buying in bulk

Beginners Guide to Buying in Bulk – 3 part series

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THE EVERGREEN PANTRY

Part One: The Right Items

If you ask 10 people "how can I save money on my grocery bill?"  I guarantee at least 8 will tell you “just buy in bulk!"  Yea, that’s good advice - and it’s also pretty useless advice if you take it at face value!  
Buying in bulk will only save you time and money if you are following the "Three R's":

Right items

Right amount

Rotating based on shelf life

I didn't follow the "Three R's" when I first starting building my own pantry many years ago.  The result was several...interesting...meals.
Eventually, I learned that, whether eating for one or feeding a family, there are 21 items that will save time and money to buy in bulk. These items, taken together, are what I call my “evergreen pantry” because, no matter what I’m cooking, or in what quantity, there is always one or more of these I will put to use. And, because they have a long shelf life, they only need to be purchased, in bulk quantities, once every six months.  And that's the first step to really saving money when buying in bulk - select items based on practical use + shelf life.
Maintaining an evergreen pantry has another, equally useful, purpose. Having an evergreen pantry means that you also have an emergency food pantry - without the emergency shopping!
If you live in an area with severe seasonal weather conditions,  you’ve probably experienced the joys of the last minute “stock up on food” run to the grocery store. Long lines, inflated prices, half empty shelves, and wrestling that 80-year-old lady for the last jug of milk.  Personally, I’ve lived through everything from hurricanes in Florida to black ice in Tennessee to blizzards in Chicago.    
I'd much rather be at home munching on freshly baked cookies while everybody else is wrestling over that last jug of milk!  If you have this combination of items on hand, you can actually prepare at least 100 different meals, from breakfast to dinner entrees to desserts to snacks to soup.  If you're wondering how you can bake without eggs - flax seed meal is both a nutritious and delicious substitute for eggs!
These are the "right items" that make up the foundation of a useful pantry store.  Coming up we'll look at best pre-portioning and storage practices and a simple but effective rotation system.  Happy shopping!

12 thoughts on “Beginners Guide to Buying in Bulk – 3 part series

  1. Yes I love this! We buy all of our dry goods in bulk. And recently just discovered buying cocoa powder in bulk will save us soooo much!

  2. This post is really helpful for the families who buy things in stock! Thanks for sharing your experience! 🙂

  3. I live on an island that always has typhoon warnings so we fill up on groceries to stay in. Having this list and knowing these items can help us get by with some snacks and meals is very helpful!

  4. This and your experience seem very helpful for families, which is in my near future. I love the infographic, it’s a great quick reference guide.

  5. LOL! I remember when I first met my husband he thought he was super smart because he was buying in bulk. Until he realized that he was buying a lot of the wrong things in bulk and because of it his money was going to waste as well as food, unfortunately

  6. I’m really bad at the rotating based on shelf life and always over buy. I figure it’s better to have too much than run out of something.

  7. I think we should definitely use your plan when going shopping. It is good for beginners, but we should carry it in our bag every shopping session
    Reaaaally helpful!!! Thank you so much for sharing!

  8. Great advice! It definitely helps to follow the three R’s. Thanks for sharing and creating that lovely infographic ♡

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