If you’ve read about how I’m saving $15,000 this year, then you know I’ve come up with several ways to save money.
At first, it was out of necessity but now it’s just become a habit.
When I started cutting expenses, one of the first things I took a hard look at was my grocery spending.
According to the USDA, the average family of four spends anywhere from $600 to $1,268.00 on groceries each month.
(This post may contain affiliate links. Check out my full disclosure policy here!)
I don’t know about you, but I don’t have that much money to spend on groceries every month.
Last year, I read this book – and it changed my grocery budget forever.
While this article won’t go into as much detail as that book, I will share some of my best tips and tricks when it comes to saving money on groceries. 🙂 Let’s begin!
First, Make Sure to Save While You Spend
If you’ve followed me for any amount of time, then you know I love getting cash back on my online purchases.
Anytime you make a purchase online – try using a cash back program like Ebates.
There are several things I ALWAYS buy online nowadays because that’s how I get the best deal.
So while I shop, I make sure to do it through Ebates.
I’m sure you’ve probably seen the commercials for Ebates, but in case you haven’t, here’s what you do:
You sign up for an Ebates account (it’s free) and use the search bar to find the retailer you want to shop at.
As you make purchases you’ll get cash back.
Then, once you accumulate your earnings ($5.01 is the minimum payout) – Ebates will send you a check or deposit that money into your PayPal.
Note: The Ebates link above gives you $10 for signing up and shopping.
1 | Toothbrushes & Toothpaste
Most dentists recommend changing toothbrushes every three to four months (or sooner if the bristles are frayed).
But, the average American waits nine months to make the change.
(Admittedly, I’m one of those people!)
Toothbrushes are expensive when they’re bought individually.
For example, the Oral-B Pro-Health Toothbrushes are $5.30 at the local drugstore.
From Amazon, the 6-pack is less than $30. This means each individual brush is only $4.17.
Instead of buying the 1 or 2-pack because it costs less up front, commit to paying a few extra dollars at the register upfront so you can save more in the long-run.
2 | Tampons and Pads
This is one of those items that I thought, “Wait, don’t most people buy these in bulk?”
But then I realized, most people probably don’t want to walk out of the grocery store with handfuls of tampons and pads.
I feel you, girl. I don’t either.
That way, I get cash back and a better deal through bulk shopping.
Plus, it beats sending your man to the store and having him tell you, “I couldn’t find what you wanted so I got these instead.“
No, no more of that!
Because if you’ve ever been surprised by your period (haven’t we all!?), you know you need to have a stash around your house, in your purse, and probably at your desk, too.
3 | Meat
Sale cycles usually run every 4-6 weeks.
That means if your favorite item is on sale, then grab extra while you can, because chances aren’t that sale won’t happen again for weeks.
Produce and meat are the two most expensive items in the grocery store.
That means when meat goes on sale, it makes sense to stock up.
But, since meat is perishable, you don’t want to buy more than what you can eat.
If you’ve read my article, 13 Ways to Save Money on Groceries Without Coupons, I explain how using a FoodSaver has helped save me hundreds this year on food.
A friend recommended it to me and I’m so glad she did.
I use my FoodSaver to seal my produce and meat so that no air can get inside and ruin the freshness.
My food stays fresher 5 times longer now and I don’t have to worry about nasty freezer burn.
Plus, the FoodSaver is super affordable and it paid for itself in the first month!
Click here to check out the FoodSaver I love and use!
4 | Batteries
I’d be happy if I never had to buy batteries again.
Not only are they expensive, but they run out at the worst times.
Since nobody wants to have to get up to turn the TV because the remote batteries died – buying extra batteries are a great way to save time and money.
I always buy the most common battery types in bulk (AA and AAA) and keep them in a cool, dry place.
I’m not picky about which brand of batteries we use, so I normally just pick up whatever is cheapest from Amazon.
If you have a certain brand you like, then Amazon will probably have them in bulk packs for much cheaper than what you’d get at the store.
Related: How to Save Money When You’re Broke
5 | Vitamins
Vitamins almost always come in a 30, 60, or 90-day supplies.
Try to stick with the 90-day supply instead of the 30-day supply.
It’ll cost you a few dollars extra up front, but you’ll be saving more in the long-run.
Thankfully, there are a lot of good deals on vitamins online.
Amazon just happens to be my go-to for pretty much everything.
Unlike batteries, I’m pretty brand loyal when it comes to vitamins so I like to price compare my favorite brands online.
6 | Coffee & Coffee Supplies
Is there really such a thing as too much coffee?
My day doesn’t start until I’ve had my first cup of coffee.
Last year, I cut out the Starbucks addiction (well not completely, but mostly) and I use my coffee maker instead.
I was really happy when I found out I could save even more by stocking up on coffee supplies.
Coffee grounds, coffee filters, and creamer all have a long shelf life – so you don’t have to worry about those things going bad before you can use them.
7 | Condoms
Condoms can be expensive, but the more condoms you buy, the cheaper they usually are.
Since that was such a huge price decrease (143% difference), I knew I had to include it in this article.
Condoms generally don’t expire until four or five years after they’re made, so you’ll likely use them up before they go bad.
8 | Canned Goods
Who made tuna so expensive anyway?
Tuna and other canned goods are super overpriced when you buy them individually.
That’s probably why my grandmother cans a lot of her own food.
It’s a good idea, but I haven’t tried that yet.
Thankfully though, most stores offer canned goods in large multi-packs.
Canned foods have a long shelf life (usually a few years) and they’re also really easy to store, so it makes sense to pick them up in bulk.
9 | Trash Bags
Trash bags are another thing that’s super easy to store without taking up much space.
These Tall Kitchen Trash Bags from Amazon only cost $0.11/bag when you buy a 270-ct. box, compared to $0.23 when you buy the smaller 40-ct box.
I always like keeping a few extra rolls of trash bags on hand, just in case.
10 | Toilet Paper (and other paper products)
You knew I was going to say toilet paper, didn’t you?
Yep, it’s that one thing in your house that you never want to run out of.
Anything paper-related (like toilet paper and paper towels) offer great deals when you buy in bulk.
It’s kinda awkward to carry a 24-pack of double rolls home from the store, so I usually just stick to buying these online too.
The only thing you’ll have to consider with this is storage space.
Toilet paper and paper towels can take up A LOT of room.
But, if it’s a good deal you can’t pass up, then try finding creative ways to store it (like under your bed) so you can save the most money.
11 | Pasta, Dried Beans, and Rice
Because they last so long and don’t take up a lot of room – pasta, dried beans, and rice are easy choices for buying in bulk.
Pasta dishes make for quick meals during those “I don’t feel like cooking” kind of nights.
We love lasagna and spaghetti around our house, so we always make sure to have a few extra boxes of noodles on hand.
If dried pasta, beans, and rice are stored in a cool, dry place – either in its original packaging or in an airtight container – they should be good for a few years.
12 | Light Bulbs
Light bulbs are one of those things that are easy to forget, and when I do, it’s annoying.
These Sylvania bulbs are $3.38/bulb when bought in a 4-pack, but only $1.13/bulb when bought in a 24-pack.
That’s a 66% difference, so it’s well worth it!
If you’ve run out of bulbs before, you know that while using candles might seem romantic – that wears off pretty quick.
13 | Gum
Last year, I really started focusing on my health and fitness.
I began watching what I ate and counting calories.
Since the cravings were pretty hard to kick, I took a suggestion from a friend who recommended that I chew gum when I was hungry or had cravings.
It worked really well for me (I lost 40lbs!), so I started buying more gum.
And since I’ve started using that technique, I’ve noticed that gum is cheaper by the bulk.
In most stores, you can find multi-packs of gum in the candy aisle.
Some stores even sell gum for cheaper in large plastic containers.
14 | Laundry Detergent
We go through SO much laundry at my house. (Mostly because my partner gets really dirty at work.)
If you have kids, this might be the case for you too.
This year, I plan on making my own laundry detergent (using this recipe) because it’s so much cheaper, but I understand some people would still rather just buy it.
Since laundry is something we all need to use, that means there’s never enough laundry detergent to have.
This larger version of the Arm & Hammer detergent only comes out to $0.07 per load.
That’s much better than the smaller detergents which cost an average of $0.20 per load.
So stock up on the larger ones!
15 | Aluminum Foil and Plastic Wrap
You’ll probably always have a use for plastic wrap and aluminum foil, which is why these two items are great to buy in bulk.
I’m not brand loyal when it comes to foil and plastic wrap, because let’s face it – they all do the same thing.
So if you can grab foil and plastic wrap in bulk and go generic, then you’ll be saving more money.
It also means you’ll be packaging leftover food, which is another frugal benefit.
Why You Should Consider Buying in Bulk
So what makes buying in bulk worth it?
Why should you do it? Here’s why:
This is one of the best things about buying in bulk.
Almost always, when you buy in bulk, you’re saving money by the unit price, which really adds up over time.
If you don’t know what unit price shopping is (or why you should do it!), read my article: 13 ways to cut your grocery bill without coupons.
If you start shopping by the unit price, you’ll definitely be considered a smart shopper.
It Takes Less Time and Energy
Instead of having to make emergency runs to the store when you forgot something – it’s likely that you’ll have backups for what you need.
There Are Fewer Trips Involved
So you save gas, too.
If you’ve bought extra of the items you know you’ll use, you can make fewer trips to the grocery store because of it.
It’s More Green
A big plus of bulk buying is that it actually shrinks the carbon and energy “footprint” that comes from product packaging and using gas.
So you can feel good about saving money AND the environment.
What should I not buy in bulk?
It’s pretty common sense that you don’t need to buy everything in bulk.
Some things just won’t make sense for your household OR your budget.
If you won’t actually use it, don’t bother buying it!
Especially if it’s a perishable item that will go bad quickly.
There’s nothing worse than stocking up on produce when it’s on sale and having it go bad before you eat it.
So even though buying a 4 lb bag of oranges for $3.00 IS a great deal, if half of them go bad before you can finish them – what’s the purpose?
7 Golden Rules of Bulk Shopping:
1. Live and die by unit price shopping
2. Stick with non-perishables.
3. Be reasonable about what you need
4. Know how much storage space you have to work with
5. Check online first, it’s usually cheaper (and use Ebates for cashback)
6. Meet free shipping thresholds for items you know you’ll use.
7. Try coupons for extra savings