When it comes to grocery shopping, you can save a lot of money by buying from the bulk bins. Bulk foods are usually (but not always) less expensive, because there’s no packaging, cutting the cost of getting the item ready to sell. Those savings are passed on to you, the consumer.

Here are a list of things I almost always buy in bulk.


If I can convince you to change just one shopping habit it would be to buy spices in bulk. Prepackaged spices are super expensive. You’ve seen the little jars of cinnamon for over $4.

In the bulk bins, cinnamon costs less than that…per pound. All you need is your own jar or plastic bag, and you can buy as much, or as little, spice as you need. And you pay just pennies. Last time I went to Winco, I picked up some dried parsley, enough to fill a standard sized spice jar. The price? 10 cents.

Bulk spices are definitely a good deal. I buy mine at Winco, but if you don’t have a Winco, check your local health food store.


If you have the freezer space, and you eat a lot of meat, it’s worth buying a half steer all at once. Here in Oregon, I could get a half steer for $2.60 a pound. That’s pretty inexpensive, considering the meat prices in the supermarket today. And that’s for grass fed beef, too!

Even if you can’t afford (or don’t have room for, as in my case) a half steer, buying the family packages of meat are almost always less expensive than buying a single steak or pound of hamburger. I always buy the big packages of meat and split them into meal sized portions when I get home.

Wheat Flour

I always buy my wheat flour from the bulk bins. I rarely see a good sale on wheat flour, and by getting it from the bulk bins, I pay 42 cents a pound. That’s a lot less than the cost per pound of prepackaged whole wheat flour.

I can also mix and match my wheat flours in the quantities I need. I generally mix whole wheat pastry flour, whole wheat bread flour, and whole wheat flour, depending on what I’m baking. It’s nice to have all three kinds of flours available, at a fraction of the regular cost.

Whatever you buy in bulk, there are some things to keep in mind to make the most of your savings.

  • Only buy as much as you’ll use. It’s not a savings if you’re throwing it away.
  • Make sure you check the unit price, to make sure it’s actually less expensive to buy in bulk. Some things aren’t.
  • Make sure you have the storage space. If things aren’t stored properly, they can go bad before you use them.

What things do you buy in bulk? Do you have a membership to Sam’s Club or Costco? Is it worth it?

Photo by basykes.