How To Conquer the Grocery Store: Wholesale Edition

wholesale

Don’t be intimidated by wholesale.

I recently discussed the many tricks to successfully triumphing in your next grocery store visit, suggesting things like buying frozen, entering aisles with caution, etc. This time, I’m going to give you the inside tricks to powering through something a little bigger than your local Trader Joe’s: the world of wholesale. 

Most recall trips to Sam’s and Costco as a big family trip that looked like the storage warehouse for a food store. The package sizes are exceptionally bigger than your regular box of cereal, and the aisles look like they could supply a family of 6 with food for the rest of the year. But, little did you know, it’s also a haven for a home-cooking fiend like you. Not only do you only have to go a couple times a month, but you’ll be stocked up for weeks on endless amounts of food selections (if you do it right). You may even get to participate in the lovely food sampling that most wholesale markets are famous for. They say you shouldn’t grocery shop hungry, but I make sure to hold out on lunch before I make my semi-monthly trip to Costco. 

However, like anything, you’ve gotta do these trips right. You can’t just walk into this monstrous warehouse without a plan and without a strategy. Don’t be that person that has about a thousand snack packets and cool appliances, but little to no “actual” food.  

Make Sure You Bring a List

Know what you need before you step through those doors. These places have crazy amounts of food, and sometimes selections of pasta that you never knew existed. Also, that sample of seafood dip you tried may seem like a great idea for your next few dinners if you don’t come in already knowing to buy that chicken you said you needed to stock up on. Buying wholesale is also a little more expensive than a normal trip to the grocery store, so you need to make sure you’re buying exactly what you need to minimize last minute trips. It can also be a little hard to navigate in these places, so knowing exactly what you need will minimize time spent wandering the aisles and reduce the risk of eye-catcher purchases. “Why’d you buy that entire box of chocolate-covered nut mix?” “I got lost trying to find the eggs.” Don’t fall victim to the wandering buyer habit.  

Prepare To Spend More Than You’re Used To

Like I said before, it’s going to be a pricier purchase when shopping wholesale. You aren’t buying a weeks worth of food, you’re buying enough food to last you about a month (especially if you’re shopping for yourself). Even though the prices are generally a better value in the long run, it’s going to sting a little when you hand the cashier your member card. Just remember: if you’ve planned ahead, you’ll be saving yourself a whole lot of time and money in the long run. Just think about all the meals you’ll get to prep

Only Buy Fresh Food That You’ll Use Immediately

I can’t stress this enough: be smart with your produce purchasing. If you’re planning on cooking all 6 of those bell peppers, than feel free to buy that entire pack of them. But, since it’s just you you’re probably cooking for, it probably isn’t the best idea to buy wholesale servings of vegetables and meats if you’re not going to eat them within one week. The trick: freeze what you won’t use immediately, and avoid buying things you know you won’t want for the next month. Buying 6 packets of chicken is reasonable if you eat it everyday, but letting an industry-size bag of spinach rot in your fridge because you had the urge to try out green smoothies one day is not. Save those experimental “I don’t know if I’ll like it” purchases for the grocery store. 

It takes practice, but with a couple rounds of aisle browsing and list making, wholesale exploring will feel just as easy as grocery store surfing.

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Rachel Jimenez

An Exercise Science major at USF with a love for dance, food, and sarcastic banter. Oh, and she was gluten free before it was cool. instagram: @sassycalves twitter: @itsraayy

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