- Buying most of my produce at Costco saves me over $100 a month.
- While bulk-buying fruits and vegetables makes sense for my family, it may not make sense for everyone.
In the course of a year, that goes a long way.
I don't always do the best job of putting food on the table for my family. Sometimes, when work gets busy, I'll fall back on takeout. Other times, when I don't have the patience to deal with my kids' pickiness, I'll let them eat frozen pizza or instant macaroni and cheese.
That said, one thing I am very good about is loading our fridge with fruits and vegetables. My kids all eat a nice variety of fruits and vegetables, and many of the meals I cook for myself are plant-based. As such, we tend to have pretty high grocery bills, because it costs a lot of money to procure a steady supply of produce for a family of five.
Thankfully, I have a membership to Costco and shop there about once a week. And doing so saves me roughly $1,500 a year on produce alone.
The upside of buying produce in bulk
There's a clear danger to buying produce in bulk -- not getting to use it in time before it goes bad. But because my family goes through fruits and vegetables pretty quickly, that's not a concern for us.
Neither is storage space. Not only do I have my regular fridge in my kitchen, but I also have a full-sized spare fridge in my basement. That allows me to store mass quantities of fruits and vegetables, even during weeks when I happen to have a lot of leftovers.
It's for these reasons that buying produce in bulk makes sense for my family. And it saves us a lot of money.
Case in point: A Costco-sized carton of strawberries usually costs me $6. The same amount of strawberries at a regular supermarket would easily cost me $9 or $10.
All told, I probably save $3 to $4 per produce item I buy at Costco over a regular grocery store. And since I typically buy five or six varieties of fruit and three or four varieties of vegetables, I end up saving about $30 a week. Multiply that by 50 weeks a year, and we're talking savings of $1,500. That's roughly the equivalent of an extra mortgage payment for me.
Should you start buying produce at Costco?
If you have a Costco membership, then it could pay to purchase some or all of your produce there. I happen to find Costco's products are fresher than many of the produce items sold at my regular supermarket. And the price point can't be beat.
But should you load up on bulk produce at Costco if you live alone, or have a small fridge that doesn't offer a lot of storage space? Probably not. Buying any given item in bulk is only worth doing if you'll consume it in time. If you won't, or if you can't store it, then buying in bulk will likely mean throwing your money away.
However, if there's a produce item your family eats regularly, buying it at Costco could really pay -- especially if you're going there anyway for other items. I'm especially grateful for Costco's lower price point these days, when inflation is driving my grocery spending up. Granted, I do spend more at Costco nowadays than I used to, but even with that, I'm still easily saving myself $30 on a weekly basis.
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