I'm a bulk shopper, when it makes sense. I have a list of what I consider to be staples - items I know I am going to use regularly and for the forseeable future. I store the list in a spreadsheet on a cloud (Google Drive). For each I record a "trigger price" which I've set below - usually far below - the prevailing retail price. When I see something on the list for sale below the trigger price, I buy as much as I can get away with. Below are some of the items on the list:

Amonia
Bananas
Bar Soap
Bleach
Borax
Bread Thins
Buckshot
Cigars
Diet Coke W/ Splenda
Granola Bars
Ham
Instant Mac
Isopropyl Alchohol
Laundry Soda
Old Spice After Hours Body Spray
Old Spice After Hours Body Wash
Old Spice After Hours Deodorant
Splenda
Sugar
Hummus
Bread
Cheese
Fiber Pills
Multi Vitamins
CQ10
Coffee
Cat Litter
Cat Food
5.56
30-06
40 handgun
9mm handgun
Washing Soda
Dental Floss
Mouthwash
Nasal Strips
Lubriderm
Deodorant
cashews
pecans

I highlight the items red, yellow or green to reflect the status of my stores.

The list is far from complete, I know there's lots of stuff I'm not capturing. 

SO, my questions for the forum are:

  • Do you bulk shop?
  • What system do you use?
  • What items do you maintain an inventory of?
  • What websites or sources do you use to score low prices?

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Yes.  Although not quite to the extent that the OP does.  I've found that some of the items on the OPs list aren't amenable to unrestrained bulk purchasing -- and you really do have to watch those expiration dates!

One other thing I've found you have to watch is avoid making a bulk purchase of something new that looks attractive at CostCo or Sam's Club...That can quickly turn into a series of arguments and a few months later, an over-stuffed garbage can.

I go back to some old bulk buying advice, dating back to the 1970s.

1. If you go long on canned tuna, you also need to go long on mayonaisse. -Financial planning book, which also advised going long on peanut butter.

2. "There are two things this house is never to run out of, beer and terlet paper." - Archie Bunker

Interesting.  One thing it reminds me of is how much stuff we seem to need!

Clever enough inventory system.  I like it.  Hadn't thought of adding ammo to the list, either.  You've clearly thought this through a lot more than I have.  In fairness, my wife's the household inventory-taker and grocery shopper.

 

We try to run to Sam's once a quarter to buy crap like that.  Stuff that we use a lot of, and doesn't go bad.  I'll also occasionally just buy a hind-quarter or something to stock up on beef.


How do you buy bananas in bulk?  Do you freeze 'em or something?  And, how do you know when the 'trigger price' is tripped?  Just when you happen to see it on sale, or what?


JB

If you buy the bananas green right off the truck and keep them in a cool place, they can keep for a decent amount of time. Otherwise, if they're for baking / cooking, you certainly can freeze them. 

I was just curious, because I would've put bananas on a list of perishables that you absolutely ought not buy more than a two-week supply of.  The wife and kids like to eat 'em while they're still green. 

 

I actually don't like bananas, so we don't cook with 'em much ...

 

 

JB

As far as the trigger price goes, I pretty much know them all, and when I go to a store I run through and glance at the prices of each of them. If it's lower than the trigger, I either buy it, or adjust the price down. I keep the per-unit trigger price in a column on the spreadsheet, and the name and date of the store the price was observed in two other columns. Again, that sounds like a lot of work, but if you're spreadsheet savvy you can do it on your mobile phone by simply cutting and pasting frequently used store names, and creating a self-populating cell for the date. 

Say I go to Aldis, or Costco, or wherever - I filter the spreadsheet to that store, then filter by the color red, and I have a list of everything that's cheapest at that store and that I need to buy.

"pretty much know them all" is also a certain kind of intelligence.  If this works for you and anyone reading this, great, but it's definitely a YMMV thing.

eh. You look at a price 30 times, you know it

For whatever it's worth, you could probably drive the price of hummus down even further if you just made it yourself. Chick peas in bulk are cheap, tahineh / tahineh in bulk is cheap, etc, etc. You got a blender? You got hummus.

There's a time expense in making fresh.  Also, without preservatives it doesn't keep.

hmmm is canned hummus possible? hmmmm

I've seen canned imported hummus.

Yep. Canned dolmades, too.

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