Is buying in bulk better for your wallet when you’re trying to cut costs on your grocery bill?
With grocery prices in Canada continuing to make a dent in wallets across the country, buying bulk with a strategy is key, notes Kathleen Cassidy, a Canadian couponing expert and founder of Living on a Loonie.
She spoke with Daily Hive to provide her tried and true tips when it comes to buying in bulk and some items she thinks are worth stocking up on.
Grocery and household items to put on your bulk list
“I think when it comes to bulk, a lot of the time, what I like to do is anything that kind of has a longer shelf life or that you’re able to kind of preserve in a way,” Cassidy told Daily Hive.
The first items she recommends buying in bulk are toiletries.
“So I’m looking for toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, paper products because you can get those at a really cheap price when they’re on sale,” she said.
Another bulk go-to is pantry items, noted Cassidy.
“So we’re looking at pasta, canned products, granola bars, cereals.”
Cassidy adds that deals for bulk items “come in waves,” and if you’re an expert couponer like her, you’ll “get a lot of stuff for free” if you’ve stocked up on the right kind of coupons.
“And then that gets you to the next sale,” she explained.
Meat and dairy are next on her list because you can easily freeze those items for several weeks or months.
Cassidy said that often, meats that are set to expire in a few days are heavily discounted, and you can “vacuum seal that and throw it in the freezer and then… you have a little stockpile of meat that can kind of get you through that was a very good price.”
The dairy items she recommends adding to your bulk shopping list are cheese, which you can shred and throw in your freezer, and butter.
Cassidy said that if you’re planning on adding bulk buying to your grocery routine, you need to “start small with one or two items.”
“So if you’re someone… who uses a lot of dairy… buy that cheese when it’s at a really great low price. Buy that butter, [and] figure out your process. How long are you storing it? How long does it take you to go through… one block of cheese? Just questions like that,” she explained.
Once you master bulk buying one item, you can continue building your inventory from there based on your family’s needs, she added.
Do some grocery math
Buying in bulk isn’t the end-all-be-all solution to saving on your grocery bill, said Cassidy. In order to make the most of your bulk buying, you need to whip out the calculator or do some mental math.
“The biggest thing when it comes down to bulk is just to do the math per weight,” she says.
If you’re stumped on how to do the math, here’s the simple equation you need:
The total price of the item/the weight or number = the price per unit
Oftentimes, the tags on bulk items will have the math broken down for you, Cassidy added.
“I think [doing the math] is important because I think the number one thing is people are like, ‘Oh, bulk dealing must be cheaper,’ which isn’t always the case.’”
Where to shop
While Costco seems like an obvious place to buy in bulk, Cassidy also recommends Bulk Barn.
The reason, she says, is because of the coupons and deals the store offers.
For instance, Bulk Barn offers discounts a discount for students and seniors, and it also has weekly coupons in flyers.
You don’t necessarily have to head to a specific store to buy in bulk, either. Almost every big grocery chain has a bulk section within its stores, making it a great place to stock up on pantry items like spices, baking staples, nuts, and grains.
Have you changed your grocery routine to buy in bulk to save on items in the long run? Let us know in the comments.