Knowing the best foods to buy in bulk will save you money the next time you’re shopping at a big-box store. After all, food can get expensive when you’re trying to feed a family.
While the cost of buying items in bulk may sting a bit compared to what you normally spend at the grocery store, bulk-buying still has many benefits. You should only bulk-buy foods you know your family is going to use, otherwise you run the risk of spending money on items you don’t need and won’t use. If you follow this rule, you save money in the long run and avoid having to make future trips to the store to shell out on the same item.
Another benefit of bulk-buying is that you create a stockpile of foods in case of an emergency. You can’t predict that a month from now there will be a natural disaster that requires you to stay indoors, which is why having a supply of non-perishables your family can survive on is crucial.
One thing to consider when shopping at wholesale stores is that you should be buying things with relatively long shelf lives. This way, your food doesn’t spoil before you even get to use it. To prevent premature spoilage and save yourself money, we recommend investing in glass storage, as these air-tight containers do a great job of keeping your foods fresh.
If you’re ready to save money, keep scrolling for a list of the best foods to buy in bulk.
How Long Does Cinnamon Last
You won’t have to worry about cinnamon expiring anytime soon. This fragrant spice will last you one to two years if it’s ground. Cinnamon sticks are even more durable and will stay fresh for between three and four years. The only issue is that cinnamon may lose its flavor over time, so don’t wait too long to use it. Of course, there are so many delicious ways to cook with cinnamon that the cinnamon in your spice rack won’t last long.
How Long Do Canned Foods Last
People have canned foods since the 1700s as a means of preservation, so it’s no surprise that these goods can last ages. To ensure that your cans last as long as possible, you want to store them somewhere cool and dry. Cans exposed to extremely high and low temperatures can spoil faster. If you follow these steps, cans of acidic foods like tomatoes are safe to eat up to about 18 months. More basic foods, like meat and vegetables, can last between two and five years.
One word of caution regarding canned foods is that botulism poses a serious health risk. It's very rare now with modern canning techniques, but be sure to toss out cans that are badly dented as this is a possible sign of botulism. Other tell-tale marks include leaking, bulging, cracking, foul odors, and milky liquids that should be clear. If your can has any of these issues or the liquids inside spurt out when you open it, throw it away. Do not taste the food first!
How Long Do Dried Beans Last
Dried beans can last a lot longer than their canned counterparts and don’t come with the risk of botulism. Beans in polyethylene bags from the grocery store will last up to a year if you store them somewhere dry and dark. If you keep your beans in mylar bags, they can stay fresh for up to 10 years! Just make sure to soak your dried beans before cooking, as this will shorten cook time and reduce your beans’ gas-producing compounds.
How Long Does Olive Oil Last
It’s popular to cook with olive oil, so chances are you haven’t ever tested how long it lasts. The good news is that olive oil is safe to use for up to 20 months as long as it’s stored properly. That means putting it somewhere dark and away from extreme heat. Oh, and don’t forget to screw that lid on extra tight!
How Long Does Coconut Oil Last
How long does coconut oil last? Not very long in our house! This versatile ingredient has so many uses beyond the kitchen, so you can bet that we stock up at the store. Coconut oil is good to use for up to 18 to 24 months as long as you don’t introduce any foreign contaminants. This means using a clean spoon when you scoop coconut oil from the jar so you don’t accidentally leave behind food bits.
How Long Does Quinoa Last
Gluten-free quinoa is a tasty alternative to rice, and it lasts forever. Raw quinoa stays fresh for three to four years as long as it’s stored in an unopened, dry container. Once your rip open the box, toss the quinoa in the fridge where it will keep for two to three years. Then, you can grab a cup or two as you need to it make our favorite Lemon-Scallion Quinoa Pilaf.
How Long Does Ground Beef Last In Freezer
Meat can get expensive, especially if you’re shopping for others. Fortunately, ground beef is easy to freeze and can last indefinitely in the freezer, though it’ll probably taste best if you consume it within four months of freezing.
How Long Do Frozen Strawberries Blueberries Last
Fresh berries are expensive and only available at certain times of the year. Of course, you can still enjoy smoothies and fruity baked goods with frozen strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. As long as they stay frozen in their package, they’ll last for up to 12 months.
How Long Do Frozen Veggies Last
Sure, you could buy veggies from the produce section, but that requires cleaning and preparing them before you can even get to cooking. Time-saving frozen veggies are ideal for quick and easy weeknight dinner sides, so we’d bet your freezer is packed right now. Fortunately, frozen veggie packs last up to 12 months and are usually OK to eat after the expiration date on the package as long as they’ve been stored properly. (If you lost powder during a storm and everything in the freezer melted, you may want to toss your veggies.)
How Long Does Dried Fruit Last
Dried fruit is a snack you can toss in your kids’ lunch boxes and feel good about it. Plus, it’s a healthy way to curb sugar cravings. As long as you store it in an airtight container, it will last you several months at least. If you have any opened bags of dried fruit, those can still be eaten six to 12 months after their “best by” dates depending on the type of fruit. Cooler temperatures will extend dried fruit’s shelf life, so toss it in the fridge or freezer if you’re not going to use it soon.
How Long Do Chia Seeds Last
Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants, making them a popular ingredient in smoothies, salads, sandwiches, and puddings. Store your chia seeds in an airtight container and let them sit in a dark pantry and they’ll last for up to two years. Transfer them to the freezer for another two years of shelf life if necessary.
How Long Does Peanut Butter Last
Whether you slather it on a slice of bread or lick it straight from the spoon, peanut butter is a great source of protein, healthy fats, and essential vitamins and minerals. (Just make sure you’re buying nut butter without added sugar!) Given peanut butter’s health benefits, we don’t blame you for buying it multiple tubs at a time. Unopened peanut butter will last six to nine months.
How Long Does Protein Powder Last
Adding a protein powder to your diet can ensure that you get all the nutrients you need — and no, you don’t have to be some kind of super athlete to take one. If you’re guilty of not always eating a balanced diet (our hands are raised), a protein powder can supply your body with key vitamins and minerals. A typical protein powder lasts up to two years.
How Long Does Apple Cider Vinegar Last
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has so many uses, including as a weight-loss tool, an all-natural cleaner, and a laundry softener. It also lasts for about two years, which means you should stock up while it’s on sale and use it throughout the year to fight colds and add shine to your hair.
How Long Does Nutritional Yeast Last
Nutritional yeast is a trendy vegan-friendly powder that is truly a powerhouse. It’s contains all nine essential amino acids, as well as tons of B vitamins and trace minerals that the body uses in gene regulation, metabolism, and immunity. Nutritional yeast has a cheesy, nutty flavor, making it a great popcorn or pasta topping. It’s also an A-plus thickening agent in soups and sauces or sprinkled over a pet’s food bowl for added nutrients.
How Long Does Maple Syrup Last
Unopened glass jars of maple syrup can last basically forever as long as they're refrigerated. Keeping maple syrup cold prevents mold from forming. If your syrup does end up getting moldy, the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association says it’s perfectly fine to scoop off or strain the mold and continue eating the syrup. Once you’ve opened a bottle, it should last about a year in the refrigerator.
How Long Does Sugar Last
Granulated sugar is a kitchen staple for any baker. This sweet substance will last nearly two years, so don’t be afraid to stock up when it’s discounted. Sugar technically doesn’t spoil, so you can still enjoy it after the expiration date on the package.
How Long Does Salt Last
On the other end of the spice spectrum is salt. It too has a long shelf life at roughly five years, though it can last almost indefinitely in the pantry, as salt doesn’t spoil either.
How Long Does Unshelled Nuts Last
Nuts are a heart-healthy snack, but they’re pretty darn expensive. Lucky for you (and your wallet) unshelled nuts will last longer than their shelled counterparts. Pop unshelled nuts in the fridge for a snack that’ll last up to six months. If you need more time, freeze your nuts for up to a year and thaw a handful or so at a time.
How Long Do Popcorn Kernels Last
Air-popped popcorn is a surprisingly healthy, low-carb snack, which is why we recommend buying it in bulk. If you keep your pantry filled with good-for-you treats you’ll be less likely to eat a chocolate bar or a bag of chips. Plus, unpopped popcorn basically never spoils, so you can stockpile it indefinitely.
How Long Does Dried Pasta Last
Dried pasta is a necessity for busy parents everywhere. And if your kids are still in the house, the foreseeable future will be pretty darn busy. So, save some time and money buying pasta in bulk. It will last you one to two years, which is plenty of time to try out all our favorite pasta recipes.
How Long Does Honey Last
Honey is a potent flu-fighter with anti-bacterial properties, which makes it an ideal ingredient to have on hand during flu season. But honey’s health benefits can be enjoyed year round thanks to the fact that this sticky substance basically never spoils. Over time, honey can start to look cloudy, indicating that it’s crystallizing. However, this is totally normal and the honey is still safe to eat. All you have to do is warm up your honey and it will return to it’s normal texture and color.
How Long Do Oats Last
Oats are a traditional breakfast food that keep you fueled and full for an entire morning. They’re also a great staple to have on hand if you’re feeding a family because they’re cheap, they last forever, they’re easy to make, and customizing your bowl of oatmeal is oh so simple. Rolled oats last 18 to 24 months when stored in a cool pantry, so take your time coming up with the perfect oatmeal recipe.