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Buy These Foods in Bulk and Save Big

Instead of heading over to your local Sam’s Club or Costco, why not check out the bulk bins at your local grocery store? You may find that there are quite a few items you can buy more cheaply there, and you’ll save yourself another trip.

Here are a few foods to consider buying from the bulk bins:

  • Rice – Rice is a common staple of most households, and it’s a fairly inexpensive starch. However, if you compare the price of rice in a bag to the price of rice from the bulk bins, you can save a few dollars every month by bagging your own rice.
  • Legumes -- Beans, lentils, chickpeas, and all the other legumes will usually be a bit cheaper when you buy them from the bulk bins. They may be more likely to contain rocks, grit, and debris, but that’s nothing a simple washing can’t deal with!
  • Cereal -- This is a bit of a “hit and miss”. On the one hand, you’ll usually pay far less for a pound of cereal from the bulk bins than you would buying them in the cereal aisle. However, the cereals in the bulk bins tend to be the generic brands, and they have been exposed to the air–thus increasing their risk of growing stale. Buy some cereal from the bulk bins, but make sure to eat it within the next few days.
  • Nuts/Dried Fruits -- The cost of dried fruit and nuts is pretty high, but you can save a bit by purchasing from the bulk bins. You’ll spend about 5% less than you would on pre-packaged nuts and dried fruit, and you’ll usually find the more natural options in the bulk bins.
  • Flour -- You should definitely consider buying flour from the bulk bins. The price difference may only be cents on the dollar, but if you use a lot of flour for baking and cooking, you’ll save yourself a fortune in the long run. You can buy jars or plastic containers to protect the flour from weevils when stored in your pantry.
  • Popcorn -- Once again, your savings won’t be enormous, but it’s definitely a good way to keep your “movie snack” closet packed. You’ll spend a lot less on regular popcorn than you would on microwave popcorn.
  • Pasta -- You won’t find the proper spaghetti noodles in the bulk bins, but you’ll find noodles like macaroni there. You’ll save a few cents per pound, and you’ll never run out of noodles for those days when you need a quick Mac and Cheese.
  • Coffee -- This is another “hit and miss” option. Packaged coffee is almost always more expensive than the stuff in the “self service” area of the store. However, the coffee in the bulk bins have been exposed to more oxygen, so the coffee beans have oxidated slightly–meaning they have lost some of their flavor and richness. If you want the best quality coffee, you’ll want to buy the packaged stuff. If you’re all about saving money and aren’t too picky, go for the cheaper stuff in the bulk bins.

Bulk bins offer a lot of items at a slightly lower cost than you’d find on supermarket shelves, but is it worth it? For the most part, it is. You may sometimes sacrifice quality for cost, but in the end, you can save up to buy the higher-quality items later on. For now, when you’re trying to save as much as possible, it’s a good idea to shop from the bulk bins when looking for the foods listed above.

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