The Incredible Bulk (Store)

I’m in love with the bulk food store. Yep, you heard it here first! In love!

This isn’t a new crush. I’ve been having a love affair with one bulk store or another for many years.Have you felt the love?

If you haven’t discovered buying at bulk stores, let me tell you why I think they’re terrific. Like to cook at home, like I do? If so, no doubt you have a well stocked pantry with lots of baking ingredients and spices. You’ll  know some ingredients for that special dish can be pricey. Ever buy slivered almonds? They’re not usually at bargain basement prices, so you want to buy how many you need without wasting some.

Need a cup and a half of something? You can buy exactly that at the bulk store. Why pay for more than you need if you don’t use it very often? When I make fruit cake over the holidays, we need gobs of golden raisins and slivered almonds. I take a measuring cup with me, and I get exactly what I need. No waste!

The big bonus of the bulk store is price. For years I have purchased my spices at a bulk store, and used my own reusable containers. I am always amazed at how affordable it is. See that little jar of oregano leaves in the picture above? It cost under .75 to fill it up. Check out what you’ll pay for a jar or a sachet of oregano leaves at the grocery store. I assure you you’ll pay at least three times as much, perhaps more.

I take my spice jars to the bulk store, and fill them up there. I get no more than I need, and I pay for exactly the quantity I want. My bulk store provides outstanding customer service. They’ll measure the tare weight of my container before I fill it up. I try and be helpful by taping a scrap piece of paper on each container to give them something to write on. Then I go and fill up my jars. The staff weighs the jar, and then subtracts the tare weight. Bottom-line: I get a bargain, the environment gets less containers and plastic. Everybody’s happy.

Over Easter, the girls made some sugar cookies and decorated them.  The chocolate sprinkles were depleted by the time they were finished.  I took the empty store container, and went through this same process, and just filled it up at the bulk store. I paid .48 for that entire jar of chocolate sprinkles.  Bought sprinkles lately? You know that they’re four or five times as much at the grocery store. Why don’t more people shop at bulk stores?

Finally, I’ve just converted my oatmeal buying habits to bulk as well.  My old stand-by, Quaker Oats, is about 1.22/lb when I buy this 1 kg package. When I buy it at the bulk store, it’s .79/lb. That’s about 40% less! Sorry Quaker Oats, but I’m leaving you for bulk oats. I’m a huge oatmeal fan. I have oatmeal for breakfast at least four times a week, and I use it in baking a lot.

With oatmeal, I don’t fill up my own container, I fill up one of their bags. I go through enough of it that I just keep filling up my old recycled spaghetti sauce jar in the cupboard to have it handy, and store the remainder elsewhere.

Despite an increase in home insurance, and a killer bill at the pharmacy this month, I thought it was time to tip my hat to one of my favourite money saving helpers – the incredible bulk!

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