Thursday, April 08, 2010

Prepare: Monthly Costco Run

Yesterday was the monthly Costco run. You may go to Sam's Club or one of the other mega shopping/warehouse places. These are great stores because you can buy bulk packages of prep items and put a real dent in your list of required stored food and supplies.

Here are some of the things I pick up every month at Costco. Afterward, there will be some explaination behind the purchases...

Honey - 10lbs. Two of the big containers
Oatmeal - both the 55 ct instant variety and the big Quaker boxes.
Toilet paper - big old 36 roll pack
Paper towels - same thing
Canned vegetables
Canned meat
Soap - mega pack
Tooth paste - same
Rice - 50lb bag

Honey - Grocery stores only sell containers which carry at most, 16 oz. Costco has a 5 lb container so I pick up two of those.

Oatmeal - you can get the large canisters at the grocers, but Costco has the next size up. Again, I get two of those and store them in buckets at home.
Instant oatmeal - because the kids eat it every other day and it is cheaper than the 12 ct boxes at the grocers.

Toilet paper - grocery stores carry a 12 ct package as the largest size. I have one closet in my home stuffed with paper products.

Paper towels - Paper towels are always expensive at the grocery store. I save anywhere from .10 to .25 per roll by buying the big size at Costco.

Canned vegetables/meat - Be careful with this one. Costco canned vegetables can often be nearly $1.00 per can which makes them twice as expensive as the store versions at the grocers. Canned meat is "generally" cheaper at Costco. I get the canned chicken and tuna.

Soap - the brands vary, but bar soap is always cheaper at Costco.

Toothpaste - shop carefully here as well. Drugstore CVS often has better prices with coupons than Costco.

Rice - Between Costco and the Asian supermarket, I always buy the 50lb bag at one of the two places. I never buy it at the grocers. Again, if you buy 50lbs a month and store it in buckets, you can build a one year supply of rice in just a few months.

I also buy, when I need them, batteries, shampoo, feminine products and some vitamins at Costco. They recently had 5 Hour Energy (you know, the little orange energy drinks), at 24 bottles for $35.00. The grocery sells them at $4.99 for two bottles. Do the math.

Be careful at the warehouse store because the large sizes, pallets and big carts make preppers "feel" like they are doing the right thing. But many of the products are overpriced and designed as tempting impulse buys. Finally, keep an eye out for the coupons once every two months. Many of the above products will be $2-4 cheaper with the coupon.


Jackie said...

Thanks for your great article. Have you ever considered getting an emergency kit as well. I found a company called 1800 Prepare that might prove useful.

Beth said...

I'm just starting to buy in bulk/larger quantities. And I'm trying to figure out what I need for containers. When you store the large Quaker what size buckets are you using?

JD said...

Beth - There are three options..

Preppers use five gallon sealable plastic buckets (called pails in other parts of the country). They buy them online or if they are fortunate, from a specialty retailer. They toss in dessicants to keep out moisture and oxygen absorbers. They may also put the bucket contents in a mylar bag and seal it as well.

I am lazy. I use two other options. I get sealable buckets from Home Depot or Lowes which run about $5 or 6.00 with a lid. The lid fits snugly and keeps the contents fresh. I will toss in a dessicant pack to reduce moisture if I have one or two around. But have stored them without and never had any problems.

I also use storage buckets from restaurant supply stores. These look like big tupperware containers and hold 5 to 6 gallons. The lids do not fit as tight, but it works well for bulk foods (like sugar, flour, etc) that I use regularly and don't want to "lock down" for 5 or 10 years. The only drawback with these buckets, like most specialty items, is the cost. They run about $10 with the lid.

Also, with the Quaker oats. If you buy the big boxes at Costco, they sometimes come in wax/plastic bags, two bags to a box. I leave them in these bags as an extra layer of protection.

When I open one of the bags for consumption, I put the unused portions in jumbo, resealable Ziploc bags and put them back in the bucket. Works well for me.

Thanks for reading and posting.

Jennifer said...

what about critters in the rice and other grain products? even with storing in well-sealed containers, there are a given amount of bugs that come included WITH the product.

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