Tuesday, April 27, 2010

15 Things NOT to Buy in Bulk (and my rebuttal)

From MSN Money--no, not the "Frugal Lady", but someone else...and I still have problems.

The list:
1. Brown rice (rancidity)--see footnote below.

2. Candy (leads to bulk eating)--also leads to ants in the pantry (my addition).

3. Paper towels (space issues)--see footnote.

4. Toilet paper (space issues)--see footnote.

5. Nuts (rancidity)--should always be refrigerated or frozen until used, in my opinion. Sub-divide, chop/grind (or not), then freeze.

6. Mayonnaise (rancidity)--see footnote.

7. Vitamins and nutritional supplements (rancidity)--I agree with this one, but have to wonder how long they sit around in warehouses waiting for a new destination.

8. Diapers (growth issue)--see footnote.

9. Bleach (rancidity)--see footnote.

10. Spices (rancidity)--see #7 above.

11. Bread (rancidity)--see footnote.

12. Tilapia (rancidity)--I wouldn't buy Tilapia on a BET! It's the trash fish of modern-day aquaculture.

13. Eggs (rancidity)--DUH!! See footnote.

14. Meats and other frozen foods (expiration, freezer burn, rancidity)--see footnote.

15. Cereal (rancidity and expiration)--also attracts bugs. Also attracts dentists with kids in college, as well as Jamie Oliver (of Food Revolution fame).


1. If you cook large batches and freeze them, you don't have to worry much about losing a 25-lb. bag of this to rancidity. It's good for a year--this means you have a year to cook and freeze your batches, and I doubt it'll take you that long to do it. I, with a household of two, can probably go through 25 lbs. of brown rice in 4-6 months. Add lentils, beans, wild rice, and split peas to this list. For more ways to use up grains and pulses, see this article--especially the second section.

3. Space is NOT an issue for me--I purposely bought a house with more bedrooms than I need just for this purpose. Yes, I have an entire wall of paper products and trash bags, and they have NO expiration date or go rancid.

4. See above, and add toilet paper to the list. If you have space (or can find it), I suggest you start buying in bulk when sales are good (if you haven't already)--prices are only going to get higher from here. Again, no expiration dates and no rancidity issues. Paper products and soaps are some of the best non-food items to stock up on.

6. I buy my mayonnaise in jars--not the industrial tubs, so rancidity is less of an issue for me. I also use this stuff for making my own "salad dressings" so I consume at least a jar a month.

8. Use cloth diapers, and you don't face this growth problem. Also, instead of piling up boxes of Pull-ups, POTTY TRAIN YOUR KID!!

9. I bought what I thought was a year's worth of bleach, and it turns out to be maybe a decade worth instead. However, since I use it for laundry AND the dishwasher, I'm not worried--they make pool chemicals to last inside a warehouse, and this bleach is no exception (it may be labeled "household bleach", but we know better).

11. Why buy pre-made bread when the ingredients to make it are cheaper and last longer?

13. Unless you know and use one of the multitude of ways to preserve eggs, or use large quantities at one time, I wouldn't bother buying in bulk--they're cheap enough. They're like carrots and potatoes--cheap, and grown year-round.

14. Freezer burn is the enemy of all frozen foods, and can occur after 6 months--rotating stock, and using regularly can help prevent that. Meat should be kept frozen for no more than 3 months, no matter what it was wrapped in.

SOMETHING ELSE YOU SHOULDN'T BUY IN HUGE QUANTITIES: flours, unless you bake like the devil, and/or have a plan to keep it refrigerated or frozen. This WILL go rancid in a matter of months, and also attract bugs. Whole grains for grinding into flour last longer, but will also eventually succumb to rancidity and bugs. Sugar is okay, as long as you watch for bugs--it does attract them, especially ants and roaches.

As with grandma's food storage, all things should be kept in a cool, dark place (unless refrigerated or frozen), and all things should be above floor level.

SOMETHING YOU DON'T HAVE TO BUY IN HUGE QUANTITIES ANY MORE: laundry detergent and dishwasher soap, since we tend to use too much of it anyway (even using the manufacturer's instructions). Laundry detergent = 1/4 cup per load and dishwasher soap = 2 T. per load in the covered cup. If you buy in huge quantities, it's okay--it's not perishable, but it may dry out, cake up, etc. from sitting so long unused.

I myself bought what I thought was a year's worth of laundry detergent (prices were THAT good), only to find I didn't really need to use so much at one time. Now, it seems I might have a decade's worth of laundry detergent, but oh well...cry me a river. :)


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