How to Buy in Bulk and Save Money

By Carroll Colette J. Yorgey

In order to save money, it is a good idea to buy in bulk. Larger quantities are usually cheaper than smaller quantities. Often when buying in bulk we are buying at a wholesale price and cutting out the middleman.

Food is the most popular item bought in bulk. And often when people buy food in bulk, they form buying clubs or cooperatives with friends, relatives, or neighbors. They purchase their bulk items and then divide them up, thus saving money. So that is the first tip to buying in bulk:

  • Form a buying club or cooperative with friends, relatives, or neighbors.
  • Decide where you are going to purchase your bulk items. You can purchase in bulk from wholesale produce houses or through wholesale catalogs.
  • Once you have decided where to purchase your items, you can start making purchases or begin placing orders.
  • Foods that are best bought in bulk are your staples such as rice, potatoes, flour, spices, meats, and vegetables; or the foods that are absolutely necessary for your everyday meals.
  • Try to find out where your best restaurants purchase food. Restaurants purchase food from restaurant brokers and suppliers. Brokers are excellent for getting top quality meats and they will only sell in bulk.
  • Large farm markets or produce houses are best for potatoes or vegetables.
  • Catalogs are great for spices. Spices bought in bulk are bought at a fraction of the normal retail cost. But you wouldn’t want to buy a pound of oregano just for one small family. However it is still better than buying those highly expensive little bottles of spices. And spices last a long time. You can keep them almost forever.
  • You can also buy soy oil (vegetable oil) and molasses in bulk.

Once you have received your orders from your new buying club or cooperative members, you can place your food order with the supplier or suppliers you have chosen. When the order is delivered, members can begin dividing up their food.

A buying club can be made up of only a few people.  A family of four can easily go through 20 pounds of potatoes in short order. So if you are buying 100 lbs of potatoes and dividing it up into 20-pound portions, that would only be divided among five families. A family of four could easily go through a hundred pounds of potatoes quickly, depending on how much they like potatoes.

You will need to decide if you can purchase in bulk for just your family or if you need to join up with another family or two or more to purchase your bulk items.

You can purchase bulk items in your supermarket. There is usually a section that sells items in bulk, such as large cans of tomato sauce, large containers of pasta, and large bags of rice. You will save a lot by buying these items in bulk just for your family. Rice keeps forever. However, it is a good idea to store your rice in large airtight containers after you have opened the bag.

When opening up a can of tomato sauce, divide it into smaller portions and store it in the freezer. You can also make large portions of pasta sauce or other types of meals and divide up the sauces or meals into meal-size portions, put them in containers, and freeze them. Zip-lock freezer bags or covered plastic containers are great for the freezer. More tips:

  • Some localities already have buying clubs, cooperative stores, and sustainable farming initiatives that you can get involved with for buying in bulk, especially if you are planning to buy organic foods.
  • Organic foods are often sold in bulk through cooperative stores and sustainable farms or farmer’s markets.
  • Other items sold in bulk are cattle and chicken feed and other farm supplies. Farm cooperatives in your area can be found in your local telephone directory. You can also start a farming cooperative if there isn’t one already.
  • Purchasing in bulk also saves the environment by reducing the amount of energy needed to make small containers, reducing the waste caused by small containers, and saving trees that the paper used for small containers is made of.

You can save a lot of money by shopping in bulk, whether you shop at a local cooperative store or start your own cooperative among family, friends, or neighbors. You can also save a lot of money by shopping in bulk just for your immediate family.

Shopping in bulk will not only save you money but will save energy, trees, and reduce waste, which are prime concerns for today’s economy and environment.

Copyright © 2018 Carroll Colette J. Yorgey. Edited and used with her permission.