In order to be successful in your quest to be frugal, you really have to adjust your whole mindset on how you spend and save your money. Being frugal truly is a change of lifestyle. You must incorporate it into every area of your life. Now before you run the other way, let me explain a little bit. If you are doing really well with one area but you are wasting tons of money in another area, the wastefulness is kind of defeating the whole purpose. You must balance many areas in order to really see a difference in your finances! Let me break it down a little. Today we will talk about one area where you can make some changes.
Aside from your mortgage payment and loans, one of your biggest expenses is probably your food and household expenses. Am I right? With grocery prices constantly on the rise, it is important now more than ever, to watch where every penny of your grocery budget goes.
One of the most effective ways my family has found to save money and live a more frugal lifestyle is to buy in bulk. Of course, when you think of buying in bulk your mind instantly goes to the “Club” stores. Our membership to Sam’s Club is definitely a huge money saver for us and well worth the membership cost every year. But there are so many other ways to buy in bulk as well! I am always keeping my eyes open for new opportunities and new sources to make bulk purchases. We have an opportunity several times a year to participate in a bulk cheese purchase and I also like to purchase from food co-ops.
Do your research ahead of time. Before diving in to a bulk purchase, you need to make sure that it is actually a good deal for that item. I typically look at the price per ounce or per pound and compare with other local retailers or grocery stores. I have a notebook where I keep a comparison list of products that I frequently purchase and the price from the 3 stores I got to on a regular basis. I will share more about my price notebook in a future post. But for now, just keep in mind that bulk doesn’t always mean it is a good deal.
Another thing to seriously consider is do you have the proper storage space for what you are purchasing? If it is cold food, do you have the refrigerator or freezer space? If it is household or toiletry items, do you have the cupboard space? If it is pantry items, do you have the cabinet space? You do not want buying in bulk to become a burden or make your house look messy and cluttered. You must make sure that you have a plan in place for storage of your bulk items.
Today, I’m going to share with you how we prepare our bulk cheese. I don’t know about you, but we eat a lot of cheese in our house! So naturally, that was a perfect place for us to start buying in bulk and saving lots of money! We buy several types of cheese in bulk from Sam’s Club. Like I shared above, we also have a great opportunity several times a year to participate in a bulk cheese purchase where we can buy large blocks of cheese.
There are just a few items you will want to have on hand to make prepping your bulk cheese a little easier. You will want a small kitchen scale and quart size freezer ziploc bags. Dependent on what kind of cheese you buy, you may also need a slicer. For beginners, I advise just starting out at Sam’s club with pre-shredded/pre-sliced cheese!
Sam’s Club’s shredded cheese comes in a 5 pound bag. So I always start out by prepping 5 ziplock bags, I write the type of cheese and the date. Then, I add 1 lb of cheese to each bag, seal it up and move onto the next bag.
For the American cheese slices, I just split each stack into 2 smaller stacks and seal in the bags. I don’t worry about weighing them, I just “eyeball” it.
For the block of cheese that we manually slice, I count out 10 slices per bag. The blocks of cheese that we buy are usually specialty cheeses. Last time we got horseradish and garlic, so we only need a small amount thawed at a time.
And of course, don’t forget to add your cheese to your Freezer Inventory!
Good Luck in your bulk-buying adventures!