realfoodCourt's money saving tip #3

Happy Superbowl Sunday!!

Nothing exciting going on over here. Thinking about eating some of my favorite guac with a spoon and maybe indulging in some tortilla chips with melted shredded cheese. Mmmmm....For those of you who missed your grocery shopping today due to Superbowl festivities I hope today's tip will help you out later this week.

My previous money saving tips can be found here and here.

Today's tip is pretty simple...

Buy in bulk

My first recommendation is to either get yourself a Costco/ BJs/ Sams Club membership, particularly if you have roommates or a family. If this isn't possible tag along with a friend who has one. If that isn't an option either, no worries, buying in bulk can happen anywhere.

A peak into my cart at Costco!

Buying in bulk is great because food is cheaper per unit when you buy it in larger quantities. The trick, is to be selective about what you buy. If you buy food in bulk and it spoils, then you actually wasted money. For instance, unless you are hosting a party or have a family that devours fruits and veggies, buying fresh produce in bulk is not wise. Here are the things you should be buying in bulk, either with a club membership or when a good sale is going on at your grocery store.

what to buy in bulk:

1. Frozen fruit and veggies. Fresh is a no-no, but frozen should be a go-to. Have you ever bought frozen berries at the grocery store? They are expensive, painfully expensive. When you buy in bulk, the price per pound goes way down. I love getting the mixed, organic, berry bag at Costco, as well as the big bag of pineapple chunks. They don't go bad, and as long as you are diligent about removing the air from the bag and sealing it then it won't get freezer burnt. These berries are great in smoothies, yogurt, cottage cheese, and oatmeal. You can run them under cold water for a few minutes and they will taste just like they are out of the produce aisle, instead of out of the freezer.

2. Greens for your smoothie. If you aren't a smoothie enthusiast, the greens can be added to casseroles or soups, but keep in mind they won't stay good forever. I buy a spinach, kale, chard blend, which is pretty gigantic. My sister and I put it in our smoothies and use it for salads. It lasts about 10 days. Tip: If the greens start to look wet and soggy or smell, they are not good anymore.

so many greens in there!!

so many greens in there!!

3. Granola bars. Okay, I know what you're thinking: Why are we talking about a processed food? Click here to read more on my granola bar thoughts. Keeping granola bars in your house, car, or desk for emergency situations when your hanger is about to get the best of you is a smart thing. Buying certain brands of bars in bulk can equal crazy savings. For instance, when you buy a 5-pack or singles of Kind bars at Target or the supermarket they cost ~$1.30 per bar. Yikes. If you buy the big box at your local club store they cost about $1.00 per bar. Doesn't seem like much, but week after week, month after month this really can add up. Larabar, my personal favorite, costs up to $1.50 per bar at some places. Look for sales at Target where you can find boxes of 5 for $4.50-$5.00 and look at your grocery store for a $1.00 per bar sale, where you can buy each flavor individually. When you see these sales, stock up. This past fall, my grocery store was featuring fall flavors which included gingerbread and pumpkin pie, for 10 for $10. I basically cleaned out the shelf. Buying at that price saves money later.

4. Meat and fish. Buying protein sources is not cheap. Going to your local butcher is always a really good option because you get the best quality for the best price, but that isn't always economical or realistic. Club stores really take the cake on this one. You can buy organic meat at a quarter of the price of what you might pay at your grocery store. For conventionally raised meat, such as beef, your portions are bigger and therefore cost less per pound. At Costco I love to buy stew cubes because they are useful in all sorts of recipes. When I get home I weigh out the meat into one-pound portions and wrap each portion in plastic wrap. I keep these in a gallon bag in the freezer and when I plan to make a chili I just take out one portion to defrost. Portioning ahead of time is key because you should never refreeze raw meat that has already defrosted. The freezer is your best friend with this one. You can use the meat over several weeks.

straight to the freezer

straight to the freezer

5. Nuts and nut butters. These are not cheap, but buying in bulk can help, especially if several people in your household are eating these things. Club stores now carry more than just Jiff and Skippy. You can find raw, and simple ingredient nut butters for a few dollars cheaper than the name brands and in much bigger sizes.

I buy dates and and nuts in bulk so I can make several batches of homemade granola (minus the grains) bars throughout the month.

I buy dates and and nuts in bulk so I can make several batches of homemade granola (minus the grains) bars throughout the month.

Buying in bulk can be a great money saving trick! It helps with meal prep as well because the more foods you have on hand the easier planning meals will be. [Remember, no fresh produce unless you know it will be eaten.] So take advantage of your club membership by shopping smarter and never skip out on a good sale at the grocery store.

What is your favorite food to buy in bulk? What is your favorite grocery store sale? I would love to hear about it and get more great ideas!!

Until next time...