Updated: Jan 17, 2022
In general, your two biggest expenses are rent and food. It can be difficult to control your rent - sure you can get a roommate; live in a dingy basement; avoid downtown, but at the end of the day you have little control over your cost of rent save for getting rid of it altogether by buying a home (that's a topic for another day). A great way to offset this expense is to limit your food spending. This is way easier than you would think and is all wrapped up in one pretty little word: Costco!! Or any other wholesaler that allows you to buy in bulk. I promise this will save you money.
How does Costco save you money?
Costco groceries are cheaper. A gallon of milk at Costco is cheaper than a gallon of milk at a regular grocery store. Costco deals with a limited number of brands and buys from those brands in bulk. Because of this, those brands offer discounts and Costco can then pass these savings onto their customers. This benefits the customers because they get cheaper groceries, and benefits Costco because it keeps them competitive.
Then, why doesn't everybody shop there?
Most single people and couples avoid bulk buying because they can't get through 3 pounds of cheese before it goes bad. I am a cheese lover! I eat, sleep, and breathe cheese. But, even 3 pounds of cheese is a bit much for me. That is why I freeze everything - and I do mean everything. Chicken? Freeze. Spinach? Freeze. Cheese? Freeze. Ham? Freeze. Yoghurt? Freeze! Seriously, have you tried frozen yoghurt?! It is the absolute BEST.
Another pushback people have about buying in bulk is not having access to a vehicle. What I used to do before I had a car was carpool with fellow Costco-shopping friends/roommates and pay for their gas. I also had a little backup cart that could hold a surprising amount of food for those days that I went on my own. I even bought the cart at Costco! That was before uber came to Canada. You could pay for an uber every time, and it will still be cheaper than buying at your local grocery store. Not to be cheesy (my mind is clearly still on cheese) but where there is a will, there is a way.
Another reason people avoid wholesalers is the desire to support local grocery stores and farmers' markets. This is one objection that does resonate with me. While I would love to do all of my shopping at the local mom-and-pop, right now this is not within my budget. I applaud those who can afford this, but the reality is you have to help yourself before you can help others.
The final thing that stops people from shopping at Costco is the annual fee. Yes, there is a fee to shop there! However, the money you save from shopping at Costco will pay for your annual fee and more. It's a no-brainer; if the fee is what's stopping you from shopping at Costco, don't let it! Sometimes you need to spend money to make money. Or in this case, spend money to save money.
All in all, bulk buying will save you money. If fits with your lifestyle, that's great! If it doesn't, that's ok too! There are a lot of other ways to budget your food - a big one being eating at home!
P.S. A little added plus for those who hate grocery shopping, buying in bulk means less grocery shopping!