Through our Buying in Bulk series we won’t just be talking about how to buy in bulk but we will also be interviewing other bloggers to find out more about real life experiences with buying in bulk and how it has impacted their families.
Today enjoy this interview with Annie about her experience with Buying in Bulk!
1. How long have you been buying in bulk?
I have been buying in bulk for over ten years but not consistently throughout that time. When I was working full time I didn’t have the time or energy to go to several grocery stores or pre-plan my meals and grocery purchases. Finances were also not as tight several years ago as they are now that I’m primarily a stay at home/work from home mama so saving money by buying in bulk wasn’t as much of a priority for me then as it is now.
2. What was your main reason behind starting to buy in bulk?
I started buying in bulk when I was in college as a way to save money since I was putting myself through college and money was tight. I had never lived in a town with a store where you could purchase food from bulk bins and buy only the quantity you wanted. I also liked the idea that I could buy foods from bulk bins and put them in reusable containers so I wasn’t paying for packaging and there was less waste.
3. What was your biggest challenge just starting out and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge was the need to go to more than one store for my grocery shopping and I just didn’t have the time for it. The store in town that has the most bulk bins is the natural food store so a lot of the packaged items there are more expensive than shopping regular brands at the chain grocery store. I don’t buy everything organic so this means that I have to shop at more than one store for groceries. I have overcome this issue by stocking up in large quantities when I do my shopping so I don’t have to go to several stores each week. This also takes a lot of planning ahead on my part to make a complete grocery list for everything I may need at that store for the next month.
4. What are your favorite stores/sources for buying in bulk?
My favorite stores to buy in bulk are the local natural food store and co-op, Costco (for toilet paper, coffee, organic milk), and an Amish market about 45 minutes from our house that I discovered several years ago. (as a side note you might find this recent post I did interesting where I actually factored out how much time and fuel it cost me to drive up to the Amish market to see if it was worth it for the amount of money I saved by shopping there.
5. In what way has buying in bulk most benefited your family?
Buying in bulk has benefited us most by saving us money and helping us to live a more simple, frugal lifestyle. I love the challenge of finding the most economical way of purchasing groceries for our family which also translates into me making more homemade foods like yogurt, bread, crackers, and preserving foods.
6. What is your favorite item to buy in bulk?
Dried beans: black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, navy beans, and chickpeas. This is actually the most recent switch I made in bulk purchases. I used to stock up on canned beans when they were on sale because I didn’t think I had the time to soak dried beans or remember to do it the day before. I found several articles over the summer on how to batch cook dried beans and freeze them so I tried it out. It works great and saves a lot of money! I now buy large bulk quantities of dried beans, batch cook them and freeze them in two cup quantities.
7. Anything else you want to add about your bulk buying experience?
I encourage folks to compare prices. Occasionally I come across a packaged item on sale that is actually cheaper than buying the same item in bulk. When I find sales like this, I stock up!
Learn more about Annie with Montana Solar Creations: Annie lives in western Montana with her husband, 1 year old daughter and two lazy dogs. Annie is a frugal, nature loving, simple living, work from home mama with an Etsy shop. She has a blog where you can find DIY projects, recipes, natural living tips and stories about their outdoor adventures in Montana.