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Buying Food in Bulk – What We Buy to Save Money

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With grocery prices skyrocketing and the world feeling a bit more turbulent with each passing day, we’ve found buying food in bulk to be a great strategy to both save us money and give us peace of mind. We’ll share with you our complete guide of what we stock up on and some tips and tricks to get the best bang for your buck!

Real Food on a Budget

I’m a firm believer that it is very possible to eat real, quality food, even if you are living within a tight budget. In fact, that’s what we’ve done for over a decade. But, doing so doesn’t just happen magically, it takes intentionality and planning.

While we are now able to grow the majority of the food we eat year-round—with a focus on storage crops, chickens for meat and eggs, and a family milk cow—it hasn’t always been that way. We’ve prioritized eating the best, high quality food possible before growing it ourselves and while living in the suburbs on a meager one income budget. In fact, we share our 7 best tips for saving money on organic foods from the grocery store here.

And a big part of how that’s been possible is buying food in bulk!

guide to buying food in bulk

Where are We Shopping?

The 2 main places we go to for purchasing large quantities of food are Azure Standard and Costco.

Azure Standard

Azure Standard is a unique naturally minded distributor that brings a great selection of bulk food to communities all over the United States. They have very high standards for offering high quality, whole foods and affordable prices. 

As opposed to a physical store, they are dependent on members of your local community coordinating monthly drops. You have the opportunity to order each month and pick up your items at a specified drop spot. Their delivery trucks will meet you on a designated date and time to deliver both fresh and frozen foods.

azure standard truck pick up
Local monthly Azure Standard truck pick up.

Before placing our first order with Azure, I was pretty intimidated. But, once I nailed down the things that I wanted to purchase, the process was very easy and has been a great fit for our family. 

We will share the specific bulk food items we buy from Azure below, but you can learn more about what they sell and how it works on their website.


To be completely honest, I have a love-hate relationship with this bulk food store. They have the best prices I’ve seen on certain items (even high quality and organic). But you also need to have a lot of willpower to not end up spending way more than you initially meant to.

organic bulk food stock up at costco

A few of my favorite tips for saving money while bulk shopping at Costco (or ANY grocery store!):

  1. Have a shopping list and stick to it!
  2. Stick to buying ingredients and avoid packaged convenience foods (even the tempting organic options).
  3. Pay in CASH. We use the cash envelope monthly budget system for our groceries and I’ve found that paying in cash helps to keep me accountable for our spending in a way that using a credit card doesn’t. There have been many times where I’ve put something back because we didn’t bring enough money and I never missed those things. You can learn more about how we set up our budget here.
  4. Limit trips until you really need to stock up. The less trips you take to the store, the less opportunity to spend extra dollars and more opportunity to use up all that you already have without food waste.
paying in cash for groceries

One drawback to shopping at Costco or other wholesale clubs like Sam’s Club is the annual membership fees. We’ve always asked for our Costco membership as a gift to avoid having these warehouse club fees be an additional expense. Because of the lower cost of many of their food items, especially pantry staples, we’ve found the membership to be worth it.

What Foods We Buy in Bulk to Save Money


Grains are an ideal food to stock up on to save money. This is especially true when in their unprocessed forms. Whole wheat berries or dent corn will keep fresh for years if stored properly before they are turned into flour. Having a grain mill has been well worth the investment for us to be able to purchase wheat berries in bulk and turn them into fresh flour as needed.

bulk organic wheat berries from azure

Azure Standard is our favorite place to buy organic grains to get the best bang for your buck. This is what we stock up on:

  • 50 lb bag Organic Hard Red Wheat (for bread/pizza dough)
  • 50 lb bag Organic Hard White Wheat (for bread/pizza dough)
  • 50 lb bag Organic Soft White Wheat (for baked goods)
  • 50 lb bag Organic Rye Berries (We use rye to feed our sourdough starter)

Organic Yellow Corn to grind into cornmeal – We grow this ourselves but if we didn’t, we’d also buy it from Azure.

stone ground cornmeal in wondermill junior

*You can also purchase smaller amounts (5 lb or 25 lb bags) of these whole grain items.

Spices and Seasonings

At this point, salt is the only thing in this category that we are buying in bulk. We may switch to buying individual seasonings for Azure in time. But for now, we are buying them at a local grocery store and not stocking up.

azure market bulk food order

Some grocery stores offer bulk bins of things like spices. We’ve avoided buying them that way because we don’t know how long they’ve been sitting there, out in the open.

25 lb bag Redmond Real Salt We LOVE this stuff and go through so much of it. Use code ‘fromscratch’ to save 15% off of your order! 

buying redmond sea salt in bulk

Other Pantry/Baking Items

Azure Standard
  • 25 lb bag Organic Black Beans
  • 5 lb bag Roasted, Organic Carob Powder – I was looking for a more nutritious alternative to cocoa powder for baking and making chocolate milk. It took a little bit of getting used to but I love this carob powder and it’s naturally sweet so I don’t even need to add any extra sweetener when I make chocolate milk! 
organic black beans in bulk from azure
  • Oats – One Degree Gluten Free Sprouted Rolled Oats (5 lb bags)
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Organic White Rice
  • Organic Coffee (Whole Bean)
  • Organic Peanut Butter
  • Organic Coconut Oil
  • Nuts (Almonds/Walnuts)
  • Organic Unrefined Cane Sugar
  • Organic Brown Sugar
  • Maple Syrup
  • Chocolate Chips
organic bulk food guide at costco

Olive Oil We are able to purchase organic olive oil locally from someone who sells bulk olive oil from their family’s olive farm in Greece. The big tip we’ve been told to find pure, unadulterated olive oil is to look for a source that only has one country of origin. When there are several countries listed, there’s a great chance of adulteration to the product.


With a family milk cow, we are able to meet all of our family’s dairy needs with plenty of cheese, yogurt, butter, sour cream, ice cream, etc. But if you don’t have a dairy animal, we’ve heard great things about the quality and prices of the dairy items from Azure Standard and Costco from friends.

fresh cow milk


This is another one that we always try to stock up on locally. Now we raise the majority of the meat that we eat with raising a few cows and chickens for meat. We also often barter for meat, especially pork, with friends.

Prior to raising our own meat, we always invested in buying meat in bulk. There were years we’d purchase a ½ pig, ¼ – ½ cow, and several whole chickens for meat. Or, for several years we were in a meat CSA program where we received a share of a mixture of beef, pork, and chicken each month for a set price. Both bulk buying options saved us a lot of money on buying high-quality meat from local businesses. 

shopping cart of bulk items at costco

Fruits and Veggies

Most of the fruits and veggies we eat all year we either grow ourselves and preserve or purchase locally in bulk and preserve. Our post on our top 10 storage crops shares many of my favorites. But here are a few specific ones that we love to grow or find in bulk locally:

Winter Squash – Because winter squash stores so well for many months, stocking up when they are in season in the fall is great idea.
Berries – Berries freeze very well so stocking up locally when they are in season is a great way to save money on the freshest fruit.
Apples – If you are preserving apples for apple sauce or dried apples, always ask for windfall apples or apple seconds to buy bulk apples for a fraction of the price.

  • Organic Frozen Broccoli
  • Organic Dates
costco bulk food stock up

Storing Bulk Food Items Safely

Making these bulk purchases is an investment! If you are going to put up hundreds of dollars to stock up on grains or meat, you want to make sure you are keeping it safe without running into expiration date issues.

For most dry goods, we store them in 5-gallon airtight, food-grade buckets with secured lids. Another great alternative is to store them in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. These very thick, secure bags extend the shelf life significantly for years, and with oxygen absorbers, you can trust that there won’t be issues with moisture or mold. We’ve been very happy with the storage bags from Wallaby Goods for storing bulk dried goods long term (use code FROMSCRATCH5 for $5 off).

storing grains in food grade buckets

For frozen bulk meats, fruits, and veggies, having an extra deep freeze or 2 is very helpful to safely store these items. We’ve had good luck buying second-hand deep freezes on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace for a fraction of the price of a new one.

The Case for Buying Food in Bulk

Our daughter likes to remind us how the Ingalls family in The Little House on the Prairie would only go to town a few times or less each year to stock up on the main essentials they needed. While times have changed significantly since then, we’ve found that having a similar approach of stocking up on certain bulk food items that your family enjoys can make a huge difference in cost savings and peace of mind.

What are your favorite food items to buy in bulk?

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buying food in bulk to save money

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  1. Hi! I’ve really enjoyed your YouTube channel and website. It’s been extremely helpful in getting us to be even more self sufficient. One question regarding milling your own grains: we’d love to get a grain mill but three out of the four of us have celiac. Would you suggest milling brown rice or other grains that are gluten free? Thank you so much!

    1. Hi! That’s a great question! I guess it would depend on how much you consume rice flour and other gluten free flours that you could use the mill for. If you do consume those types of things, I think it would be a great investment! We love to mill our own cornmeal with ours. So glad our videos have been helpful for you!

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