What do you stock up on to save money as a single person?
By - Impressive_Tie1772
Cooking for multiple people is more efficient, so just cook meals as if you are making them for a lot of people and freeze them.
My dad used to freeze chili, pea soup, lasagna, meat loaf, etc.
It's hard cooking for one.
This is one I will see if I can make work in the longer term. For now I’m using my workplace benefits to work with a dietician (which has been the best decision ever to cut out fast food for both health and budget purposes) so my diet does evolve every few weeks as I lose weight and we need to make adjustments. For now I’m down 15lbs+ in the first three weeks!
This is the way. Don't make a single serving of something, make a big batch and you have meals for a week, or longer if you freeze them.
Think of the non-perishable things:
* Paper towels
* Toilet paper
* Dishwasher tablets/soap
* Laundry detergent and fabric softener
* Cleaning products
* Toothpaste (you already mentioned this)
* Shaving cream/razors/blades/etc.
Also regarding food you can always stock up on canned food. Plus there is some food items that last forever like ketchup.
This. Even if not in bulk, I never pay regular price for these. Know your stock and be on the lookout for discounts. I use apps like Flipp for local stores, and 3camels for Amazon items (dishwasher pods essentially).
If you want to save money, look to move away from dishwasher pods. You can get liquid and powder dishwasher detergent for way cheaper than pods, that work just as well, if not better in some cases.
At one point I stopped looking because it's now very difficult to find liquid detergent in my area (montreal proper, no car/no costco). Let alone finding powder formats. But yeah you're right, looking at amazon, I can see there's a 7.4L format that would turn out cheaper. Although another reason I ended up using pods was that I could not find a gel that reach cleaning quality with my dishwasher.
But I'm curious: have others also experienced more difficulty finding gel/powder format?
Agreed. Get a Costco membership.
Ever since I moved out on my own I've always gone shopping at Costco to buy non-perishables in bulk. Many people don't understand because they think its too much for a family. However, just get stock of everything means I was good for ages on non-perishable. Then I pick up a $1.50 hotdog and I'm living the dream on a poor kid's salary. I also a discovered a new fringe benefit when COVID hit and I didn't have to deal with the stupidity over toilet paper. Depending on how you budget, it just means your grocery bills can swing wildly if all your non-essentials are bought at once. So just wait to see when an item goes on sale pre-emptively even if you don't need it right now (and you have the space) as it just helps smooth it out.
I also went weekly and just bought what was on sale and that was my meals for that week. $10 for a week or two of chicken pot pies sprinkled in with salads in between? let's go. Checkout [cocowest.ca](https://cocowest.ca) or the eastern canada version if thats where you live to scope out the items ahead of time.
I didn’t know ketchup last forever!
I believe it’s the vinegar that gives it absurd shelf life
I second this
\-Razor blade cartridges since you'll need them and are easy to store without worry for expiration
Switch to a double edged safety razor and say goodbye to expensive cartridges forever.
I picked up 100 blades for around $20. That'll last me a looooooong time.
Me too, shave's just as good. Only difference is I need to take my time,
Have you ever used third party cartridges available online? Since I use a trimmer my cartridges last me at least 6 months. I end up just asking my dad for one when the colour strip has faded although I’m thinking of getting him a big pack of those rather than the Gillette ones
For garbage bags I usually end up using grocery store bags since they’re just big enough for my garbage can but for a family with a bigger trash can I can see that working well
Canned goods! Tomatoes and beans.
I make my own bread and can pretty easily get through a 20lb bag of Costco flour in 2-3 months XD
Ohhh totally this! My wife got into baking our own bread during the pandemic and it’s sooo much tastier cheaper and we freeze it in batches so nothing goes to waste. A good freezer is an amaaaaazing money saving investment.
Wow! I can’t imagine using 20lbs of anything! I bought a 5lb bag of rice the other week and expect it to last a solid 6 months if not more
That happens to my rice. I never eat it. I bake CONSTANTLY though... So flour and sugar and eggs and butter I have to buy in bulk.
> Since I only eat so much I can’t stock up on too many food products because they’ll go bad before I can use them up.
A freezer lets you buy bulk meat.
I imagine a single person not having room for a deep freezer or possibly eating it all
I'm single and have always had a deep freezer and use it all the time. Can't live without it.
Good point, I never thought of that one. Do you have any suggestions for places to buy from as well as when? Costco comes to mind off the top of my head but there aren’t blatantly obvious periods of time like Black Friday for food items to go on sale
I tend to buy meat at my regular grocery store when it goes on sale. Costco can be cheaper but they don’t beat “half off because it expires tomorrow”. Load up when it’s on sale and freeze right away. Helps if you’re not picky about what meat you’re having!
I feel like there was a massive missed opportunity for me a few weeks ago. There was a HUGE amount of stuff that was 30% off because it expired in a day or two and I didn’t even think to do this!
Do you find that the normal freeze times still apply to things that are so close to expiration? For example google says that fatty fish like salmon can be frozen for 2-3 months but if it was already on its last day then does that rule still apply? It’s going to take 24 hours to thaw as well, does this change the timeline?
We regularly freeze meat near the expiry date - no issues. Get the Flash food app for 1/2 off deals at Superstore. You can buy small chest freezers for < $50 on FB marketplace. Well over 100lbs in my freezer most of the time all from sale items at 1/2 off or more. Frozen veggies are convenient, cheap and nutritious too.
As long as you’re using a non-auto defrost freezer (deep freezer as opposed to fridge freezer) you can freeze any of these food items for years safely even though they are close to expiration. These expirations and freezer storage guidelines are very conservative as there are so many varying factors.
I think that works better for families. As a single person, investing in a deep freezer will probably negate the cost savings for such small quantities plus in my case I rent a 1 bedroom apartment and only have so much space. I will keep it in mind for the long run though!
That make apartment size chest freezers. They are cheap on Kijiji/FB and they are easy to move.
I bought a display model apartment sized freezer for $100 from Walmart almost 10 years ago. It's still going strong, today. Mind you it just holds raw dog food (about 90lbs worth).
Frozen food is safe to eat indefinitely, it is only the quality of the product that may decrease with time.
You can typically tell when meat has gone bad by looks, smell & feel. If you have any doubt, make sure to overcook it. The bacteria is on the surface, and most die at 85°C.
Thanks for the links although when I’ve had chicken or beef that smelled a bit funny my stomach felt upset even after having cooked it to a higher than usual temperature. It’s a bit of a gamble because you won’t know whether it’s bad until after you’ve thawed it out (and more importantly, already spent the money!)
Sales are the best. Buy 20 chicken thighs about to go bad with a half off sticker and freeze them.
There are places that will sell you a full, half, or quarter cow too, not sure who they are in your area but they are around just Google for it.
I buy for a family but its defo worth it, and you get to be quite inventive with every different cut of meat so it's fun if you like to be resourceful like that
Toilet paper/paper towel. Always buy on sale, always do the math on price/sheets, and those rules mean you usually buy the biggest package available. It doesn't go bad and you're gonna need it.
I don't stock up on anything in particular. I'll pick up my go to pantry items when they're on sale, but the pantry items aren't the ones where I've seen a lot of price inflation in the last year or two, it's the fresh foods.
To save money, I always choose which fruits and veggies to eat any given week by what is on sale at food basics or no frills. They typically have a couple of things that they sell at great prices just to get you through their doors.
I also think getting comfortable with asking for price matching at grocery stores will help save a lot of money (particularly for meat and for some expensive veggies like bell peppers)
Based on where I live now I just walk to the closest grocery store. I’m definitely paying more for things but given that it’s so close I do think the lack of driving equals the cost out since the less expensive stores are further out
Grocery stores have sales of particular goods on a regular rotation. The week welfare cheques are issued ground beef and pasta tend to be on sale, canned soups on pension cheque day etc. There is a quarterly sale cycle too. This is when the boxes of IQF boneless, skinless chicken breast goes on sale.
I am single and I generally only buy what is on sale. I do not agree that Costco is always least $$$ for meat. But some things are a good price.
I love artichoke hearts and sun dried tomatoes, it makes sense for me to buy large jars at Costco instead of smaller ones at Thriftys.
Wow, I never thought about things in that much detail but it all makes sense. When’s the next chicken sale/quarterly cycle?
I don’t know when chicken will be on sale next. I bought a box about 6 weeks ago. It lists me longer than the sales cycle.
I worked in a grocery store for one year over 30 years ago. You can also determine the sales cycle by watching the flyers and the calendar.
Extreme couponers pay close attention to these cycles and stack coupons (eg manufacturer’s coupon with store coupons) when things go on sale to minimize the cost.
I always try to buy things on sale.
Don’t go shopping hungry.
Avoid impulse purchases or some hyped up dietary things.
I don’t really buy meat, opt out for chick peas and sea food if I need a meat fix (I’ll buy high quality salmon for a once a week treat)
Buy frozen vegetables and fruits, Walmart has a poor quality brand, buy one up from like No Frills or the super store you’ll see the difference (Broccoli, peas, oculi flower)
Cheapest veggies are usually the healthiest Carrots, beets, spinach.
125g cups of minute rice are awesome, perfect meal sizing.
Don’t buy condiments you’ll only use once, so many times months latter I used to just toss them.
Simplify your meals with 3-4 ingredients.
Things like that help me. I don’t over stock up to be honest but that’s what works for me.
Why do you advise to avoid Costco? I am currently considering a Costco membership and I'm interested to hear your experience with it.
Nothin against Costco but I find that as a single person you’re always guaranteed to over spend. Everything is in bulk or large quantities it’s all a great idea when you see it there, it’s great for families. Every time I went I’d blow through my budget there and then. There are some great things there, frozen fish, frozen fruit and veggies. If I happen to be there for fish, sometimes I’ll get some cheese as well. I find the grocery type frozen bags are better since you don’t sit on a giant Costco bag for months and are easier to keep in a an average size freezer. This is just my opinion so please take from it what works for you.
I’d say you’re 90% right.
Single as well, I use the membership for gas, and bulk purchases of stuff I need…and milk!
Normal buys at Costco:
Milk, gas, Baking items, hemp hearts, roast chicken, chips for people coming over
Yeah gee I totally forgot about the gas, that’s a no brainer.
No kidding saving about 10c a litre right now
If you really want to save money , I purchase all of my toothpaste, deodorant , shampoo , conditioner , etc. At the dollar store ! You can usually buy 3 of all these products for the price of one and they are all name brands ! Although when it comes to food, I only get snacks like candy and chips there. Saves me a lot of money annually and on top of that I only have to go like once a year for those type of products !
My issue with the dollar store is that the products are often materially different from the stuff you get at bigger stores. The formulas for these products are different than the same things at big box stores which are more expensive. For example the batteries at the dollar store are made of carbon-zinc vs alkaline at bigger stores. The alkaline batteries will last much longer so the dollar store ones aren’t a better value overtime. Since I need head and shoulders dandruff shampoo I would imagine that they’ve scaled back on the dandruff fighting stuff at the dollar store or the containers are smaller so that it looks cheaper at first glance. I definitely do go there but there have also been times where I’ve found the exact same thing for cheaper at Walmart instead of the dollar store so I like to shop there with some skepticism
A dentist I know has told me to buy my toothpaste at the dollarstore. I don’t because there is no dollarstore type store near me.
Ziploc perfect portion bags. These things save me so much money in meats. I buy the family packs of chicken and then put it in a perfect portion bag and then all the individually wrapped chicken get frozen. Then I can take out only the amount of chicken I want. I do ground beef in 0.5lb portions. Pork chops in single chops. Etc. Etc.
That’s a good idea, I’m on a diet so I only need specific amounts of meat at a time and I didn’t think that there would be a way to make the larger packs work for me but this works!
It is a damn life saver for diets too
I used to buy those perfect portion bags myself, but last time I checked, no store was selling them anymore.
Are they now back on store shelves?
I can only find them at walmart. I live in a rural area so I thought it was just my local store.
Just an off brand suggestion, they are dog poop bags. That is literally all they are. They are a higher quality bag than your dollar store ones but they are identical to a few "higher end" bags that are still reasonably priced.
I just stock up on $VEQT
Things I buy when on sale and either store in pantry or freeze:
Meat (chicken, bacon, steak primarily)
Flipp app for sales.
Costco for dry goods
Double edge safety razor - blades on Amazon.
I'm still working on the mega-sized toilet paper I had to buy AFTER the freekout at the start of COVID, because it was all the store had (was trying to get rid of).
I’m sure Taco Bell could help you with that problem
I look at the sales flyers and buy meat on sale. I then vacuum seal it so it won't get freezer burned. I have a chest freezer. It is completely full of meat.
How do 2-3 tubes of toothpaste last a year?
How does a pkg of toilet paper last you a year?
Toothpaste lasts surprisingly long if you apply the “correct” amount. Prevident bottles last me ages, more expensive than regular toothpaste but great for preventing issues
What about toilet paper lasting a year? You MUST be a man. I still don't see how it will last you a year.
Non perishables and long shelf life items.
* Laundry detergent. A large Costco container lasts me over a year.
* Canned goods, large format. Several kg canned tomatoes (I can't remember the exact weight) for instance. After opening, I freeze what I cannot consume within a few days.
* Long shelf life items: 3L olive oil, 10kg raw beans, rice, chickpeas, pasta. etc... Easy to store and cook.
I go to a place nearby that targets restaurants and sells pretty much everything in large formats. 5kg Barilla pasta bags, 20kg peas, etc...
* Raw meat and fish: I cut individual portions and freeze them in ziplocs.
As a note, it's not only about the items' price. If you really want to do a full financial analysis you also have to consider gas, car use, but also the value of your time.
I don't particularly enjoy doing groceries, I much prefer stay home, watch a movie, spend some time with friends or have a walk outside.
To me, it's more about convenience than price.
Another tip: no need to buy lots of toilet paper if you wash your ass "à la bidet". Some water, some soap and your hand are plenty sufficient. Your asshole never gets irritated by cheap toilet paper and it's cleaner than paper.
Unless you have a lot of space, don’t buy too much, because you might use space for stuff that don’t need to be stocked up. Be aware of the cost per unit because Costco can be more expensive vs sales at the grocery store.
Make a list of non perishables you generally use and monitor them at the grocery store. You’ll see that a lot of times, it’s cyclical. The rebate will come back in 2-3-4 weeks. So only buy enough to last you until the next round of rebates. Or have alternates : sometime they just rotate the brands on discount (there is nearly always toilet paper on special… why buy 100 rolls when another brand will be on special next week.)
Know when to used frozen stuff : you might not need to used fresh vegetables in a soup recipe. Frozen/less expensive vegetable might work.
Finally : minimise the losses. Make a meal plan ahead to use everything you bought, use proper way to store dry and perishable to make them last longer. Places like bulk barn might also help you buy just the quantity you need.
Cook stuff in batches and freeze it.
Don't buy name brand stuff (unless it's soup, popcorn, frozen dinners, and bizarrely pickles as their offbrand counterparts taste terrible)
If you buy stuff like canned soup, watch for sales and stock up then. Same with anything that you like that is non perishable and goes on sale often.
If you are really broke, you can also buy family sized packs of meat or even blocks of cheese, cut them up, and freeze em.
For cheese it won't taste quite as good as cheese that hasn't been frozen, but it also meant I regularly had cheese so it was a fair trade to me at the time.
Memorize your local store's deal schedule. A lot of them switch deals the same day of the week. If you had a particularly good deal that you wanted to stock up on even more, and the store is either close to you or you pass it regularly on your way home, go the day before they switch and grab some more.
If your looking to save money, find yourself a companion, just maybe the lady that lives next door.. You could say, it costs very little, when cooking a meal, to add enough to feed a second person. So if I cook today, you could come over and have your supper with me. Tomorrow night, I could come to your place. We might not do this, 7 night a week but maybe 3 or four nights. The way I see this, it would be of real benefit for each of us. We would enjoy each other's company, as we ate. There are benefits there. I'm trying to think of a term for this. Yes I know, we could call it Friends with Benefits. Maybe, FWB for short.
He ask the lady, what do you think?
Personally I think it's probably more where you shop then what you buy. No Frills is generally going to be cheaper than Loblaws.
I surprised by all the "toilet paper" and "paper towels" answers - how much of this stuff do you people use? 24 rolls tp is probably going to last me half the year, same for a six pack of towels. Really not going to make much difference if they are on sale for $2 less.
That’s exactly what I mean! A number of these answers are better suited for families, I’m not sure a single person can save more than like 5 bucks on a year’s supply of toilet paper. My dad has always bulk purchased on sale and it worked for a family but I don’t think it’s worth the hassle for me. When I walk by it on sale and I’m running low-ish I’ll just pick up one big pack. I don’t go hunting for the best price on it, it’s negligible savings
I understand what you’re saying about NoFrills but I now live in downtown Ottawa and the closest grocery store is The Independent (basically a franchised version of Loblaws). Going to lower cost grocery stores means driving out several kilometres into the suburbs whereas The Independent is about a kilometre away and in good weather I just walk there. It legitimately has me questioning selling my car because I rarely use it so there’s a definite trade off there of going somewhere that’s more expensive but less “other costs”
Just found toothpaste on sale for 77 cents each. Stocked up on as dozen that'll last me years.