Fighting overspending at the grocery store is always tough, but with Thanksgiving around the corner, the little piggy turkey on my shoulder is working overtime to convince me to ditch my regular grocery budget and fill my grocery cart to the brim with rolls, canned pumpkin, and cheese, cheese, cheese!
Part of me wants to join in the gobbling and forget my grocery budget exists because I know that prepping for the holidays is a special circumstance; however, within the deepest depths of my stuffing-loving soul, I know that I can use the same strategies I use at the grocery store all year long to make my dollar go far this Thanksgiving.
Seeing as Thanksgiving is a feast, and a feast entails more food than your average dinner, I thought it was fitting to share my strategies for buying groceries in bulk in order to stay within (or just slightly above as opposed to majorly above) your typical grocery budget this holiday season. Despite the timing of this post, these bulk-buying strategies help me stay within my grocery budget year round while keeping my pantry full, so don’t toss them out with the turkey!
1. Respect Shelf Life
Before throwing that grocery item in your cart, ask yourself these three questions:
Can it stay fresh in your fridge or on your kitchen counter for more than one week?
Can you freeze it?
Will it survive on a pantry shelf for an extended period of time?
If you can answer “yes” to any of the three questions above, then give yourself the go-ahead on the bulk grocery purchase you are contemplating. One of the key components of a good bulk purchase is that your items don’t expire before you have a chance to use them (and no this does not mean buying milk in bulk and then drinking 8 glasses of milk a day to “get your money’s worth”). If you buy something that expires before you have a chance to happily consume it, you aren’t getting a good deal—you are wasting money.
My favorite bulk grocery items that can hang tight in the pantry/refrigerator/freezer until I need them: peanut butter, bananas, spinach, frozen stir fry veggies, chicken/vegetable stock, canned veggies, almond milk, bacon, chocolate chips, sugar, marinara sauce, flour, nuts, pastas, and oatmeal.
2. Pace Yourself
You can buy it all but when purchasing in bulk, you cannot buy it all at once. Respect your own grocery budget, and don’t splurge on multiple bulk items if the cost will surpass your set grocery spending. Would it be nice to buy bacon and canned green beans today—Yes. Is it necessary—No.
3. Avoid Addictive Items
If I love something so much that it will disappear at an abnormal rate (I’m looking at you candy corn), then buying it in bulk is not going to save me any money because once it’s gone and my addiction has been raging forward full speed ahead, you know I’m taking that train right back to the store to buy more. Most of the things people end up binging on are junk food anyway, so it will help your grocery budget and your overall health to keep them off the bulk list—even if that item meets the previously listed criterion of a good grocery bulk purchase. Just say no, kids…just say no.
4. Consider Versatility
If you open something large, can you use it many different ways before it expires? When buying groceries in bulk, versatility is important—especially if you are not a fan of leftovers.
My favorite versatile bulk grocery items: fresh spinach, beans, plain Greek yogurt, cheese, chicken/veggie stock, canned stewed tomatoes, bacon.
I am really excited to host a small (teeny tiny) group of family for Thanksgiving this year–God bless them 😉 What grocery shopping strategies do you use to stay as close as possible to your grocery budget? Do you buy in bulk to save money?