Sorry this is a day late, I received some devastating news yesterday and needed the day to absorb it.
When the first Sam’s Club opened up near our home back in the early 1990’s, they had such good deals. Five pounds of peanut butter goes a long way when you have four little boys and a hungry husband. I tailored my shopping every month to include one trip to the Club and little trips to our neighborhood grocery store. Granted, this was only because back then buying a month’s supply of oatmeal, peanut butter, jelly, bread, and frozen veggies did save us money. But my take on bulk buying has changed dramatically.
When we first moved to the Pacific Northwest 5 years ago, we were told that everyone has a membership to their nearest Costco. So after a month of settling in we got a membership. We used it mainly for their gas, which was always 10 cents cheaper than other stations. We also bought ground turkey, frozen chicken breasts, and all sorts of things we really shouldn’t have been eating. After the newness wore off, we stopped going there, and realized that we saved more money shopping around our home.
Now that we shop closer to home (Costco is 5.8 miles away) we are saving more money. We walk to the store now, and purchase only what two people can and will eat in a month. Plus the stores in our area offer a 10 cents saving on each gallon of gas when we earn 100 points. One local store has it’s own gas station and has gas at better prices than the Costco. Another benefit from shopping closer is we have relationships with different store employees, like the butcher and produce manager. We also have a great relationship with the owners of our gourmet grocery store, where if I think they should carry an item they will put it on their list to order so I can purchase it through them instead of the internet.
Shopping is about feeling comfortable with your purchases and the people doing the selling. My mom used to go to stores because of the relationships she had. She went to the butcher once a week to buy our meat for the week but to also catch up on the gossip about our town. The bulk stores have taken the relationships out of our purchases and turned the act of buying into a sterile part of many lives. These empty spots where relationships stood are now filled with two gallons of olive oil, or five pounds of candy.
Relationship shopping saves money and allows us to realize our part in that relationship,; it helps us connect and belong to our community.