Article: Buying in Bulk

By Rachel Paxton

Shoppers have enjoyed the convenience of buying in bulk for a number of years. My own bulk buying experiences have been hit and miss at best, but I recently discovered just how convenient buying in bulk can be.


There are a number of advantages to buying in bulk:

  • some items are available only in bulk
  • you can choose the quantity
  • bulk prices are usually less than packaged prices
  • less packaging
  • less additives and preservatives when you make your own meals and mixes
  • more variety
  • often healthy alternatives not always otherwise available

When you buy in bulk it's a good idea to get your cupboards in order. There are a number of ways you can store bulk items:

  • recycled plastic containers and glass jars
  • Rubbermaid or Ziploc containers (4 4-cup Ziploc containers cost less than $2)
  • resealable bags
  • for some items (e.g. oatmeal) you can re-use the original container

A key to bulk storage is labeling. Make sure all containers are air-tight and clearly labeled and dated. Bulk items have a long shelf life because they have been prepared with long-term storage in mind. For more bulk storage ideas see

I've always wondered if bulk items are as fresh as packaged. In my experience bulk items have been very fresh--even raisins! You'd be amazed at all the things you can buy in bulk. Here's a partial list to get you thinking of the possibilities:


  • flours
  • cornmeal
  • spices
  • chocolate, carob, peanut butter, butterscotch chips
  • raisins
  • sugars


  • granolas
  • oats (regular, quick-cooking)
  • rice (all kinds)
  • cereals (all kinds)

Dried Fruits:

  • pineapple
  • apricots
  • raisins
  • papaya
  • bananas
  • apples
  • cranberries
  • prunes
  • dates


  • split peas
  • navy beans
  • pinto beans
  • kidney beans
  • soy beans
  • soup blends


  • spaghetti
  • lasagna
  • elbow macaroni
  • egg noodles (all shapes and sizes)


  • peanuts
  • sunflower seeds
  • almonds (whole, slivered)
  • walnuts


  • sun-dried tomatoes
  • peppers
Originally published at Suite 101. Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom who is the author of What's for Dinner?, an e-cookbook containing more than 250 quick easy dinner ideas. For information about What's For Dinner go to: What's For Dinner


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