Feeding My Family // Bulk Shopping

  1. We shop at Costco. And yes we are a “large” a family, but we did even before we had kids. The list of what I buy there now is lengthier, but I have found there are certain things I like to purchase in bulk, specifically related to food.

I do know that not everything purchased in bulk actually saves you money. But there is also the matter of convenience. With all the kids in tow shopping can be challenging. I love the Costco carts have two seats upfront, and I won’t have to shop as frequently.  You are probably wondering if I shop with all the kids, and the answer is that most frequently I do. Sometimes I get lucky and shop all the two big kids are in preschool but most times I have all four. This means I wear the baby in a carrier, Corban and Camp or sit in the cart, and Cashel walks. This is been a long time coming  as we had to practice this to be able to do it well.  I do have a few tips for bulk shopping I’ll share with you today.

We are five ring circus in Costco,  you feel worse for me than I do for myself, and yes I could use your help if one of them is running away. I rarely go there without having some stranger help me, another ask me about my children and their ages, someone will compliment them,  and several say to me, “wow you are busy.”

Here are my tips…

–  practice

If you are going to be doing this a lot with your children, practice. Do shorter trips and then move towards longer ones. There are definitely rewards for good behavior, and consequences for not obeying, pestering your brother, walking away, and other crazy behavior.

–  rotate rotate rotate

What I mean by this is that in one trip I’ll buy canned corn and the next canned beans, by rotating I regularly don’t run out and also split up the cost of my goods. I hear a lot of people say they can’t afford to shop in bulk because 10 cans of corn and a 10 cans of beans adds up quickly. But when I rotate I save on costs and it’s convenient.  I do this with the snack/protein bars for the kids as well. My kids like two different kinds so I rotate which ones I buy.  I also do this with a lot of other things including pull-ups and diapers, toilet paper and paper towels.

–  don’t shop at the lunch hour.

This is typically when they have the bulk of their samples out, and actually when we frequently shop. But if you are hungry and the samples are out, I guarantee you’ll fall prey to buying things you don’t need. Today I ended up with three things in my cart based on samples. However, that’s what I was going for. I am so glad I was shopping today during that time because I’ve been wanting to try those “Kodiak Cakes” protein flapjacks and they had them available to sample along with some yummy superfood berry syrup.  I have all three kids try things and will purchase something if two or three of them like it. (how I ended up with Indian Madras lentils today)

–  experiment

I know which produce items I can purchase, and eat through. I also know which produce items I can purchase and even if we don’t finish it, and the leftovers go to the chickens, I still have saved money.   Compare prices, try to buy things that you will finish before they go bad, and experiment with this because you might be surprised.

–  grab lunch on site

I use the churros as a reward for my kids, $1 churro split in thirds, goes a long way. And the lunch prices just can’t be beat. Plus after a long shop it’s a good break before you have to then load the car, unload the car, dispose of the cardboard, and portion things out once you get home.  No wonder I’m tired tonight.

–  organize and portion out

We have a drawer in the fridge, and a shelf in the pantry  where I organize things that are good for the kids. They come out of the box, into convenient storage tubs and are easy grab and go items. This makes packing snacks, picnic lunches, or breakfast on the go a whole lot easier. I also portion out fruit and spinach for smoothies to freeze. If there was meat purchased, which is rare at Costco just because we can’t afford to purchase me like that, I will also portion that out too and freeze.

Here’s a list of staples I purchase at Costco:

If they are on the same line I rotate between those items.

  •  Frozen chicken breasts
  •  Berries **
  •  Avocados
  • Lettuce-spinach- Power greens
  •  Bananas **
  •  Onions-garlic
  •  Artichokes
  •  Milk **
  •  Coffee creamer- half-and-half
  • oikos  yogurt-gogurts
  •  Apples-kiwi-Mandarin oranges
  • baby carrots
  • celery
  •  Kirkland granola bars-and Z bars **
  •  Applesauce pouches **
  • apple sauce cups
  •  Baby/smoothie pouches
  •  Pretzel crisps-pirate booty
  •  Canned corn-canned green beans-canned black beans
  •  Fisher scones-ghiradelli brownies
  •  Macaroni and cheese
  •  Potatoes-sweet potatoes
  •  Buttermilk pancake mix-Kodiak cakes power cakes mix
  • syrup
  • soy sauce
  • peanut butter
  • popcorn
  • tuna
  •  Gatorade-diet Pepsi **
  •  Angry orchard hard cider **
  •  Tortillas ( The kind you bake in a frypan) –  individual naan bread
  •  Shredded cheese (Colby jack/cheddar blend so I can use it indiscriminately in my cooking)
  • dave’s killer bread – buttermilk white bread (my guilty pleasure!)

I rotate wipes, diapers, pull-ups.

I rotate paper towels and toilet paper.

I rotate dog food and cat food.

** I don’t buy all these things every single time. But there are a handful of those things that I do buy each time I am there,  or I buy one thing on that line each time. Because yes we go through them that fast,  or close to it . **

What are your favorite things to buy at Costco?

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