Bulking Up

When I had my financial revelation earlier this year, it was quickly followed by a review of what I was spending.  At that time, we spent about $350 every two weeks for food and household goods, including toiletry type things.  FOR TWO PEOPLE.  That is over $9K a year!  

With that insane kind of spending, it is a good thing we don't have kids or something- I don't want to think about what we would have been shelling out. 

Prior to my revelation, though, I did notice that we threw out food a lot.  Food we could have eaten if we didn't buy so much or if we hadn't eaten out a few too many times. 

We have cut our budget in this area to $100/week, which is still very (too) generous, but saves me about $4K a year over what I was spending (along with lessening our trash and wasted food). 

To take it one step further, we have recently switched to buying things we use in bulk.   We've always had a Costco membership and now we are really putting it to use on things that make sense for us. 

costco bulk rice.JPG

One of my favorite things is this 25 pound bag of rice.  We eat rice at least twice a week and the bag is still nearly full after a couple months.  It was $10!!  Wanna know something scary?  I was spending $4 on 6 servings of pre-cooked frozen rice before the switch to bulk.  This rice is way better tasting and we're putting our rice cooker to good use.   

costco bulk sponges.JPG

This 16 pack of sponges was also amazingly priced at about $12.  Compared to $5 for 3 or 4 sponges at Target, I'm feeling pretty good here and have maybe 8 month's worth if I replace my sponge every 2 weeks.

constco bulk sauce.JPG

We also picked up this GIANT jar of minced garlic for maybe $6 and this humongous can of tomato sauce for around $2-3.  We made a ton of tomato/spaghetti/pizza sauce with it... just had to add a can of tomatoes we had laying around and some sauted onions and spices.  Viola!  We had maybe 5 jars worth of sauce for $4 worth of ingredients.  If you were to buy jars, even the $1.99 jars at Trader Joe's, this is still 60% cheaper. 

The real idea here is that by getting the stuff we use and eat anyway at a lower price and by buying it less often, I can further reduce my grocery spending.  With Costco, you still need to make sure the items you are buying are truly a "good buy" because not everything is but, in general, this is really helping us out. 

I went to Costco this week and got most things on my list- I just need to make a small trip to the normal grocery for a few things I didn't want a bulk size of (like mayo) . 

Here are some of the other things I've been buying in bulk: 

  • Crackers 
  • Spinach (Kris freezes it and adds it to his homemade lentil stew that he takes for lunch)  
  • Watermelon (not bulk, but BIG and delicious in season) 
  • Butter ($7 for 4 pounds!) 
  • Hummus (I like to make this homemade but this is a TON for $6 which I couldn't beat price-wise) 
  • Chicken Breasts- we freeze them
  • Cheese
  • Pretzels
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Paper Towels (I know I should use microfiber cloths but I have yet to make the break) 
  • Toilet paper
  • Olive Oil
  • Running Clothes
  • Sheets (bought these this week because Kris' KNEE somehow wore a huge hole in ours)- $40 for a queen set of 400 thread count (I can't feel the difference between this and the 540 thread count so I just went with these) with FOUR pillowcases
  • Some fruit some times
  • Biodegradable doggie poop bags
  • Hearing aid batteries (I wear hearing aids and Costco has amazing prices on the devices and the batteries) 
  • Frozen organic broccoli
  • Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Vitamins

Fun times!  I am hopeful at getting my weekly spending average from $100 to maybe $80 or 90 (or something) by using bulk buying. 

Anyone else looking to cut their grocery budget?  How are you doing it?