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The Big Box Deception

June 15, 2009

money making mondayDo you buy in bulk? How about stockpile? How do you know if you are getting the best value by buying in bulk?

Yes, Amee and I both have Sam’s Club cards. However, we have come to realize that just because it comes in bulk, does not mean it is the best price. Many times, a sale combined with a coupon will net you a cheaper price per unit than buying in bulk from a big box store.

Let’s look at the Walgreen’s trip from yesterday:

Ragu & Skippy came out to .55¢ each after RR's

Ragu & Skippy came out to .55¢ each after RR's

The current promotion at Walgreen’s is buy (8) Unilever items (Ragu, Skippy Peanut Butter, Hellman’s mayo or Lipton Tea), get $8.00 in Register Rewards. I chose the Ragu and Peanut Butter since they were on sale for $2.00 each. I used (2) $1.00/2 Ragu coupons and (4) .40¢ Skippy coupons (thanks to my shopping buddies!). After coupons my total out of pocket was $12.40. I then received $8.00 in Register Rewards for my next Walgreens transaction. Which made each item .55¢ each technically. Even without the RR’s, each item would be $1.55 which is still a good price.

So, my family loves peanut butter and we tend to eat a lot of pasta. We now have a stockpile of these items for very little money spent. If I were to have bought these items at Sam’s the peanut butter would be about $7.88 for 2/40oz jars and the Ragu is would be approximately $8.16 for 3/45oz. I paid about .03¢ an ounce and the Sam’s would have been about .10¢ an ounce. For the Ragu I paid about .02¢ an ounce and Sam’s would have been .06¢ an ounce. Not to mention, my jars are smaller so we won’t have to worry about wasting the sauce to spoilage!

Stockpiling is necessary to keep your grocery bill low. Have you noticed that sales seem to rotate? It is very possible that the Ragu and Skippy won’t be on sale again for awhile. Stockpiling is another reason that Amee and my shopping pictures look funny sometimes. Many people say “how are they going to make a meal with that?”. Well, we buy items when they are sale, stockpile and then buy additional items later to make it a meal.

A couple of tips for stockpiling:

  • Only stockpile items you and your family will use. (Or donate)
  • Check expiration dates.
  • Only stockpile enough for the next 6 months. Come on, how many people really need 8 deodorants or 20 bars of soap! Remember a sale will come around again!
  • Take a calculator with you. Determine the price per unit, if you are curious if the little box is a better deal than the big box.

So, do Amee and I still shop at Sam’s Club? Yep! It is a great place to get produce and meat. These items do come in bulk. Team up with a friend and split the items. Of course the meat can be frozen as well. I also tend to buy my pet food there and some office supplies. I used to buy diapers at Sam’s until I discovered the world of CVS and Walgreens! Now It is much more economical to buy diapers in the small packs with coupons and a good sale!



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