Over the last year I have begun bulk grocery shopping at Sams.
You guys know we are a large family with many children still at home, plus myself and my husband. I hear a lot of conversations and debates on if it really saves money to shop at warehouse clubs.
There is a Sams Club less than 2 miles from our home and in January of this year I wanted to see if I could get more bang for my buck shopping there. I wanted to see for myself it is really is a good deal to shop at warehouse stores.
Let me just say, after doing this for eight months, this is now where 50% of my grocery shopping is done. From food, to toiletry items, paper products, and some cleaning items they really are competitively priced when compared to traditional grocery stores.
Not only am I getting a better deal when you break it down by per unit price, but I am also buying each item less often. Each week I share my meal plan with you and sometimes I share how much we spend in groceries in those posts. You can get a rundown of what I buy for the month for $1,000 and how I turn what I buy into cheap meals for large families. This grocery total includes what I spend at Sams, Walmart and HEB.
I am not a savings expert, but I am a mama of a bunch of kids wanting to feed them well and save money doing it. Here is what is working for us!
Is Buying in Bulk Really Cheaper?
When I was trying to decide if buying in bulk was work it and garnered great deals, I sat down and created a list of what I was buying each week when I was placing my online grocery orders at Walmart and HEB.
That is one of the super awesome things about buying online grocery shopping is I have access to all the prices in an instant online by going to their websites.
Cost of Buying Rice in Bulk
For example, I buy a lot of rice and beans. I buy brown rice, white rice, basmati rice and jasmine rice. I buy dry beans and canned beans in many varieties such as pint, black, lentil, kidney, etc.
I still buy my brown rice was Walmart because my Sams does not carry brown rice. I buy it at Walmart in 5 pound bags and pay $3.32 per bag. That is $0.66 per pound for brown rice. (Have you ever tried Instant Pot brown rice? So easy to make and is a great side!)
Let’s talk about white rice. Sams Club does carry white rice in 50 pound bags. The largest bag I can get white rice at my Walmart for is 20 pounds and it costs $8.43 for the bag. That is $0.42 per pound.
At Sams I can get a 50 pound bag of white rice for $16.86. That is a little over $0.33 per pound.
Is it cheaper to buy white rice at Sams? Yes, over $0.10 cheaper per pound!
I buy these food grade 5 gallon bucket with gamma lids and store the rice in my pantry. The shelf life is long and 50 pounds of white rice looks like it is going to last us at least a year. You can see from some of my weekly meal plans that I share that we eat rice 1-3 times a week as a side with our dinners.
Another thing I do is wash out and reuse containers for bulk storage. For example, we buy these cheese balls about once a month to have with our lunches. I have kept multiple containers and cleaned them out once they are empty and use them to store things like sugar in them.
Cost of Buying Dry Pinto Beans in Bulk
I was buying dry pinto beans at Walmart in two pound bags. I was paying $1.48 per bag which is $0.74 per pound.
I can get dry pinto beans in 50 pound bags at Sams for $29.58. This is $0.59 per pound. Sams also offers a 12 pound bag of dry pinto beans for $7.38 which is $0.62 per pound. Either way, that is more than $0.10 cheaper per pound at Sams, so yes, this is a great price! I use dry pinto beans to make a pot of chili, taco soup and a variety of other soups, frito pie, beans and cornbread, beans as a side with tacos and the list goes on. They are high in protein and serve as a great meatless meal option!
Cost of Buying Canned Beans in Bulk
What about canned beans? Are they cheaper when buying in bulk?
I can get organic canned black beans from Walmart for $0.92 per can. I can buy an 8 count pack of Members Mark organic black beans from Sams for $6.48. This is $0.81 per can for organic black beans. Is it cheaper to buy canned black beans in bulks? Yes! We add black beans to different ground beef recipes (like stuffed bell peppers), we add them to Tex Mex casseroles, we use them as a side sometimes for tacos, the list goes on. One bulk pack will last us a month.
That said, if I need to buy kidney beans or dry lentils I am going to have to buy those at Walmart as Sams does not carry them.
We also use refried beans multiple times a month to make something we call Glorified Bean Burritos and we use refried beans multiple times a month to make nachos for lunch (we homeschool… so I am making three meals a day here for my kids). Yes, I could take leftover beans and turn them into homemade refried beans, but usually I freeze them to make chili. That said I like to keep canned refried beans on hand. I can buy the HEB brand of refried beans for $0.98 per can. Or, I can buy an 8 count pack from Sams of the Rosarita brand for $6.98 which is $0.87 per can. So yes, it is cheaper for me to buy refried beans in bulk.
Cost of Buying Canned Vegetables in Bulk
Canned corn at Walmart is $0.64 a can. I can get a 12 pack from Sams of Members Mark brand for $5.98 for 12, which is $.49 per can.
That same pricing applies to canned green beans.
I also cook with a lot of Rotel, which is diced tomatoes with green chilies. These cans are $0.98 per can at Walmart. When I buy in bulk at Sams I pay $6.48 for 10 cans which is $0.81 per can.
A 105 ounce can of crushed tomatoes which I use to make homemade spaghetti sauce is $2.98 per can. This will make enough for a birthday dinner where we are feeding 20+ people. This will also make enough spaghetti sauce for 2 batches for our family of eight on a traditional night. I use the entire can to make sauce and then freezer half of it for a later date. This is so much cheaper than even buying store brand spaghetti sauce at Walmart which is $1.50 per jar and I need 3 jars for one dinner for my family. Buying in bulk is $0.03 per ounce where buying three jars of store brand at Walmart is $0.06 per ounce and I get two complete dinners out of the bulk option.
Cost of Buying Fresh Vegetables in Bulk
A 16 oz container of Organic Taylor Farms baby spring mix is $3.78 at Sams. The store brand of organic baby spring mix at Walmart for the same size is $4.96.
A 2.5 pound bag (40 oz) of romaine lettuce is $2.28 which is $0.06 per ounce. At Walmart a 10 ounce bag is $2.98 which is $0.30 per ounce. That is a huge savings to buy in bulk.
A 15 pound bag of russet potatoes at Sams is $6.88. That is $0.46 per pound. A 5 pounds bag at Walmart of $.49 per pound at $2.47 a bag. I use whole potatoes for soups and for serving baked potatoes. I do buy instant potatoes as well for each mashed potatoes. This is one convenience food I am happy to buy.
Cost of Buying Eggs in Bulk
I did a search online to see what other people like to buy in bulk at Sams and I was a little shocked by some of the results I read.
Now, keep in mind, not each person was a large family so they really did not HAVE to buy in bulk. We are buying groceries for six growing boys each month. Some people are buying things that I would not have on my grocery list ever, like pre-cooked, frozen, sliced chicken breasts. One lady felt like at Sams that was a good buy. I would never ever buy that. For $13 that is too much of a convenience food for my budget. On the flip side she felt like eggs were not a good deal at Sams. As a large family I have to 150% disagree with this.
I buy a box of 5 dozen eggs at Sams for $4.33. That is $0.87 per dozen. This particular deal blogger felt like Sam’s prices were too high for eggs because she is only buying 18 count at a time which she said she could get cheaper at CVS. I am sorry, but an 18 count of eggs is not buying eggs in bulk. That is one breakfast at my house. Paying $.087 per dozen for eggs at Sam’s is a total win in my book as long as you are going to use them up before they expire, which we will!
Cost of Buying Fresh Chicken in Bulk
Since starting to buy in bulk, Sams is now my go to place for buying my chicken breasts and thighs. The prices are just too good.
I can get boneless, skinless chicken breasts for $1.68 to $1.72 per pound and the packages are large enough that I can get 2-3 meals from one package of meat. This is Members Mark brand and you can buy these same fresh chicken breasts in boxes of 42-60 pounds for that same price of $1.72 per pound. If I had space to store it, I would!
The best price I can find on chicken breasts at Walmart and HEB is $1.99 a pound for store brand.
Chicken thighs are another meat we eat a lot of. I can get boneless, skinless chicken thighs at Sams for $1.62 a pound. The average package has 18-20 thighs in it and they are nice size! I can get 2-2 separate meals for my family from one pack.
The cheapest I can find boneless, skinless chicken thighs at Walmart for is $2.32 a pound and that is if you buy at least four plus pounds.
At HEB the cheapest I can find boneless, skinless chicken thigh is $1.79 a pound when buying at least four pounds at a time.
And we have been buying bone in and skin on chicken thighs a lot lately as well. I can get a bulk package at Sams for $0.90 per pound and again there are 18 to 20 in a pack which will feed my family 2-3 meals.
At Walmart and HEB the cheapest I can get bone in and skin on thighs is $0.99 per pound and they are in 4-5 pound packs.
Chicken breasts, boneless, skinless chicken thighs and skin on bone in chicken thighs are all cheapest at Sams when buying in bulk.
What I Buy at Sams Club in Bulk
I could go on and on listing the price comparisons of each item that I am buying in bulk but I think you get the picture. I am deliberate in my purchases and buy in large quantities when it is a cost savings to my family.
Let me give you a run down of each item I buy from Sams Club and what my local price is at our South Texas location. Remember, each of these items do not necessarily have to be purchased once per month. Some of them last us a lot longer.
- flour, 25 pound bag for $7.76
- granulated sugar, 10 pound bag for $4.76
- brown sugar, $4.28 for a 7 pound bag
- Sandwich bread, this is a regular on our list, $4.28 for 2 loaves of Nature’s Own
- hot dog, $3.48 for 24 count, only when we are cooking out or having them for lunch for the week
- hamburger buns, only when we are cooking out, $2.14 for 16 count
- garlic knot rolls, only when an Italian dish is on the menu, $5.98 for 24 rolls (this is for 2 meals)
- fresh boneless, skinless chicken breasts, $1.72 per pound
- fresh boneless, skinless chicken thighs, $1.62 per pound
- fresh bone in and skin on chicken thighs, $0.90 per pound
- bratwursts, during grilling season, $11.73 for pack of 18
- turkey lunch meat, $5.98 for 1 pound and 6 ounces
- hot dogs, $4.48 for 30 count, these make a great homeschool lunch
- rotisserie chicken, not a regular item but they have the best price when I need one at $4.98 per fryer
Grains and Dry Beans:
- white rice, $16.86 for 50 pounds
- basmati rice, $16.96 for 20 pounds
- dry pinto beans, $29.58 for 50 pounds
- Romain blend salad, $2.28 for 2.5 pounds
- Organic baby spring mix, $3.78 for 16 ounces
- cherry tomatoes, $4.48 for 2 pounds
- strawberries, $2.73 for 2 pounds (this is at the end of season when they are trying to get their inventory out)
- blueberries, when in season
- pineapple, when in season
- bananas, $1.82 for 3 pounds
- bell peppers, 6 pack for $5.48
- apples, $5.68 for 5 pounds
- onions, $5.42 for 10 pounds
- baking potatoes, $6.88 for 15 pounds
- sweet potatoes, when in season
- fresh green beans, when in season
- fresh broccoli, 2 pounds for $3.28
- fresh brussels sprouts, when in season
- fresh baby carrots, $3.28 for 3 pounds
- frozen berries, we use these for smoothies $8.98 for 48 ounces
- cheese sticks, $6.70 for 28 sticks
- shredded cheese, $11.83 for a 5 pound bag
- sour cream, $4.26 for 3 pound tub
- milk, it is cheaper at Walmart but if I do not have a Walmart trip that week I will buy it at Sams for $2.94 per gallon
- butter, $11.98 for 4 pounds
- cookie dough, $7.33 for 4.5 pound tub (total convenience food but my kids love making cookies so this is the cheaper than small packs of break and bake)
- canned Rotel tomatoes, $6.48 for 8 count
- canned corn, $5.98 for 12 count
- canned green beans, $5.98 for 12 count
- canned black beans, $6.48 for 8 count
- canned refried beans, $6.98 for 8 count
- cream of chicken soup, $8.82 for 10 packs of Campbells
- cream of mushroom soup, $8.82 for 10 packs of Campbells
- pancake mix, $6.58 for 10 pounds
- pancake syrup, $4.98 for 64 ounces
- large breakfast muffins, I get the variety pack for $5.98 for 9 muffins about once a month. This is one breakfast treat for our family.
- bagels, $2.98 for 6 count
- cereal, I buy Frosted Flakes, Frosted Mini Wheats, Special K or Honey Nut Cheerios depending on what has Instant Savings offers which will save me $2 to $4 per box
I alternate between the chips I buy based on what I am making for lunches and dinner each week
- Boxes Frito packs (for walking tacos OR for when we have a large family gathering like bday or holiday) , $13.98 for 50 count box
- Cheese Balls, I buy these about once a month, $6.73 for 35 ounces
- On the Border Tortillas Chips, $3.98 for 28 ounces
- Ruffles or Lays, $3.49 each and they are each 15-16 ounces per bag.
Condiments and Other Goods:
- Ketchup, $7.68 for 3 pk (44 oz per bottle)
- apple sauce, $6.98 for 3 containers that are 46 ounces each
- salsa, $5.96 for 2 count 38 ounces each (this is for our tacos which we have 2-3 times a month and I cook many recipes that call for salsa)
- Instant mashed potatoes, $5.98 for 65 servings
- olive oil, 3 liters for $19.98… last us a couple of months
- peanut butter , $6.52 for 2 jars that are each 40 ounces
- jelly, $6.86 for 2 jars that are 32 ounces each
- Members Mark orange juice,
- Country Time lemonade powder, 82.5 ounces for $6.98 (I keep this on hand for large gatherings so it is bought 1-2 times per year.)
- cranberry grape juice, $6.68 for 2 96 fl oz bottles
- Kool Aid pouches from time to time as a treat $5.98 for 40 pk
- Ozarka bottled water, $5.48 for 40 count
- dry Ranch powder, $8.58 for 16 ounces. This beats $1.74 for one ounce packets of the name brand!
- Taco seasoning, $5.82 for 23 ounces, so much cheaper than paying $0.44 per 1 ounce packet! Do the math!
- jarred garlic, $3.98 for 48 ounces
- poultry gravy, $4.48 for 18 ounces, I use this for a couple of recipes and buying it this way is cheaper than $1+ per packet.
- brown gravy mix, $4.28 for 21 ounces, I use this for a couple of recipes and buying it this way is cheaper than $1+ per packet.
- chicken bullion, $3.98 for 32 ounces
- diapers, $39.84 for 150 count
- wipes, $17.97 for 1152 wipes
- toothpaste, $12.98 for 5 pk
- OGX shampoo, sulfate and parabon free, $13.48 for 40 ounces
- Crest mouthwash, $9.98 for 3 pack (33 ounces each)
- Toothbrush Head for Sonicare, $39.98 for 6 pack (I only have to buy this about 2 times a year since I am the only one who uses them)
- paper plates, $15.66 for 300 count
- paper towels, $16.98 for 15 rolls
- toilet paper, $18.46 for 45 rolls
- Members Mark laundry detergent, $13.98 for 196 ounces
- oxi clean, $16.68 for 10 pounds, I use this instead of regular bleach and instead of color safe bleach
- Snuggle fabric softener, $9.56 for 168 ounces
- Members Mark dryer sheets, $7.66 for 480 count
- Cascade, 155 ounces for $9.98 and it will last me 4 months (I run my dishwasher daily!)
- Flash, multipurpose cleaner $7.98 for 300 ounces
- trash bags, $14.98 for 90
Dog Care Items:
- dog food, I love that I can get a 35 pound bag of grain free dog food that is in a ziplock resealable bag for $28.48
- Beggin’ Strips, $19.87 for 2 pack, 32 ounces per pack
Sams Club Membership
Yes, you do have to pay a membership fee to buy things at Sams but it is a once a year fee. It is $45 per year.
Aside from buying groceries at Sams we also have secured good deals on eye exams, car batteries, new tires for our vehicles and more.
During different seasons they have different offers through out the store on things like pillows, clothes, shoes, etc. I just bought 2 packs of really nice Serta pillows for less than $8 a pack!! You can’t get that pricing at Walmart. I changed out all of the kids pillows when they were this price during back to school time.
While I don’t buy over the counter medications at Sams, they do have god pricing in their pharmacy department for prescriptions which you have access to with your membership.
Club Pickup for Online Grocery Order
As a busy mom with many kids being able to order my groceries online is one way that I streamline my responsibilities.
Sam’s Club does offer online grocery orders and some locations allow you to pull up and they load it into your car.
That said, our location you have to get out and go in to pick up your order. This is a pain for moms with lots of children. I do not online grocery shop because I am lazy, I do it to save me time which is super valuable to mom of many who homeschools and works from home. This is one thing I wish our location would change.
I do love that Sams does not charge a fee at all for their online services. My budget certainly appreciates that.
Space to Store Bulk Grocery Hauls
As long as you have the space to store the things you’re buying AND you will use them up before the expiration date bulk grocery shopping is a win!
Looking for Recipes to Make for Large Families:
I share recipes that I make for my family every single week here on the blog. You can check our our large family meal planning for some great ideas!