The good news is you can save money by buying food in bulk, but only if you do it right. Unless you have got an enormous household, you won’t use up bulk food purchases quickly, so you need to be savvy about storing, freezing and preserving food.
The basic rule
It is only a money saver if you are going to be able to store the food and use it all. However, you can save as much as 50% by bulk buying carefully.
Dos and Don’ts
1) Try starting with something with a long shelf life, like tinned or packet food
2) Great savings are found by buying food seasonally when prices are at their lowest, then freezing or preserving it
3) Always label everything carefully with what it is and the use by date
4) Don’t buy in bulk unless you have time to prepare it and space to store it
5) Never buy something in bulk that you don’t especially like, or you will end up really hating it
6) Never refreeze anything that has been frozen and defrosted previously.
The first option is to store food in its original packaging in a cardboard box in a cool, dry, frost-free place. This works well for non-perishables such as tins and packets, and will enable you to use them up to their use by date. It is a good idea to label the outside of each box with the item name and use by date. You can also collect up any tasty looking recipes that use these ingredients and pin them to the box for inspiration.
The second option is to freeze food in a chest freezer or upright freezer (not a freezer box in a fridge).
Most chilled food labels show whether or not they are suitable for freezing and for how long. It is helpful to write the new use by date in marker pen on the outside of the packaging. If each packet size is too large for you to use in one go, split it into more suitable portion sizes before freezing.
Some fruit and vegetables with lower water content freeze well, such as peas or blackberries, but cucumber and strawberries aren’t as successful. Most vegetables need to be blanched by boiling quickly and then chilling in iced water before freezing in portion sizes.
Other foods can be cooked and frozen, and you can find suitable recipes for many fish and meat products. It is a good idea to copy the recipe and stick it to the freezer package so you know how to use it later.
This is a means of keeping perishables such as fruit and vegetables by making them into jams, marmalades, pickles or chutneys. This gives a long storage life if you are careful about sterilising jars before using them, labelling everything and storing them properly in a cool dry place.
Hopefully these ideas will inspire you to trying bulk buying, and saving money.