Monday, February 1, 2010

bulking up at the market

everyone wonders how my budget can stay so low with 4 mouths to feet (three of them boys)... well, I shop bulk (that being grains, rices, beans, etc... not IN bulk, like COSTCO), with a focus on tons of veggies, minimals on meats, and do it all from scratch.
Remember back to when someone once told you to really shop wisely is to shop on the outsides of the markets (staying out of the aisles).... that is what I do~ stay to the outsides of your market. It is in the middle that they have all the prepackaged, pre-made, loaded with preservatives and additives~ not good for you stuff (not to mention much more expensive).
I usually only buy like 1 or 2 things in the aisle ( and only during the winter months).

If you have a grocery store that has bulk bins- that is the way to go. It is not only cheaper- but you buy- just what you need.... decantering them as you get home. I also DO NOT use plastics. NO BAGS AT ALL!!! Some markets weigh your container as you enter and mark it for check out (I have a friend who brings a large bag of mason jars into the markets). What I do is make what I call "bulk bags" with scrap fabrics that I have around (even made some from scrap shirts, and old pj pants) just fold in half, sew up the sides and hem the top. All sizes work- because bulk bins have spices, and every things you can imagine...
I go to the market on Mondays, while shopping for the whole week. I have a list of my "almost" empty containers (this week was kidney beans, white beans, oats and brown rice) and go shopping with all my little bags.

When it comes to veggies- if they are wrapped in plastic- I DO NOT BUY THEM. I put the "naked" produce straight in the cart, or in a grocery canvas sack and I pay for them that way too. I lay them by grouping like foods together in the turn-style. The market knows about my bulk bags that they give me not only a discount for using my own canvas bags... but also a discount for each bulk bag ( yippee and little bonus!) This week I finally got the closest to my budget of spending $70 a week (since my challenge in Nothing New). I still have to cut a few things- but I was only $5 over this week. Here's my little pat on the back ( Pat,Pat,).
a photo of my pantry with nuts, grains, beans and dried fruits- its a mason jar parade.


  1. Brilliant ideas! I need to bulk shop more but I find I just go ONE place a week because a certain loved one of my insists on snacky things for his lunch he takes to work so I dont' usually get to bulk shop much. And I've been neglected my Azure ordering because the pick-up has been such a pain in the bootie time of day. I gotta step up my game!

  2. They are great Tif, fantastic for the planet and look really good too! I'll put a link to this post if that's ok with you?

  3. What a great idea with the bulk bags...I have so much scrap fabric, I think I'm going to make a few today. Thanks for this wonderful post. I'm going to add 'no plastic' to my monthly goal. It's easy, I just have to be mindful of it.

  4. i wish you could spend 1 week here with me and teach me all you know!!!
    i miss you and your boys!


  5. Brilliant, brilliant! I am going to sew me some produce bags this weekend. Very inspirational post as we are continually going over our food budget.

  6. Hmm… I read blogs on a similar topic, but i never visited your blog. I added it to favorites and i’ll be your constant reader. purchase bulk bags online