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Super Savings Saturday: Dillon’s and a trip to the Bulk Foods Store

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We did something different this month in our grocery budgeting. Instead of taking out $40 each week to use on groceries like we usually do, we took out a lump sum of $160 at the beginning of the month. I was surprised, but it seemed like this $160 went a lot farther than the $40 per week usually does. I'm not sure the reasoning behind that, but that's what happened!

Motivated by my success the past two months in setting aside money from our weekly grocery budget for bulk purchases, I've been working a little harder this month to see if I could set aside a larger amount. I've been amazed at how much purchasing in bulk is helping me to do this. It seems build upon itself: the more I purchase in bulk, the more it gives me wiggle room to purchase in bulk.

This month, I was able to set aside $60 from our grocery budget for bulk purchases. Some friends and I drove to a nearby town today and shopped at a bulk foods store and I was able to purchase a lot of what you see pictured above for just right under $40. I got enough spices and herbs to last me well over a year, 25 pounds of unbleached flour, raw sesame seeds and sunflower seeds, dates, coconut, and even a big bag of turbinado sugar (a more natural sugar) and carob powder.

I'm so excited to be finding creative ways to afford some healthier foods in our budget. Buying in bulk has certainly been a big asset there. I am going to be using some of these items to make a big batch of homemade granola and I'm also looking forward to experimenting with some new and more healthful recipes. I've never used carob powder or turbinado sugar before. Have you? Any can't-miss recipes you want to share?

In addition to the bulk foods store, we also made two quick trips to Dillons this week–since the sale weeks changes on Wednesdays and we wanted to get things from both sale ads. I won't list off all the deals, but you can read more about the Nature Valley Nut Clusters deal here.

I also got 3 packages of Huggies wipes free off of Amazon using my Swagbucks.

We spent a total of $72 on groceries this week and we were able to really stock up on some things which will last us much longer than a week. We still have about $35 left to spend on groceries this month and I we should have no problem staying under that next week–especially since our freezer is still well-stocked with food.

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Did you snag any great deals or bargains this week or save money in other ways? If so, be sure to post about them on your blog and leave your link below. Please remember that this weekly round-up is to share deals you personally got and/or money you were able to save this week. In order to keep this weekly round-up focused on helping and inspiring others in their efforts to save money, links which have little-to-no content other than promoting affiliate links, etc. will be deleted. Also, to make it easy for everyone to navigate quickly through the links, your link must link directly to your Super Savings Saturday post.

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49 Comments

  • S. Mullinax says:

    I have an Amish bulk food store about 1 hour away – totally worth the drive! Let us know what you discover about the carob powder – I have been tempted to buy it but don’t know how much I would actually use it.

  • MIchele says:

    I like putting turbinado sugar on top of muffins. It gives a nice sweetness to them. I just sprinkle a little on top before baking.

  • Rachel says:

    I notice you always have eggs in recipes and menus but you never seem to buy any. I think I remember that you had a family member that had an egg farm, do you get eggs for free? just curious.

    I love bulk shopping. I hope you find a good recipe for carob, and if you do, share it, cause I have never had anything with carob in it that I liked. good luck! great shopping trip. I am off to ralphs to see if they also have the same clusters deal, I’ve got a pile of coupons for them.

    *************
    Money Saving Mom here: See the two dozen eggs in the picture? Those are from a family member. I usually buy 2 dozen form them about every two to three weeks, depending upon how much baking I do. I love having farm-fresh eggs!

  • I look at my food budget as a monthly budget and not a weekly budget. I know how much I have for the month, and as I stock up on different things on sale, I subtract from that amount. I don’t look at what meals I’ll make for the week from my trip, but I look at what I can make from what I have already. One month I might buy a lot of canned goods at the twice-a-year case-lot sale, and another month I might spend the bulk of the budget on meat that’s on sale. Another month I might buy a lot of produce to can.

  • Cate says:

    I’ve noticed that buying in bulk really helps out our budget, too. We’ve started buying all of our spices, nuts, banana chips, and some grains from the bulk bins at our local health food store, and we LOVE it! Not only are they cheaper, but they’re generally much fresher and better quality. The spices in particular last forever!

  • Beth says:

    I use sucanat (WAY less refined than turbinado), so you would put the turbinado in place of the sucanat.

    Here are my Raspberry Chocolate Chip Muffins:
    http://wisdoms-way.blogspot.com/search/label/muffins

    Peanut Butter Bars here:
    http://wisdoms-way.blogspot.com/search/label/peanut%20butter%20bars (scroll down)

    Neiman Marcus cookies (with healthier alternatives):
    http://wisdoms-way.blogspot.com/search/label/Neiman%20Marcus%20cookies

    No bake granola bars: http://wisdoms-way.blogspot.com/search/label/no%20bake%20granola

    Our favorite granola recipe is here:
    http://not2many.blogspot.com/2006/06/and-heres-recipe-i-promised-to-post.html

    HTH

  • Susan says:

    I don’t have a blog but I wanted to tell about the deal I got this week. One of the local supermarkets in my area had Clorox Greenworks on sale. The Clorox Greenworks website had $3.00 off there laundry soap and $.50 off the stain remover. The laundry soap at he store was regularly $7.99 and on sale for $2.99. The stain remover was regularly $2.99 on sale for $.99. So that makes them free. I had 15 laundry soap coupons and 8 stain remover coupons. In the end I spent about $2.60(tax) and saved about $140.

    Sue

  • elizabeth says:

    Turbinado sugar is great, it’s all we use. It is a little larger of crystals, but still tastes great. For me personally, it has a sweet, but slightly less cloying taste than white sugar.

    It is really good in iced tea :))

  • Veronica says:

    I just wanted to say “Thank you.” I found your blog at the perfect time – my husband had just been laid off and were were going to be forced to survive on my TINY salary. It only took my husband about three months to find another job but he took a huge pay cut. Not only have I learned to further stretch my grocery dollars and amke the pay cut more survivable, but you have simply inspired me in every way. So thank you again. 🙂

  • Jessi says:

    My mom has a bulk foods store in her area–whenever she makes a trip, I give her my shopping list :). I have found that is by far THE best place to buy spices!

  • Candace says:

    I use sucanat a lot (which is like turbinado). I’ll use in place of sugar in any recipe. It’s probably a better substitute for brown sugar, but I’ll use it instead of white too. The only time we don’t like to use it is if you can see the sugar or it isn’t cooked, like in cinnamon sugar toast.

  • Kristin says:

    I can’t wait to see how you use the bulk foods you purchased! Should be interesting!

  • is the bulk foods store a chain?

  • That looks great! Thank you for sharing all your great deals!

  • Challice says:

    Dont know if you have the book-
    Nourishing Traditions, but it has a flourless carob cake recipe tahts very good. The “frosting” isnt needed imho but I made a batch and I still have enough left for another cake.

    Carob can be used the same as Hershey’s Cocoa powder, and now that its turning more cooler out, you can make your own hot chocolate.

    email me, c.neipp@gmail.com if you would like that Carob cake recipe. 🙂

    You did a sucessful shopping trip. I always loved our “small” town but I am learning the disadvantages of it as well. hee hee.

    For the readers, if anyone lives in the SO CA area, can they post a link to their blog on shopping experiances, coupon clipping and the sorts. I’m still learning the ropes to do it myself.

  • Jennifer says:

    I would love to learn more about bulk food shopping. I’m in central Florida and imagine that we should have something like that in our area. Any tips, suggetions, etc. would be greatly appreciated! Thanks for all the great tips!

  • If you shopped at the Bulk Food Store I am imagining you shopped at…I LOVE that store!! I try to stop there when I can while I travel “home” to visit family.

    I don’t use turbinado, but rapadura or sucanat instead…BUT I have a whole section of recipes that call for unprocessed sugars. You can substitute your turbinado one for one in these recipes! I love it that I can serve these to ANYONE and no one recognizes that I used whole wheat flour and unprocessed sugar!!

    http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/blog/category/natural-sugar-treats

  • Kristina says:

    I don’t have a blog either… but my wonderful husband and I went to Walmart (which I normally detest) but thanx to this site and the links to the other blogs… before coupons my total at Walmart was $57.25 and after coupons it was $39.14… with tax my total came up to $44.05 I got 36 items…that averages out to be $1.22 an item. Thanx for this site and the other blog sites as well… I am learning…

  • We visited Trader Joes out west and they seemed to have cheap bulk items on healthy stuff. Sams is not a good place for that. (They didn’t even have whole grain pasta or wheat germ in bulk- but they did have cheap blueberries.)

    For where we live I find it is easier to just buy food on loss leader sales or with mega coupons instead of venturing out to buy bulk. But someday it would be great to buy healthy foods in bulk too!

  • laura says:

    You all are an inspiration!

  • Angie says:

    This is amazing that one could save so much on groceries. I’m VERY new to this and not even sure how to begin or where to find all of the coupons ya’ll are talking about on here. Any suggestions on how to start, and where to get so many coupons?? Thank you, from a mom with very hungry boys!!

  • Michelle says:

    I too would love to learn if there is a bulk foods store in my area in Indianapolis. How did you find the store you shop at?

  • Margery says:

    I bake both with carob and with cocoa powder. You can use the two interchangeably! Sometimes I make our favorite brownie recipe with carob, sometimes with cocoa, and sometimes with 1/2 of each! The carob has a slightly more nutty or subtle roasted coffee flavor.

    You can also use turbinado in a one-to-one substitution for brown sugar or white sugar. I also use sucanat or honey crystals a lot, in place of white sugar.

    To echo the comments of others above, can you share more about your source of bulk foods purchases? I’m in the Atlanta area, and the only source I know of is Whole Foods, which is pricey. I also make a once-per-year 1-hour trip to by whole grains and bread making supplies in huge buckets.

    Thank you for your lovely blog. You are such a blessing to other homemakers and their families!

  • Rachel S. says:

    I also have used sucanot which is similar to turbinado sugar, it has more of a molasses type flavor- but very good!

  • Vanessa says:

    We’ve really started to see how buying in bulk is lightening the load on our grocery budget! I love it when my monthly grocery shopping is “what do I want to add to our storage?” rather than “how will I be able to buy all of the necessary ingredients for a month?”

    Please share new recipes that you enjoy – we haven’t ventured into natural sugars, but I sure want to try it!

  • Stephanie says:

    When I first saw the picture I thought- “Don’t even tell me she got all that for $40!” I know your good but ….:) Great shopping trip. I have used Turbinado in baked goods just like regular sugar, but it does darken whatever you are baking. Have fun with your new ingredients!

  • Heather says:

    When I was a kid, my mother made many things with carob, and I thought they were all nasty! Sorry! It just is not the same as chocolate.

    We also do our food budget on a monthly basis, and find that it works well. Helps us stock up more. I still have a ballpark amount for each week in my head so I don’t get caught overspending by the end of the month. I think one has to be more disciplined to do it by the month.

  • Becky says:

    Yes, let us know if you find a good use for carob because I have never liked it. And now that chocolate has been discovered to be a health food I see no reason to try and find a substitute for it! Cocoa powder is something I buy at the bulk food store as well; they have the best price on it that I’ve found.

  • Amanda says:

    I learned how to make homemade granola when we lived in East Africa and cereal was 12 bucks a box! It’s really easy and my husband loves it because granola is so filling…i think the key is coconut flakes…

  • Marianne says:

    Thanks for the chance to link! Have a wonderful day.

  • Robin W. says:

    DH and I are doing something very different for our family of 8, soon to be 9, with our food budget right now. It is working out beautifully. We took our grocery budget for an entire quarter and bought bulk for all of our meals and tolietries for three months. (It ended up being much less than we budgeted.)

    We also set aside cash for each week for milk and produce purchases. We put each weeks cash in a separate envelope labeled with the date. Any leftover cash goes to the next week’s envelope.

    I am currently in the middle of a rough pregnancy and having everything on hand has been a real life saver. DH runs by the supermarket once a week on his way home from work to pick up milk and produce. NO GROCERY STORE FOR ME! Also, I think we are eating healthier meals. It has taken some self control but the money that we have saved has been a real encouragement.

    We are halfway through our quarter now. So far, it appears that we have shaved $200 a month off of our monthly grocery budget.

  • Lauren says:

    what kind of deal did you get on the steamers?

  • Donna says:

    We have been tempted to purchase flour and rice in bulk pkg, but our delimma is how to best store it???

    How do you plan to store yours?

    I have heard of people buying large plastic tubs..just wondering, where and and what is safe.

  • Laura says:

    We budget $140 for food/household items/toiletries each month. I get it all at the beginning of the month and put it in the ‘grocery wallet’. It goes muh farther as a lum sum than if I divide it week by week. I have tried both ways! I’m not exactly sure why either, but it really does make a difference!
    -Laura
    http://www.tenthingsfarm.blogspot.com

  • Donna:

    We store our bulk food purchases in food grade plastic pails that we get from bakeries (Walmart, IGA, FoodLion). Sometimes I can get them for free just by asking nicely or in the case of Walmart, ours sells them complete with lid for $1.

    For pails that I’m going to be wanting to get into quite often I’ve purchased Gamma lids. A bit expensive but makes getting into the pails very easy.

    And for bulk food that I’m buying for long-term storage, I put large mylar bags inside the plastic pails before filling and then I seal the mylar bag before putting the lid on the pail.

  • Katie says:

    FYI turbinado sugar is refined sugar, they just add a small amount of molasses to give it the color and a few minerals that were taken out during the refining process.
    To get true unrefined sugar you have to buy sucanat or rapadura. You can reasearch the different ways these sugars are made to see the differences in the crystaling process. Turbinado sugar is still better than the pure white sugar, but not by much.

  • Beth says:

    I sent a bunch of links for recipes you asked for but I don’t see them in the comments. Did you not get it?

    **********************
    Money Saving Mom here: Thanks for letting me know! I discovered it was stuck in the spam catcher since there were so many links in the comment.

    Thank you very much!

  • Celena says:

    Just wanted to say thanks… I was thinking last night that when I was growing up, I NEVER would have been caught dead using coupons! I thought they were for people who didn’t have enough money for groceries. Apparently, I enjoyed spending as much as possible for my food (dummy!). Anyway, my husband and I are now trying to pay of student loans and save for a house, so my pennies have become a lot more valuable. I had an epiphany last night… coupons aren’t for people who don’t have money for groceries, they’re for people who want to do more with their money than buy food!

  • Noelle says:

    I haven’t ventured into MAJOR bulk purchases, but we definitely take advantage of the bulk bins at the health food store. This week we stocked up on some organic rice!

    The organic jasmine white rice is $2.49/lb at the health food store in bulk, but when we are going to see my sister we have her buy it from Trader Joe’s where it comes in a 2lb bag for $3.99 ($1.99/lb) We have her buy about 5 bags at a time and store it in the fridge.

    We also love to buy spices in the bulk bins at the healthfood store. It’s great to be able to buy just the amount we need if it is a spice we don’t often use.
    I love that your bulk spices appear to have been packed in small containers with lids. Our stores just have plastic bags and it’s not the most convenient thing.

  • Kayla says:

    I wish you could come live with me for a week or two and really help me get off the ground with this. I am desperate to stay home with my daughter. I need to save/earn about $400/month in order to stay home and I just can’t figure out how to save that much. I only spend about $170 each month on groceries but in no way are we eating as well as your family. I just don’t know what to do. I am very excited about your work at home series so I can maybe explore that option.

  • Lisa says:

    has anyone actually seen the CVS ad? I thought the candy deal was a monthly $5 ecb thing…but it sounds like maybe i need to finish that this week? I need to purchase $5 more in candy

  • Brook says:

    I would like to know what kind of bulk food store you went to…I don’t think we have anything like that in my area???

  • Becky Boone says:

    I have a question about your food budget. Is that just food? I try to keep my household budget around $300, but that includes everything. Because we live in a small town with the closest shopping an hour away I buy everything at the 2 grocery stores in town like diapers, cleaning, paper products and so on. I was just wondering because i try and try to spend less but it always seems to end up around $300. I love your blog, thanks for all the good information.

  • Crystal, I find the same thing about buying in bulk. The more I do it, the easiest it makes it to afford more bulk in the budget. It’s a wonderful cycle and I don’t know how I would be able to buy the healthy foods we buy without doing much of it in bulk.

    I substitute sucanant into any and all recipes that would call for regular or brown sugar (except when I want to use honey, which I do often), so no specific recipes to share for that.

    But for carob, we have one particularly yummy smoothie recipe that I think you might enjoy! You can either do as the recipe says and use seeds and water for your “milk” base, or you can just use some milk (and it’s fine watered down a bit, too). I’m also linking to my version of a peanut butter banana smoothie, which I like to add a little carob to. The recipes are similar, but a bit different and we love them both. Enjoy!

    http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2007/12/smoothie-of-the-morning-carob-delight.html

    http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2009/04/a-nourished-start-peanut-butter-smoothies-and-baked-oatmeal.html

  • Liz says:

    I am pretty new to your blog. Believe it or not my older brother told me about your site. I am absolutely LOVING everything about this site. AMAZING, what you do! Anyhow just an idea…I know, I’m new, geez! But, I think it would be beneficial to your readers to catagorize everyone who adds their link. I want to look at them all!! But, it takes soo much time! So I thought maybe it would save your readers time if somehow everyone who added their link, put it under a certain heading. For example I wanted to head to Krogers (and I’m new to couponing) so I wanted to look at the deals others got. But I found many links that I would love to look at….but wasn’t exactly what I was looking for! Just an idea…I don’t even know if it’s possible. But I have been looking at your blog for a few weeks and saw how absolutely dedicated you are to this site, so I thought adding this comment was worth a shot!!! Thanks for this wonderful site Crystal!

  • Mandy says:

    Hello – I have a question about Swagbucks. Can you use more than one e-card code per order? Or do you have to separate them? I want to buy something for my mom online, but it would be most worth it if I could cash in my swaybucks for $15 for a purchase vs. $5. Any tips would be so appreciated! Thanks for everything!

    *******************
    Money Saving Mom here: You can use as many Amazon.com gift cards in one transaction as you’d like. So just save up your Swagbucks and cash them in on Amazon gift cards and keep hanging onto them until you have enough collected to make the purchase.

  • Kristin says:

    I’ve always wondered how you felt about shopping at bulk food stores. I shop at one about every other week and can get some good deals. The bad part is that you can’t use coupons at the store I shop at!

    I usually buy some toiletries, meat, chicken, milk ($1.79/gallon!!), bread, some produce, etc. We also bought many electronic items there as they are a good deal and stand behind their products. It always seems to be an expensive trip, but I don’t have to buy the items as often. It seems as if most prices are equal to buying the items at another grocery store with a coupon. I also occasionally find good deals on clothes.

  • Aryn says:

    I love to sprinkle a little turbinado sugar on top of my homemade plain yogurt. It sweetens it up without being too sweet.

  • Jenne says:

    Can you tell me how you budget toiletry items and household cleaners. Is that included in your $40 a week budget? I’ve been sticking to $40 a week for my husband and I for awhile but my stock of toiletries and household items is running low.

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