Food. We love it. We need it. And it is the biggest flexible expense for most families. Buying your groceries in bulk is a fantastic way to save money.
I love bulk shopping. I love the shop once, pack it all away once, then relax for a month or three or twelve. Yes, some things I buy in bulk monthly, others I buy in bulk quarterly (think meat and chicken and some frozen products) and others I only buy once a year (wrapping paper, cards, dishwashing liquid, dishwasher powder, borax, washing soda, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant etc. when they come on sale).
If you have never shopped and bought your groceries in bulk quantities before, these tips will help you decide if it's for you and make it that much easier.
Getting started Buying in bulk is a great way to save money, time and energy. But beware - only buy what you know you'll use, and within a reasonable period of time. If the family doesn't like brown rice and you won't use it in a month of Sundays, it's not a bargain no matter how cheap it is!
If you are a bulk buying beginner try switching from weekly shopping to monthly for a couple of months. Work out your average weekly shopping list and multiply by four. Go to the shops once and through the month make a note of what you run out of or don’t use up. This will give you the feel of bulk buying and a really good idea of exactly how much you really use of each item.
What to buy in bulk Great things to buy in bulk include items that you buy every week and that you always keep in stock. Canned goods, baking supplies, dry goods, frozen foods, toilet paper, toiletries and cleaning products are all a good choice. Most non-perishable items are perfect for bulk buying.
Fruit, vegetables and meat are often much cheaper in bulk but they do have a limited shelf life. Perishables should only be bought in bulk if you can use them up, share them or preserver them (either dehydrating, freezing or bottling) before they go off.
The same rule applies to non-perishables too. If you only use one tin of smoked oysters a year, buying a case isn't really saving you any money, even if they are half price. You are better off putting that money towards the bulk purchase of something you use regularly to take full advantage of the saving.
Where do I keep it all? If you are serious about bulk buying, you will need to set up a 'store'. This can be a cupboard in the house, or some shelves in the garage. Preferably it will be somewhere dry, relatively dark and cool. You can utilize the space under beds, behind furniture, even the dryer can be used to store things (don’t forget to take them out before you use it).
Name it and rotate it A key to bulk storage is labelling. Make sure all containers are air-tight and clearly labelled and dated. Bulk goods generally have a long shelf life because they have been prepared with long-term storage in mind.
Always rotate your stock so you are using the oldest first. A good rule is to always put new stock at the back of the shelf or bottom of the pile. Storing food this way ensures you won’t have to worry about wastage because food has deteriorated.
Shared from Debt Free, Cashed Up and Laughing
I know my children are well and truly grown up, but this cloud dough is so much fun we've all been having a little play with the batch I made to see if it works. Cloud dough is mouldable, just like playdough, but it feels like flour and you can run your fingers through it and it will be soft and silky.
The kids (big and little) that played with this batch had a ball drizzling it through their fingers then making shapes with it. The boys even had a cloud dough castle competition!
Best of all, unlike play dough, if you forget to put the lid on the container it doesn't dry out!
Cloud DoughYou will need:
1kg plain flour
1 cup of baby oil
Put the flour and baby oil in a large container. I used a four litre ice cream container to mix in so that it could also be the storage container. Mix the flour and baby oil together with your hands until the dough will hold a shape when you squeeze or pack it together. This will take a long time - about 5 minutes so don't give up. Just keep on mixing and squeezing.
This dough uses baby oil so make sure your littlies aren't tempted to eat it. Baby oil is used in this recipe because food grade oils tend to go rancid - eww! If you want to use a food grade oil go ahead, just remember that you'll need to store your cloud dough in the fridge and it will only keep for about a week before you'll need to make a new batch.
You can colour your cloud dough. The easiest way to do this is to either add liquid food colour to the baby oil before you mix it into the flour or if you have them, add powdered food colouring to the flour before you add the baby oil.
I found the easiest (for clean-up anyway) way to play with cloud dough was to put it into a 7 litre tub so it didn't spill over the sides. Or just take it outside. Or put down a plastic tablecloth. I had dozens when my kids were little - they saved the furniture and the floors and made cleaning up messy play a breeze. You can find plastic tablecloths at $2 shops and every home with littlies should have at least one for messy play.