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Bulk Shopping

February 17, 2009


tree sponge paint, originally uploaded by Carol Esther.

Yesterday J. and I made our second trip to Costco. For those of you who don’t regularly read our blog we received a membership as a Christmas present and are trying to decide if the cost is truly worth it to us. We are aiming to go every 4-6 weeks so we don’t go overboard on bulk products and because the closest Costco is about 30 minutes away.

We still have plenty of everything we purchased last time (rice, oils, sugar, tomato sauce, and toilet paper) so we focused on adding to our stockpile in other ways. The only things we needed were cereal and sponges but we also purchased crushed tomatoes, a big block of cheese, cat litter, and gum. The total bill was $60 and I doubt we will need to purchase any of these items again for a couple months. If you are wondering how green Costco is well it depends on what you are looking for. There are some organic options for canned tomatoes, canned soups, and dairy as well as some phosphate free cleaning options but that’s about it. I prefer to buy our milk and eggs local so we only end up cruising a couple of the aisles. The rest (like the candy aisles right up front) are pure temptation. The other way bulk purchases are green is reduced packaging, hence our decision to purchase cereal at Costco. For products I’m not buying locally or organic anyway I can reduce my packaging although I won’t always save money. Costco like any other store is going to offer better deals on certain products but certainly not all so keep that in mind.

So far the Costco membership isn’t too bad and I would imagine we’ve saved the cost of our membership already. I would prefer that they have less packaging (does each toilet paper roll need to be individually wrapped within the larger plastic packaging (ditto for sponges)? I’d also like them to offer more bulk choices like grains and legumes and of course more organic and local choices are always welcome.

What do you buy in bulk?

7 Comments leave one →
  1. February 17, 2009 7:22 am

    I bulk buy everything that’s storable. We have an extensive checklist (we put everything we buy on it) which we use when we plan our shopping and go once a month to the shopping mall for necesities (nothing like Costco in Sweden unfortunately, but the malls are usually cheaper than the local shop). The only things we don’t buy this way is milk and vegetables.

  2. February 17, 2009 8:22 am

    I have a little Amish bulk food store where I get all of my grains & baking supplies as well as spices. I get my beans/rice/ other bulk items at my local health food store. I get my Seventh Generation toilet tissue from Amazon.com on a subscription (you get a discount that way).

    We do have a Sam’s Club membership and use it occationally, mostly for our business. They sell batteries and tapes at a great price for us which more than saves us our memebership each year. We’re hoping to go tapeless soon though, at that point we’ll probably cancel our membership. (our club is also about 30 minutes away).

    Everything else we try to buy locally to support our small local businesses. But in rural Ohio that’s probably easier than in a big city.

  3. February 17, 2009 9:05 am

    I have been going back and forth on renewing our warehouse store subscription. I did find it to be a very convenient way to buy canned goods. Things like canned tomatoes and beans are consistently consumed in our house and it’s nice to just buy a flat of them. Yes, there’s plastic over the flat, but that’s the way they are shipped to the grocery store anyway.

  4. February 17, 2009 10:06 am

    On a regular basis we buy soda, granola bars, sugar, gatorade and toilet paper from Costco. Occasionally, I pick up other things like mini muffins or candy.

    I would prefer bulk as in… taking smaller amounts from a large bulk bin. Sadly, this doesn’t seem to exist here.

  5. February 17, 2009 3:29 pm

    We also have a little Amish bulk store about 15 miles away that we visit every few months. We’re starting to get low on oatmeal so I envision a trip in the next week or so. I went with a friend to Sam’s Club once- frankly, I was a little overwhelmed by the size and underwhelmed by the deals. I think most of the things I look for in bulk aren’t that good of a deal there. She got good deals on stuff I never buy. Sigh. The cost of slow food… but I’m OK with that.

  6. Deb permalink
    February 20, 2009 3:11 pm

    The toilet paper rolls are probably individually wrapped to accommodate the businesses that shop in bulk at Costco and need to put the toilet paper in their bathroom stalls. Perhaps they have a different brand that isn’t individually wrapped?

  7. April 19, 2009 5:34 pm

    Очень полезно

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