13 grocery items you should buy in bulk to save money

·4 min read
Bulk Buying
Bulk Buying

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Joey Skladany is an In The Know cooking contributor. Follow him on Instagram and visit his website for more.

Between ingredient shortages and supply chain issues, a trip to the grocery store has turned into even more of a headache. Food prices are at an all-time high, and many shelves remain bare as retailers struggle to accommodate customer demands.

For your next trip up and down the aisles, here are 13 foods you should strongly consider buying in bulk. Not only are these more shelf-stable, but your grocery store will likely shave off a few dollars if you purchase them in larger quantities. Plus, you never know if and when they’ll be available again, so it’s always best to plan ahead and jump on the opportunity to buy when they’re in stock.

Dried Beans and Lentils

Though the nutritional value may decline over time, these bad boys can last a whopping 10 years or more if stored in a cool, dry place. And you know what they say about beans: They’re good for your heart. The more you eat, the more you…

Cheese

Many hard cheese varieties see severely discounted prices when bought in larger blocks. This removes the labor costs associated with shredding and grating, which means more cheese for less cheddar.

Frozen Berries 

Brands pick strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and the like to freeze immediately and package. This not only preserves their vitamins and antioxidants but extends their shelf life up to six months. They’re also offered in sizes larger than standard pints and quarts, so you get more bang for your buck. Frozen berries also make a deliciously healthy snack if you’re craving something sweet and cold that isn’t ice cream. Sigh.

Frozen Meat

Meat is still considered a luxury for many families, though it can now be found and purchased in bulk with one trip down the frozen food aisle. From chicken wings and steaks to seafood and plant-based iterations, all you have to do is thaw the appropriate amount in the refrigerator about six to 12 hours before mealtime (depending on the size and thickness) and prepare like you would with anything fresh.

Frozen Vegetables

Like berries, many nutritious vegetables can be flash-frozen upon harvest and defrosted later. Opt for hardier varieties like broccoli and butternut squash so you have less water to drain once the fruit is heated.

Spices

Though not all spices share the same longevity, many can sit pretty in a spice rack or cabinet for years to come. Consider buying your most commonly used varieties like garlic powder, sea salt and black pepper by the pound to save on cost.

Honey 

Artisanal honey can be quite expensive, but the sugary liquid (and tea’s BFF) has impressive longevity and is always cheaper when purchased in excess.

Oats

Oats are already an affordable grocery option, but when bought in 64-ounce canisters (or larger), they’re practically a steal. Just don’t remind Mr. Quaker. Oats will also last up to a year and can be adorably displayed in oversized glass jars.

Oil

Oil, especially olive, is something you’ll likely use every day. Products like these will ultimately save you money in the long run if purchased in bulk, so it’s likely in your best interest to bite the bullet upfront and enjoy the savings as months progress.

Vinegar

Oil’s companion has one of the longest shelf lives on this list. And varieties like apple cider and distilled serve multiple purposes, from cleaning solutions to homemade skin care products.

Dried Fruit

Most dried fruit can be stored for up to a year since it’s already stripped of bacteria-causing moisture. But if you have a hankering for something fresh, apples are your best bet. They last longer than most fruits and can be sold by the bag.

Dried Pasta

Like beans and lentils, your dried pasta can last years in a cool, dry place. Canned tomatoes can as well, so buy each ingredient in bulk and bank on every Sunday night being pasta night (much like Jersey Shore, except without all the hair product and fake tanner).

Peanut Butter

Of all nut butters, peanut will last the longest. Aside from almond, it’s typically the most inexpensive option because it comes in commercial-sized jars that can feed larger families — or those who simply can’t get enough of the spreadable legume and eat it daily. (We harbor zero judgment.)

If you enjoyed this story, check out these essential tips for cleaning different kinds of protein!

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