On Becoming a Bulk Shopper

I am officially a bulk shopper. Well, sort of.

Since I started closely tracking our grocery expenses the past few years I have often considered whether a membership to Costco or Sam’s would benefit our wallets. For most of our married life we haven’t lived near either of those stores, but now we are 30-45 mins from Sam’s (Costco is over an hour). I resisted Sam’s for a long time because although I shop at Walmart, I hate the experience and I wasn’t interested in shopping in a massive Walmart. A friend and I had a Sam’s club date last week (yes, I looked forward to it all week!) and she let me tag along with her shopping trip so I could see if they carry a lot of things I usually buy at Publix, Target, etc.

She was a good friend to go with because she is also health conscious and tries to buy organic (within reason) so I was interested in a lot of the things she bought. The membership seems to weed out people you usually encounter at Walmart, although there are still plenty of, um, interesting people. A week later I took my four year old with me and became a member. I had to give him several pep talks to make sure he understood we would have to wait in line so I could become a member, then I needed to get a few things, and then we could get the biggest bag of gummy bears he had ever seen. Considering how boring it is to stand in a line for longer than 30 seconds, and then walk around a giant store, he did well. He even did well waiting in line at checkout while I listened to someone complain about how all the cases of moon pies were gone (there were only packages of 24 left….I’ll let that simmer). Now we are the proud owners of a 6lb bag of Black Forest gummies, and I picked up a few other things:

  1. 3# bunch of organic bananas – $1.98
  2. Two dozen organic eggs – $7.98 (savings of $.66/dozen over Publix organic eggs)
  3. 80 Mission corn tortillas – $3.27
  4. Tillamook Colby Jack 2# – $7.83 (cheaper than Cabot at Walmart, significant savings over 8oz block from Publix)
  5. HUGE pineapples – $2.98 (same as Walmart, but these are bigger. They are $4.98 at Publix)
  6. Blueberries and strawberries (I rarely get these organic unless they are on sale. I soak in vinegar)
  7. Cascadian Farms granola cereal 3#- $7.28 (small boxes are close to $5 at Publix, and I haven’t had time to make any cereal although I still like this recipe).
  8. Two bags of Skinny Pop popcorn – $5.48 (thanks to my friend for introducing this to me. Nothing beats freshly popped skillet popcorn, but this is good for lunches and snacking, and does not have BHA/BHT. Two days later my Amazon pantry order arrived with two more bags of white cheddar Skinny Pop. My goal is to stop buying Kettle chips and replace with popcorn).
  9. Two loaves of Natures Own 100% wheat bread – $4.78 (these occasionally go on sale 2/$5 at Publix)
  10. Two boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios (I usually buy Greenwise honey O’s but these were a good price and the kids enjoy a small bowl of cereal for dessert most nights)
  11. Two pounds of garlic – $4.98 (I know that’s a lot of garlic, but I use at least one or two cloves in every recipe I make and I can easily make some garlic oil. I didn’t notice the garlic was imported from China until I got home, so I don’t plan on buying again).

I also left with a few special treats like organic salami and Dubliner cheese, and that gigantic bag of gummies…I already bought the meat for the month so I didn’t stock up this time, but I plan to buy all my antibiotic free chicken ($3.99#) and grassfed ground beef ($6.99# I think?) at Sam’s. Whole chicken will probably still come from Publix. We have no plans to invest in a chest freezer at this time so I won’t be buying 20# of chicken; just enough for the month.

HealthyKitchenHealthyBudget Sams Club1

It would be nice if Sam’s had a few more things we regularly buy, like organic oats, Pomi boxed tomatoes, fruit juice sweetened jelly, white whole wheat flour, and Yo Kids squeezers. So while you won’t see me pushing two shopping carts around Sam’s, I am hopeful shopping there once a month, supplemented with Amazon and the weekly trip to Publix for milk and some produce will keep our grocery budget in check. Here’s hoping! Notice – no Target. It’s my goal in life to stop going into Target because of how easy it is to spend money there. I’ll track our expenses and update in a few months.

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