The best way to stretch your grocery dollar is to use a membership, costing roughly $35 per year to your local wholesale club. By purchasing items you frequently purchase in bulk, you save money over time. This means you can plan your meals around what you have on hand, making your weekly grocery store trips much less hassle.
So, how do you use these wholesale clubs to your advantage? Not all the deals you find at your local club store are money savers, so you should pay close attention to unit prices and compare them to places you usually shop for items in smaller quantities. For instance, toilet paper comes out about the same per roll, so I usually skip buying that item in bulk, simply because I really do not have anywhere to store the extra stock. The trash bags, on the other hand, only cost me about $1 per month, because I buy a box of 300 for $12.00, and I never run risk of running out without knowing it.
The best way to shop at a wholesale club is to purchase your meat and canned vegetables. Sometimes, you can get great deals on rice, pasta, and other side dish items too, so you can stock up on those when prudent, and have a stock up of dinners available. Using a wholesale club is often the best way of shopping for your Once A Month Cooking, too. If you walk into a wholesale club with $100, you will get enough meat and side items for close to, (and maybe even more than) if you are savvy enough, a month’s worth of dinners, and a few other items to use as breakfast and lunch.
For instance, I usually purchase boneless, skinless chicken and ground beef for $1.98 or less per pound, in 7-10 pound packages. At my local club, you can get a pork roast cut for you, so I purchase a roast and get around 26 pork chops, (5-8 pounds) for about $1.75 per pound. With this, I feed a family of three (and the occasional fourth guest) no more than one pound per night. I never spend more than $60 for an entire month’s worth of meat. With the remaining $40, I purchased $20 worth of sides, (vegetables, pre-packaged rice or pastas with seasonings, stove top, etc.) and the remaining $20 of my budget goes to bulk purchase of oatmeal, cereal, and burritos (or something of that sort) for breakfasts and lunches. Averaging $25 a week, I have nearly everything I need for the month. I spend another $25 each week at the discount grocery stores to get my milk, bread, and other items. At $50 per week, I have beaten the suggested guideline of $1 per person per meal by $13/week, and I end up with that as money in the bank.
If this does not convince you, try it yourself, and I bet you will save money. The bigger your family the more you will save by buying in bulk. The annual membership fee will pay for itself in no time!