Just how much money can you save by shopping in the bulk bins? I did price comparisons for 32 common items in the bulk aisles. I knew there would be a price difference, but the amount of savings surprised me!
The following chart compares 32 items from the bulk bins to the same items on the grocery store shelves. I've compared the bulk price to both the store brand price and the name brand price. To make sure comparisons were exactly the same, price is listed by weight.
Wow! I was not expecting almost $50 in savings! Let's breakdown the info in the chart, to really understand how to save the most money when shopping in the bulk bins.
- Buying the name brand version of an item is always going to cost you more. And most of the time, significantly more than the bulk bin price. 65% of the name brand items were at least $1.10 more than there bulk bin counterpart.
Some would argue that the name brand items are higher quality than bulk bin items. This may be true for some ingredients, but I would argue for the most part the products are very similar. For example, long-grain white rice (a product that is very standard across brands) is $1.27 more on the shelves.
- Surprisingly, there are a few store brand items that are lower in cost than the bulk price. These items have their cost highlighted in red in the chart. They all seem to be what you might consider "pantry staples," like flour, chocolate chips and spaghetti noodles.
- Spices are one of the areas that you can save the most money. Take a look at Parsley. A .5 oz container of Parsley costs $2.94 if you buy it off the shelf. That same amount only costs 21 cents if you buy it from the bulk bins! Sesame Seeds have an even greater difference: $4.21 vs 27 cents.
- Savings are also greatest on "specialty items." For example, cake flour on the shelves is $2.68, while only .80 cents in the bulk bins. Flax seed and quinoa are also significantly marked up on the shelves. It's also worth noting that these items are not sold under a store brand label. So it's either pay for the significantly more expensive name brand or buy in the bulk bins.
The Take Away
If you are looking to cut down your grocery bill, shopping in the bulk bins is a great way to do it. Savings can be found with almost all the ingredients, but the greatest savings come from buying bulk spices and specialty items.
Saving money isn't the only reason to shop the bulk bins, however. It's also great for your health and the environment! Let me know which items you always buy in the bulk bins!