Friday, March 9

Bulk Barn: Let's Get Serious

I was looking forward to another trip to the local bulk food store today. In particular, I was hoping to find a really good bargain on rice.

Maybe I should backtrack a little bit here.

Due to the fact that I've become interested in buying a home I am motivated to work a little harder at being frugal. I know that hardly sounds possible, ahem, but indeed there are still some corners that can be painlessly cut.

One of these corners is the decision to start using rice as a staple side dish in order to inexpensively increase meal size. This means that I can scale back on the size of meat, bean and vegetable portions, within reason, and stretch my food dollar even further.

Now, don't worry, I'm a healthy guy! At a fit 200lb's there is no danger of me suffering from malnutrition or any other food disorder.

Anyway, to return to my original point, I was expecting to find some extra value in the local Bulk Barn. I was very surprised to find that the self serve tubs of rice were actually more expensive than the large bags of rice stacked on the bottom shelf at the supermarket.

I didn't pick one up today, but there is a nice big ~20lb bag of long grain brown rice with my name on it. While there was a cheaper brand I do prefer the long grain brown rice. However, at about $8.00 for this sack-o-rice I figure I can add $0.10 or $0.15 of rice to my dinners. It's so darned cheap it's like filling up on air!

Also, I am happy to report that the large flake oats at the Bulk Barn are about two thirds the price of the large flake oats at the Health Food store. I'll have to see if they are somewhat more processed or not, since I like mine as unprocessed as possible.

Anyhow, I guess I'm just writing to let you know what can be done. I don't expect all that many people to be willing to eat something as simple and unassuming as oats for breakfast most days. I do add yogurt, berries or other things from time to time, so it is both cheap and healthy, but most people are too spoiled to live like that.

I also don't expect everyone to cook up a couple cups of rice on the weekend so that they have plenty of rice waiting in the fridge. I don't even expect most people to get creative enough in their cooking to add spices, sauces, soups or find other ways to keep things interesting.

However, I do know that there are at least some people out there that take the time to plan meals and to cook accordingly, that take pleasure in some of the simpler things, that either want or need to find inexpensive ways to eat healthy. If you are reading this, then I know who you are...

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Jenn said...

Don't forget to check the price of grains and legumes at your local asain or hispanic market as well. Frequently a huge bag of rice is way cheaper than you get it at your regular grocery store or "bulk" place.

Frugal Guy said...

Hi Jenn,

That's a great idea... thanks for the tip

As I live in non-metropolis I'll have to see if I have one around. You can be sure I'll post about it if I find one!


Corrin said...

rice + cream of mushroom soup = fabulous

I know, I know. It sounds blah, but it's wonderful, and you can eat for two days on one batch!

Jenn @ Frugal Upstate said...

I'm not exactly in a large metropolis either, but as long as their is a small ethinic population around then their is usually a small ethinic store hidden somewhere. By any chance did you find one? (I'm just nosey)

frugal guy said...


I've spotted a so called asian market, but I haven't had time to stop in yet.

By the way, I just stopped by, congrats on having your blog recognized like that, that's awesome.

Anonymous said...

Rice can be used as an awesome breakfast cereal as made it hot with butter, sugar and milk. I like mine with just a touch of butter and milk....nix the butter.

Robbie said...

I definitely do oats. :) I'm going through a very similar healthy-but-cheap scale-down on my grocery bill that I'm documenting at Frugal Metropolis (
I'll list your blog to add to the reader interest.

Good luck, and that was a GREAT deal on that rice. I'm impressed.

Paul said...

We've also added rice as a staple to our diet. I got a huge 20 pound bag of Jasmine rice for $16 at Costco.

I never really liked cooking rice until I got my pressure cooker. White rice takes 5 minutes, and brown rice takes 15 minutes. So you save a lot of time and heat energy with the pressure cooker.