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Food 5 Items to Buy in Bulk (and 4 That Aren’t Worth It)

21:10  22 january  2018
21:10  22 january  2018 Source:   tasteofhome.com

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girl makes a purchase at the grocery hypermarket© Photo: Shutterstock / Goncharov_Artem girl makes a purchase at the grocery hypermarket

Buying ingredients in bulk and opting for the dual-package of peanut butter at Costco instead of the puny jar from the grocery store can save you money, but it may end up costing you more.

The trick is always to price shop (calculate the per-ounce price at each store to see which is in fact cheaper)—and be sure you can finish what you bought before the expiration date. Leaving a store with 96 ounces of peanut butter is a win in our book, but since the average shelf life of PB in an open jar is two to three months, you'd be dumping hard-earned cash down the drain if you have to toss it.

These Costco Shopping Tips Will Save You Tons of Money

  These Costco Shopping Tips Will Save You Tons of Money Get ready to save BIG at this popular wholesale store.Costco can be a magical dreamland when it comes to deals, but only if you know where to look for them. Although buying in bulk at a store like Costco does save you money, there are still many tricks to learn that will save you more. Especially when it comes to the pricey items—like meat or even alcohol.

To help you avoid the guilt of wasting food and money (plus a huge stomachache eating all that peanut butter yourself), we consulted a money-saving wizard who shares her tried-and-true secrets of bulk buying.

Annette Economides, along with her husband, Steve, and five children, are known as America's MoneySmart Family. Leading an extremely frugal (and fulfilling) life, they've managed to accomplish impressive goals, such as paying off their first home in nine years on an annual income of approximately $35,000. Here are some of the ways she uses bulk buying (and buying in smaller amounts) to shave hundreds of dollars off her monthly grocery bill.

What You Should Buy in Bulk

Rolled oats

You can find the best prices on rolled oats in the bulk-bin aisles, Economides says. Bring in your own jar or bag to fill. In my local supermarket in NYC, the price difference between bulk oats and prepackaged oats in a canister is nearly 80 cents per pound.

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  What to Buy & What to Skip at Whole Foods What to Buy & What to Skip at Whole FoodsBut if you're shopping smart, there's no reason to fear. You can actually find some great deals at Whole Foods, making it worth the extra stop on grocery day. For other things, though, it's best to stick to your usual store or risk overpaying.

Pro Tip: To limit food waste, consider how long it usually takes you to finish something and compare against its shelf life.

Cheese

Generally, I'd avoid buying a huge block of cheddar at Costco that I couldn't fathom finishing. That is, until I learned that cheese freezes well. Economides buys a 5-pound bag of cheese from restaurant-supply chain Smart & Final (with many locations in the West), avoiding membership fees at a warehouse store. When she gets home, she opens up the bag and separates the cheese into zippered plastic bags to store in the freezer, then defrosts a pack when she needs it. Cheese lasts up to two months in the freezer.

Rice

Not only is rice cheaper in bigger quantity bags and from bulk bins, but many varieties of hulled rice (white, Arborio, jasmine, basmati) as well as wild rice have an indefinite shelf life—meaning they'll last a long time. Store the rice properly in a cool, dry place to prolong shelf life. Use a plastic or airtight container to keep moisture out.

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Dry beans

Dry beans can last up to two years if stored in a cool, dark and dry area. Load up on packages of black beans and lentils the next time they hit rock-bottom prices.

Pro Tip: While you're shopping at different stores, it's immensely helpful to track prices. This will give you have a general idea of what can't-beat prices for specific items look like in your area. Next time a buy-10-for-$10 sale rolls around, you'll know if it's a deal or gimmick. Create a lowest price list so you can stock up on items when they hit their bottom prices. Also keep track of frequently used items such as milk, canned tomatoes and natural cleaning products.

Meat

"The biggest thing about buying in bulk is you need to have freezer space. It's the No. 1 kitchen tool that will save you money, because you can take advantage of seasonal sales," Economides says. When items hit their lowest prices, she loads up. Turkey prices plunge every year right before Thanksgiving, so her family gets three or four to roast throughout the winter. "Having a freezer allows you to stock up on meat when it's at its rock-bottom prices," she says. (Fresh poultry can last up to a year in the freezer, according to FoodSafety.gov.)

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Check out her straight-up genius strategy to save a shocking amount of money on lunch meat. Invest in a meat slicer, which can range from $30 to $200, and start buying 10-pound chubs of meat to slice yourself. "If you go to the service deli, you're going to buy between $6 and $9 a pound. If you go to the refrigerator case where the precut and packaged brands are, you're going to spend anywhere from $4 to $7 a pound. If you buy a big chub, you will spend less. We can buy lean turkey at Smart & Final; we pay $2.50 a pound," she says. After slicing, Economides separates a pound of sliced turkey into zippered plastic bags and freezes them for up to two months.

Buying an inexpensive food scale is helpful, too, if you're buying in bulk and dividing to store.

What You Should Buy in Smaller Quantities

Brown rice and other whole grains

Because they're higher in oils than processed grains, brown rice and other whole grains will go bad quicker. Brown rice has a short shelf life of six months on the shelf and up to a year when stored in the refrigerator. Unless you can finish a 12-pound bag within that time frame, stick to smaller quantities to avoid waste. To use up the brown rice you have, try our orange beef lettuce wraps.

Oils

You may be tempted to pick up a 3-liter jug of extra-virgin olive oil because you (a) use it on absolutely everything and (b) want to avoid picking up a new bottle every month. But trust the experts—it's a bad idea. Oil goes rancid so very easily. An open container of olive oil lasts two to three years (though purists will say six months). It's one year for an open bottle of vegetable oil and about six months for sesame oil.

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  This New Grocery Store Has An Aisle That's Entirely Plastic-Free This week, a new location of the Ekoplaza grocery chain opened its doors in Amsterdam. It's a pretty standard supermarket except that is has one totally new feature.Of course, the idea of limited-waste grocery stores isn't completely new. There are options to shop at farmers' markets and co-ops, where you can take home your food purchases in your own re-usable containers and bulk bags. Other local grocery stores like The Fillery in Brooklyn, NY; In.gredients in Austin,TX; and The Zero Market in Aurora, CO sell grains, oils, and dairy, and household goods in bulk.

Pro Tip: For the best deals, always consider the price-per-unit. Say you're comparing a 2-ounce bottle of vanilla extract at the grocery store, which sells for $6, and 16-ounce bottle from a warehouse club at $10. The price per ounce of the smaller bottle is $3, while the latter is 63 cents.

Nut butters

Consider your "burn rate," or how long it takes you to finish a food, before buying a huge amount of it, Economides says. The optimal shelf life for processed nut butters is typically one year after its manufacturing date, and that's when still sealed. It's even shorter for natural nut butters.

Cereal

It's likely you'll find better deals on regular-size cereal boxes. "I don't buy in bulk because the average boxes will go on sale, and if you match them with a coupon it's a better price," Economides says. Search for digital and paperless coupons online before you go. Within minutes, I found dollar-off coupons for my favorite cereal brands on the websites for Target, Shoprite and Walgreens. Score!

One final note: Make sure you have adequate storage space before bulk buying. You'd be surprised how much space six months' worth of toilet paper takes up.

Happy deal hunting!

Related Gallery: 10 of the Best Costco Family Meals For When You Just Don't Want to Cook (Provided by PopSugar) 10 of the Best Costco Family Meals For When You Just Don't Want to Cook: <p>When you get home at the end of a busy day, sometimes the last thing you want to do is <span href=whip up a big, elaborate meal for your family (who has the time or energy for that?!). But Costco, that heavenly store that truly just gets you, has some excellent options to help with dinnertime mayhem. By offering a wide variety of easy-to-make meals (in bulk), you can satisfy your family's hunger while also relaxing until you hear that timer go off. Keep reading for 10 delicious Costco options to help make your family dinners quick and effortless.

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Bulk caffeine can kill people, FDA says .
Just a teaspoon can deliver a lethal dose of caffeine Bulk caffeine products may have killed at least two people and they don't belong on the market, the Food and Drug Administration said Friday.The FDA declared concentrated, bulk caffeine products illegal and said it would act to get them off the shelves."These products present a significant public health threat because of the high risk that they will be erroneously used at excessive, potentially dangerous doses," the FDA said in a statement.

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