gallon buckets from Nutiva or Tropical Traditions when they are running sales and free shipping.  Render your own tallow or lard from the animals you bought in bulk.

 

Eating well on a budget can be done.  It does take work as you need to compare prices and shop around to make sure your getting the best deal.  We also make almost everything from scratch which is a big money saver in itself.  Do what you can to eat healthy on the budget and resources GOD has given you.  And as with all things, Give Thanks.

We also volunteer every week as a family at our local health food store which in return gives us 10% off all of our purchases.  We stock shelves, dust, vacuum, clean potties, etc.  Ask your local stores if they offer a similar program.  Amazon is a great resource for buying many items in bulk.

Resources: 

Amazon.com (affiliate link, thank you for supporting SimpleFoody)

Local Harvest

Eat Wild

Pick Your Own

 

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Katie is a military wife and mother of 4 with 1 on the way. She is passionate about family, food and serving the LORD. By day you may find her changing diapers, folding laundry, home educating her older children, and cooking three meals a day with a baby on her hip next to a sink of dirty dishes. By night she writes and shares recipes, tips, and tutorials for economical, nourishing and simple gluten-free foods at Simple Foody.

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Comments

  1. Justine says

    Just curious, you said you spend $600 per month on groceries, does that include the items you buy in bulk. When you do buy in bulk do you save up to do so or do you just replace what you need when you need it?

    • Katie says

      We budget for $600 a month. We don’t always spend $600 every month and some months we may spend more. Out of that $600 we set aside about $100 to buy meat in bulk at the beginning of every year. We spend about $1300 at once buying a 1/2 of a pig and a 1/4 of a cow. This will almost get us through the year. This coming year we will be buying a 1/2 of a cow as we ran out of meat quicker this year since our family is growing. When I can get organic chickens at a great price I may buy 20 or so. If not I buy 10 or so from a local farmer who sells pasture raised poultry. The only set expenses we have every month is milk and some produce. Which is only about $200 of that $600. The rest is put back for bulk purchases like grains, salt, canned items (which is few as we can 90% of our canned items), sweeteners, etc.

  2. Justine says

    Thank you that is very helpful! Currently our budget is $500 a month for our family of 3 and it was really hard to make it down to that but it is all we can afford right now. I have been trying so hard to figure out ways to save money without sacrificing quality ingredients. The buying in bulk is something I have always wanted to do but its hard to set aside money to invest in bulk when you just don’t have it so your tips are very well received!!! Thank you for sharing!!!

    • Katie says

      Utilize Amazon for buying things in bulk. Check prices and see if it’s cheaper, most of the time it is and it’s not a massive amount of bulk like 25lbs or 50lbs., but rather 5-10lbs. Focus on buying one thing in bulk each month, once you have bought one item in bulk you won’t have to buy it again for a couple months and you can use that money that you would be using to purchase it weekly to buy another bulk product and so on. We’ve been buying groceries like this for 8 years now. It all started with a bag of white flour. 5lbs for $3 or 20lbs. for $7…I was shocked to see such a price difference. I went to the 20lb. bag and that was my first bulk purchase. 🙂

    • Katie says

      You mean not everyone has a freezer in their bedroom? 🙂 We have two fridge/freezer combos, and one upright freezer (way, way better than our previous chest freezer). Our extra fridge and upright freezer are in our garage now, but it wasn’t always that way. When we lived in a 2 bedroom apartment with 3 kids, we had a HUGE shelf with food on it in our bedroom, and food under our bed, and under the sinks in the bathroom, and in the closets, and under the kids beds, and crib.

  3. says

    Great post, Katie! Loved the info! We are in a tough area (Central Florida) and don’t have easy access to a lot of these options. So we pay hefty shipping fees. But our family of 5 eats the same for about $650. I love the idea of volunteering for discounts!!! 🙂

    • Katie says

      Do you have a Native Sun near you? Or WholeFoods? Whole Foods does bulk discounts. Amazon and Vitacost are also great options that generally have free shipping. We lived in Jacksonville, FL for 2 years (before we moved here to CT) and found some great co-op and CSA farmers near us that made getting good food on a budget easy.

  4. says

    Wonderful post and tips, Katie! Just shared this with my FB followers, as I couldn’t agree more. No matter what your budget, buying the items you use most in bulk is definitely the way to go. Like we chatted about … I have got to get a stand-alone freezer for meat and produce, so I can start buying those in bulk. It’s definitely on my wish list … Thanks again for these WONDERFUL, HELPFUL tips/recommendations. Lots of blessings, sweet friend, Kelly

  5. says

    Thanks for linking up with us at Let’s Get Real! Buying “bulk” doesn’t necessarily mean getting 1000 rolls of toilet paper at Costco! 🙂

  6. says

    Great tips Katie! I learn something new every day. I like to buy in bulk when I can, but you’ve given me some new ideas to try. Thanks so much for sharing this at Let’s Get Real. I feed 5 on a regular basis and 6 when the college boy is home. I’ve got some big eaters and I need to do everything I can to save a buck. My freezer is pretty empty right now. I need to work on changing that.

  7. Susan says

    Our Food Buying club gets together to get discounts for a lot of the bulk places so you don’t actually have to buy 100 lbs of something to get the discounted price. We use Azure Standard and Frontier that deliver monthly for most of our groceries that aren’t the local produce. Then we also utilize a local honey guy, and an organic cattle/pork grower that gives us great deals so I have tallow & lard to make/use for cooking and soap making. The group also does a quarterly order from a couple health supplement places as several of us need additional nutrients for chronic health issues. If you don’t have a club, try to start one in your area, it really helps with the bills. We have a family of 7 and spend about $750/month and part of that is animal feed (dairy goats and rabbits) from Azure.

  8. says

    Thanks for this post! We try to do the same things. I am just now learning about buying things from amazon (that are organic and high quality) so thanks for the link for the tuna.

    GracefulMommy

  9. says

    What a great post Katie with so many good ideas. I too buy in bulk, I must say you got a great deal on your bulk honey. We just purchased a 60# bucket form a local beekeeper. As a former beekeeper we like to know where our homey comes from! Wanted to let you know that I’m going to feature your post on the HomeAcre Hop this week (I’m one of the co-hosts). Look forward to what you’ll be sharing this week! Be sure to stop by as we’ll be having a great giveaway as well! Nancy
    HomeAcre Hop

  10. says

    Thanks for sharing your informative pantry tips last week at Make Your Own Herbal Monday. This week we are looking for Housecleaning Recipes and The Laundry Room recipes if you have any to share 🙂 Have a wonderful week! ~ JES

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