Whens the last time you went to the grocery store and had a plan that wasn’t feasible? You know…go there, have a list, and then none of the things you want are on sale so it’s going to cost you a fortune? Because, same. The biggest issue with small grocery stores I have is the price of meat. It’s always like $8-$9/lb for organic chicken breast that will last you like 1 and a half lunches…not worth it. So then we opt for grain-fed or bottom shelf which is less than ideal for our health. This is why I personally do a bulk shopping trip once a month and stock up.
I am NOT a lover of grocery shopping like some people. Don’t get me wrong I can get lost in Whole Foods staring and labels and finding fun new foods…but then it costs me a fortune and I lost an hour of my life. I also HATE bulk food stores with a burning passion. Half because it pains me to see everyones carts filled with chips, muffins, pop etc but also because they are so busy. Like, wait in line for 20 minutes after spending an hour playing cart tetris down the isles. Again, a less than ideal way to spend my time. So, I opt for grocery delivery once a week (saves money) and a bulk trip once a month!
I thought I would share with you how I do these trips and exactly what we get so you get some kind of idea. Like I said, everything we get is usually in bulk so it is cheaper than buying it per meal at the local grocery. There are definitely other frozen foods you can add to your list to save even more money, we just opt to buy those fresh from week to week because we like to change it up.
Bulk Grocery Haul
Like I always talk about, it is important to always have a variety of foods in your cart, as well as each macronutrient. Having a few different sources of protein, carbs and fats that you can throw together to make different meals is what will allow you to be successful and not feel like you are depriving yourself!
Also remember, if you are looking for some snacks to have in the house (for you or kids) check your ingredients! Below you will see from the front of the package that it seems like it is going to be a great option, but then you flip it over and the ingredient list is a mile long! Yes, there are a lot of great things in it…but also a lot of crappy fillers you don’t need! There are definitely better options.
Here are the items we tend to pick up when bulk grocery shopping, to save money and to have a fully stocked freezer at all times! You’ll notice here that most of what we get is…protein.
• Chicken breasts – we stock up on these at Sams because we can get a 10lb bag for $19. So we usually get 2-3 bags and then I always grab a bag of individually packaged ones in case we need a little extra during the week we can throw it in the sink to thaw quickly!
• Egg whites – again, much cheaper here! Regular grocery stores sell these little cartons for like $3 whereas this whole box of 6 cartons is $9!
• Eggs – this is one place we are still struggling to go organic/cage free. I understand it is important to eat humanly raised meats and eggs (because what they eat, we eat) but for the amount of eggs we consume…$5 for 12 just isn’t feasible for us right now. And I am okay with winning some parts of healthy and losing at others. So whenever we are at Sams we grab this double carton of 18 for $3. Because a dozen organic, cage free, grass fed at the regular store is about $5.
• Grass Fed Beef – can’t go wrong with 3lbs for $18! Yes, grass fed is more expensive – but worth it to me at this point in my health journey (learn more about hormonal birth control and it’s effects here) and with my budget!
• Ribs/Steak/Lamb – we always try to buy 1 different item each time to fill the freezer! This gives us a different dinner option each week, and then we don’t get sick of it! This week we opted for some BBQ ribs in the crockpot – and we are literally going to be eating them every meal for a month I feel….
• Turkey Bacon – ya’ll know I eat it everyday for breakfast, so I stock up! This package lasts me a month (2 pieces a day) for only $9. At the grocery store, the package lasts like 3 days and you pay $5 for it!
• Breakfast Sausage – Taylor opts for breakfast sausage everyday, so get it in bulk! There are a ton of different flavors at Sams, so there is never an issue of getting sick of it. This time we went with the smoked sausage because we can also just throw them on the grill and add them to dinner! This whole package of 30 costed $14, WIN!
• Fish/Shrimp – each time we also grab a different source of seafood. We usually make tacos with it, but the shrimp is for some easy rice and kale bowls for the nights we are both working late. Planning for the future is what makes it easier from day to day! This 3lb bag was $13, the local grocery store or Trader Joe’s has 1lb bags for about $8.
• Rotisserie Chicken – not always something we grab, but it does make things convenient! We always make the mistake of grocery shopping after the gym, which means we are starving! So instead of buying extra groceries or pre-made lunch, we grab one of these and pair it with some rice or over a salad! Was the perfect option for us that lasted us the whole weekend – yay for $5 meal prep!
• Veggies – this go around all I grabbed was this huge tub of organic spinach! I add this to my breakfast for some greens, but also use it for side salads and things too! This carton was $5, and the regular grocery store sells half the amount for that price. It does go bad fast, so you have be someone who eats it quick, or freezes some for smoothies! You can also grab any other veggies you tend to frequently get, things like asparagus, romaine, brussel sprouts etc.
• Fruit – Sams has a decent selection of fruits and when I know I want a lot of one thing, it’s obviously the perfect place. I went with some cherry plums (wanted cherries but this was fine) and blueberries! I like to have fruit on hand to just quickly grab when I am either craving something sweet, or just super hot!
• Jasmine Rice – This is the type of rice we eat regularly! Brown rice doesn’t sit well with me, so I opt for white if I am going to eat it! You can get a huge bag at Sams for super cheap and usually doesn’t have anything added to it like Minute rice does!
• Nuts/Seeds – great place to stock up on these when you can find them! The grocery store sells them for like $8/lb and this 2lb bag was $13.
• Oils/Sprays – it’s not secret that olive oil is expensive! So buying in bulk is a great use of your budget! Just make sure you are ONLY using things like olive oil and avocado oil, because vegetable and canola are terrible for you. Check out this blog to learn why!
• Almond/nut butter – this stuff is expensive, I know. But at Sams a big jar is like $8 whereas a small one in the grocery story is like $10. Just make sure to check the ingredients so it is only “almonds” or “peanuts” and doesn’t have any sugar, palm oil, etc.
• Water – we usually grab a case of water when we are there for emergencies. Gives us the option to just grab one when we head on walks and to the gym. Plus, now that we have recycling I don’t feel as guilty. 40 waters for $3 is a no brainer, but please recycle them!
• Coffee – a huge money saver! We have a Keurig we use because I am the only one who drinks it at home during the week and I only have 1 cup. On the weekends we usually use our french press. But, at the store a box of 12 K cups is like $10, where as this box of 54 is only $22!
Must Have Grocery Items
There are definitely more items you can buy in bulk to save money, especially if you have a whole family to feed! A few things I would consider adding to the list…
• Milk/Cheese – a lot of families go through a lot of this (I think we used to drink a few gallons a week) so stock up!
• Frozen veggies – if you don’t have room in your fridge for fresh ones, frozen is a great option! These you can buy in bulk and pull them out whenever you need them! Perfect for stir frys.
• Protein bars – there are a ton of options at Sams, including RX bars?! Whenever you need an on the go snack, or maybe something quick to throw in a diaper bag, these are great! A big box can definitely save you money over buying them individually.
• Laundry/Cleaning/Storage – also great to buy at Sams to save money! Cleaning supplies (and yes, they are getting cleaner options), laundry detergent, wraps/baggies, toilet paper/paper towel, all money savers in bulk!
So you’ll notice that even I am not perfect. I don’t eat everything organic, grass fed like I should..but I do the best I can with what I have. You have to remember that it isn’t all your nothing. Buy bulk when you can to save some money, buy frozen if you can’t get it fresh, and only opt for organic if you know it is in your budget. If buying everything fresh, natural and organic is only going to last 2 months before you won’t be able to maintain it…then don’t do it! Set yourself up so you have the healthy habits down first – then you can worry about getting more in-depth with chemicals, hormones and other food industry issues!
I highly recommend paying the membership fee and joining a bulk store like Sams or Costco! It really will save you a bunch of money, and will allow you to have a bunch of good food stoked up for those times that you are in a rush and don’t have a meal plan..