Yesterday was my first Family Trip to the ultimate grocery shopping experience of buying in bulk at none other than the ever Cost-Effective Costco. When I was a kid, every couple of months my parents would load us up into my dad’s Chevy van, the one with the vikings etched on the windows and almost chocolate-brown shag carpet. We would blow through about four hundred bucks on toilet paper, laundry detergent, frozen chicken, frozen peas, frozen tortellini, cereal, juice boxes… Yeah, basically they would shop quarterly & buy things like milk and produce weekly. It worked for them.
The weird thing is, I just don’t know how to live with my family if it isn’t the way my parents lived. I (don’t) clean the same way, punish my children the same way, make lists and menus the same way, and now buy meat and Fig Newtons in bulk the same way. It’s not that I think my parents did it the right way, it was just their way. In fact, none of my friends’ families shopped in bulk. But now, without even really thinking or rationalizing, I am shopping their way, thus it is soon to become my way.
So, nearly two hundred dollars later, my husband, two sons and I drove away with large quantities of cheese, meat, salmon, and some other random things. When I put everything away & crossed everything off of my shopping list, I realized that I did not have any of the things to complete any of my menus. Sure, I had some ingredients to make dinners with, but nothing to make meals with. That meant that I had to go back out to the regular grocery store and spend another fifty bucks for the rest of the odds and ends to cover us for the week.
And this leads me to really think about all my bulk buying. Of course one shopping trip can not clearly show if it is worth it or not, but at least I am thinking about doing math. I’ve already learned not to buy raspberries in bulk; they molded within two days. But surely the other things in my cart won’t spoil, or will they? And, just because something was cost effective for my folks doesn’t mean that it will be for me, but then again, who knows. I’m sure when my two baby boys are two teenagers, I’ll be whipping out that Wholesale Membership Card on a weekly basis.