In my last post I talked a bit about how bulk buying works for us and how it doesn’t. I went to BJs at the beginning of the month to stock up on some items that we use regularly. This is a combination of purchases that should last us through two months and some other things that will probably last longer than that. I specifically planned my trip to BJs to coincide with my membership ending as I want to hold off on the renewal for a couple of months. I also want to get in the habit of only shopping there every other month or so as I really think it helps me spend less generally AND I like having one less store to hit (I realize that I could chose to just only shop at one store, but…). Anyway, this is what we picked up.
- Ground beef (88% lean), 6.5lbs @ $2.99/lb
- Ground turkey (93% lean), 4lbs @ $2.57/lb
- Ground chicken, 3lbs @ $2.66/lb
- Sweet Italian Sausage, 3.5lbs @ $2.77/lb
Except for the turkey, I portion this meat out into smaller packages and freeze. I think I am going to grind my own chicken at home from now on; I can usually find both breasts and thighs at a good price and this isn’t something I really need to spend money on. We do use it for lettuce wraps and burgers, but again, can do that just as easily with the food processor at home. The ground meat will last through the two months easily, with maybe 1 pack left over, depending. I had purchased ground beef and turkey during my previous trip to BJs, so still had some in the freezer. I really like having the ground meats on hand for very simple suppers. I also use them for meatballs and burritos which I like to then freeze for later use. The Italian sausage will probably last at least three months; each link is about 4oz and I portioned them into two link packs for the freezer. I use this in lasagne, stuffed peppers, and soups and stews.
- Raisins, 4lbs @ $7.99 ($2/lb)
- Olive oil, 1L @ $13.99
- Soy sauce, 1.25qt @ $5.49
- Kalamata olives @ $6.99
- Chopped walnuts, 3lbs @ $13.99 ($4.66/lb)
- Whole almonds, 3lbs @ $16.99 ($5.66/lb)
Michael eats raisins and walnuts in his oatmeal almost every day. We go through both of these items fairly quickly as a result, although this quantity will probably last a bit longer than two months. The almonds will last longer than that — I will pack them in small quantities for snacks during my long days on campus this fall. The soy sauce will also last quite a while; we just happened to have run out when I shopped this time. By my calculations, soy sauce is cheaper at Aldi but they do not always carry it at my store and hadn’t had it the last few times I shopped there. Of course, as soon as I purchased this large bottle I saw it on the shelf the next time I stopped by Aldi. They didn’t have any low sodium, though, so I feel somewhat vindicated. Also, I like only having to buy this large container every once in a while. The olive oil is a new brand and slightly pricier than my previous purchase, however, this is supposed to be a higher quality oil so I thought I’d try it. I probably won’t open this jar until September, actually, since we do have a previously purchased container still in the pantry. But that container will definitely be depleted before September is up! Finally, the olives are something we both love and which I add to many dishes just for the slightly piquant flavor and briny goodness.
- Mozzarella cheese, 3lbs @ $6.99 ($2.33/lb)
- Cheddar cheese, 2lbs @ $5.59 ($2.80/lb)
The mozzarella freezes well; I pack it into smaller containers so I don’t have a massive amount of cheese in my fridge at any one time. We’ll use this for pizza, lasagne and meatball subs, among other things. The cheddar is just a staple that we love. This is one thing, though, that I tend to make duplicate purchases of when I’m at the grocery store. I’ll buy cheese slices because they are so much easier for grilled cheese. Which is only partially true. The idea of them is easier, for sure. Really it would not take that long to cut off a few slices for these sandwiches. In addition to these two cheeses, we also have a container of blue cheese crumbles and a bag of grated Parmesan, both of which were part of the previous BJs trip.
Since I purchased these items deliberately to last two months, I’m splitting the cost between August and September. It works out to about $63/month.
There are some things I chose not to buy, either because I thought we had more on hand than we actually did or because I didn’t think we’d really want them. In retrospect, though, I wish I had purchased them. They are flour, tomato sauce, feta cheese, chili powder, laundry detergent and all-purpose cleaner. It’s good to know!
I’m actually considering switching over to Sam’s Club instead of BJs; I need to make a point to visit a local club and just walk through, assessing the prices. We used to have a Costco membership, which I really liked. I will be closer to the Costco, too, now that school has started (almost). Maybe I should do a little comparison of all three on the items I buy most often. As well as the membership cost. Probably we don’t even need a membership to any of these clubs; I just appreciate being able to go once and get everything I need for a while. I also appreciate that the prices are relatively stable — those are the best regular prices on ground meat that I have found around here. There are sometimes sales, but if I am not able to get to the store during a sale, I miss that opportunity. Just a few things I’ve been kicking around in the back of my mind. I do know that the amount I save just on the coffee beans we buy actually pays for the cost of the membership over the course of a year!