Does Buying in Bulk Save You Money?

Hello fellow foodies! Yes, it's me, Stew! While my wife is still in a "food funk" (being pregnant and all), I figured I would make our next food posting. Now lest you all think that I am totally oblivious to our blog...I'll have you know that I am very involved "behind the scenes".

For those of you who don't know me, let me tell you a little bit about myself:
I am 28 years old.
I love my wife (very much).
I love food.
I am a financial advisor by profession.
And, I will find ANY WAY that I can to translate everything that I do in life back to finance. :)

So for a while I've been wanting to do a little research. About a year ago, the wife and I got a membership to a wholesale food store (Sam's Club--it's the closest one to us). They charge us $40 a year for our membership. Over the years, I have been told that buying in "bulk" will save us money over the long run. But I was skeptical. I don't always trust what people say. I have to find things out for myself. So this weekend, Lindsey let me indulge in a little finance research. We spent close to 4 hours comparing the prices of some of our commonly purchased items at both Sam's Club and Smith's Grocery Store.

I think you'll be here to see the research (and to print a pdf if you want).

We thought we were saving more by buying store brand products at Smiths...but in reality (on some items) we could actually buy name brand at Sam's Club cheaper!

Please keep in mind that while wholesale stores are have to SAVE AT LEAST the price of your membership fee (annually) to breakeven. If you don't then it's NOT worth the membership. We have 2 months to go before our 12 month membership is up...and so far we have save $ we have saved $1.11. But until now, we really haven't been using it very often. BUT WE WILL NOW.

Okay foodies--tell us. Where have you found food the cheapest? Do you use wholesale stores or local grocery stores? Do you use coupons to get that low price? Tell us...I'm sure everybody would like to know. ;)

Enough money talk...I know you all want more recipes. I'll have to bug Lindsey to step it up now that she's past her first trimester. ;) I think she's finally getting her appetite back.

: : lindSTEWfoodies : :


Lorie said…
I'm a loyal costco shopper, I probably go once a week for our little family of 3 (soon 4). Their milk is WAY cheaper $1.90 vs $2.50 or $3. There are a few things like certain fresh items that I can never use in time so I would waste too much to make it worth the savings. We get all our staples at Costco and grab a few small items at the local grocery store. If I watch deals though I can get some things cheaper, like OJ at the grocery store. It's $11 for 4 containers at Costco and I can sometimes find it for 2 for $4 at the grocery.

Overall, I agree! Thanks for the breakdown, I always attempt to do it in my head as I'm walking through.
Bre said…
I guess it depends how you shop. I've become a coupon clipper and now there's definitely stuff that's WAY cheaper at the grocery store than at Costco/Sam's Club (and I use to be a HUGE costco shopper) for instance, I get name brand body wash, toothpaste, floss, dish soap for free, and a lot of food as well for at least 60% off (if not free). I've literally cut my grocery bill by 60 percent.
We are executive members at Costco. Our membership costs $100 a year. The executive membership certain perks involved, but the best one is that you receive a 2% reward at the end of a 12 month period, depending on when you signed up. At the end of the period you receive a check from costco for 2% of the ammount of your pre-tax purchases made during the 12 month period. So, basically if you spend $2,000 at Costco during a years time, you will receive 100 dollars in the mail.. which coincidentally is the price of the membership you pay to shop there. We buy our gas at Costco as well. It's the cheapest around, and what we spend on gas also contributes to our 2% reward. The other thing I love is that Costco's Store brand, Kirkland, is the best store brand I've ever seen. Kirkland Products are cheaper than the brand name, but I've found them to be excellent quality. I noticed that the things you found were cheaper at smiths, were (in my opinion) of lesser quality (Smith's store brand - Kroger) in comparison to the higher quality of the products at Sam's (C&H for example). I like Costco because they sell high-quality products (with a few exceptions), for a great price, and their customer service is excellent. The only downside is that sometimes we end up buying things that we normally would not have purchased because of sales, whims, or whathaveyou. But, all in all, we love shopping at Costco. If we control our spending habits, we save money. Participating in the executive membership helps us get a return from the expenses we would have incurred anyway. We just have to make sure they would really be expenses we would have otherwise incurred : ) Thanks for the research.. great job Stew and Linds!!
There's a typo above... 2% of $5,000 is $100 dollars. : ) I read over that, and figured I better hurry before Stew caught the mistake : )
Mrs. King said…
I am super duper impressed. Well done! I have no idea what to think of this all...maybe I'll stop shopping altogether and beef up my gardening skills.
Jo said…
Case lot sales at the regular stores are awesome! I love Sams, I have tried Costco and Sams and Sams has better savings for us, I have a business account there, it only costs like $25.00 a year! You guys could probably get one of those with Linds' business and blog. I would check it out.
Becky said…
"And, I will find ANY WAY that I can to translate everything that I do in life back to finance. :)"

Wow, you weren't kidding! :P That's some good research you've done there.

Makro is our local cash and carry and while it's geared towards businesses, I do get to do a bit of personal shopping too. Not everything's cheaper but so long as you do your research, you're fine. I've also found it's good for things you can't find anywhere else either, there's a type of ice cream that I discovered in Menorca that I loved but couldn't get hold of anywhere. Then it turned up in Makro, which I was chuffed about.

For me, it's about the variety as much as anything else.

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