A Textbook Cheapskate: The Benefits of Buying in Bulk

For those of you who don’t know, I am a textbook Cheapskate. Here’s my somewhat crude, yet probably accurate, definition of this term:

Cheapskate (CHEEP- skEIGHt)- One who can always rationalize spending less on necessities, or simply going without items they need, because they are in a constant state of financial panic.

I mean, in my opinion, being a cheap skate is totally forgivable because it usually stems from actual financial trouble. However, it can occasionally stem from stinginess and being a Scrooge. But look at it this way- If I KNOW I can buy headphones on ebay for less than a dollar (PLUS shipping- AYO!), why would I give Target ten dollars for the same product? Even if it does take the ebay headphones three weeks to arrive. From Hong Kong. Through USPS.

Since we’re on the subject, my ebay headphones arrived yesterday.

(Please Excuse The Poor Photo Quality- We here at Jessamyn Industries are Struggling with Rudimentary Point and Shoot Skills.)

I am abnormally rough on my headphones, and I typically have to buy a new pair every 4-6 months. As mentioned, these were found on ebay for a delightful $0.65. With free shipping! Yes, they may have been shipped from Hong Kong, and it might have taken three weeks for the magical package to arrive. And maybe (just maybe) the sound quality makes Lady Gaga sound like she’s singing “Monster” from the interior of a cyclone. But DAMNIT, I found $0.65 headphones. Be Jealous of Me!

(Whatever, I’ll probably have to buy the Target headphones anyway. RAWRGRRR.)

Anyway, being a cheapskate can result in a tendency to purchase products that are not only bad for you but bad for the environment. This is especially notable in the food industry (Is there any other reason why McDonalds owns almost the entire world?). However, my affinity for being a cheapskate has helped me develop at least one good food purchasing habit: Buying In Bulk.

And I’m not talking about buying 12-dozen gallon pallets of almond milk from Costco or Sam’s Club (although if you have an army of children, this is a perfectly acceptable life choice).

I’m talking about the bins of dry goods in your local health food store- buying in bulk is basically like playing the game Oregon Trail in real life. Am I right that scooping grain totally feels like being in a frontier general store?

Anyway, here are three of my favorite bulk items.


1) Lentils

Lentils are probably my favorite bean. They are so versatile, and are an excellent staple to have on hand when you’re running low on food.


2) Whole-Wheat couscous

I can’t say enough good things about couscous. It’s filling, and a small portion of dry grain results in a heaping serving of couscous. One time, I was SO EXCITED about my new bag of couscous that I spilled the entirety of the bag on the floor of my car. Trust me, that experience was WAY less funny than the anecdote has turned out to be.


3) Brown Rice

Next to macaroni and cheese (my food savior), rice is my favorite food. It probably has something to do with my heritage (eastern North Carolinians are renowned for impressive rice appetites.) However, in case you didn’t know, white rice? Not very good for you. Most people who don’t like brown rice have been forced to eat it when it wasn’t properly cooked (which, in defense of the offending chefs, is not an uncommon circumstance). I’ve found that brown rice (especially rough, organic grain) cooks better after it has been rinsed a couple of times and soaked for a few minutes prior to cooking.

In general, buying in bulk is significantly cheaper than buying pre-packaged items. It also uses significantly less packaging, creating less waste.

The list of items I prefer to buy in bulk extends way past these three items (quinoa, black-eyed peas, whole-wheat flour, etc), but these are just a couple of ‘can’t-live-without’s. What Are Your Favorite Items To Buy In Bulk?

By The Way, What Kind of Earbuds Are You Using? Maybe I should take advice from others instead of using ebay as my guidebook :).

Also, though I usually buy most of my bulk items from the Whole Foods Market in Winston-Salem, if you are in or near Greensboro, NC, run (or walk or bike) to Deep Roots Co-Op Market for all of your bulk food needs. Deep Roots is a co-op which truly exists as a product of the GREENsboro community, and they always have really fresh bulk items.



Filed under food, grocery shopping, grocery stores, meal planning, shopping

9 responses to “A Textbook Cheapskate: The Benefits of Buying in Bulk

  1. I consider myself a cheapskate as well, but $.65, you win girl! I always shop around for the best price online and at various stores, especially if it is a high price item….Maybe cheapskate is a little harsh though, how about Recessionista? haha I also buy bulk, usually nuts and various dried fruit, cereal, etc to make a healthy on-the-go trail mix snack 🙂

  2. Kris

    I would consider tucking your headphones in your shirt while exercising. If you’re able to clip iPod on waist or pocket, run the chord up your torso under your clothing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ll flipped the buds out while lifting. In the shirt, no problems.

  3. I love to buy in bulk! We have an amazing grocery store near us called Wegmans and they have an awesome bulk foods section. I’m big on buying nuts in bulk. Nuts are generally expensive, so if you’re baking something and only need a small amount, you can get that in the bulk section without paying for a large bag that you won’t use up!

    • Yes! Buying nuts in bulk is an excellent idea-I’ve gone my entire life disliking nuts. However, I absolutely LOVE nut cheeses, so I want to buy a better food processor and try to make some on my own. Like ricotta cheese made from macadamia nuts? SO FREAKING DELICIOUS.

  4. I never knew the bulk aisle at Whole Foods could be so hilarious. I just giggled aloud at the Oregon Trail reference. So very true, girl. So verrry true. I am totally psyched for your 65 cent earbud score. Hope they hold up! I bought a pair of Sony earbuds (white cord, green ear things) and they’ve lasted surprisingly long– way longer than the Apple guys. Hope you have a great weekend!

    • Headphone update: While Lady Gaga may still be singing in a cyclone, I’ve learned to enjoy the sound of vocals rushing through the wind. Until further notice, these headphones have made the cut. Therefore, buying cheap headphones on ebay? Not a bad idea. Though I may need to look into Sony earbuds- the true test of their strength will be whether or not they can survive my treacherous ‘working’ conditions.

  5. Pingback: Product Review: Siggi’s Icelandic Style Skyr Yogurt | One Is The Magic Number

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