Our Bulk Buy Lifestyle

I know I’ve written a little bit about the process of moving to Grenada, especially in this recent guest post I wrote called Expat 101: How To Move To A Foreign Country. However, one of the things that I haven’t mentioned is just how many items we bring down here every year.

Essentially, imagine going to your local big box store. You’ll probably grab your favorite brand of coffee, those razors that are on sale, and your go-to cereal. But here in Grenada, we can’t do that. Sure, they have a grocery store, but the items are by and large inconsistent from one week to the next.

So, in order to have everything we want here, we spend a good $500 – $1000 every time we go home on shampoo, deodorant, pens, pencils, folders, coffee, school books, power cords, etc. etc. etc. We literally look like pack rats with 20 lbs. of coffee and 4 bottles of my favorite lotion and seconds and thirds of a dozen of other items just stuffed into 4 bags.

Here’s a quick snapshot of one of our bags from our most recent trip:

Travelling to Grenada

You can see that we also have to buy all our vitamins, laundry detergent, and yes, even dog toys ahead of time. I actually buy Julep, our pup, 3-4 Nyla bones every year. I just keep them in a drawer and give them to her sporadically. We also have to buy her heartworm and tick medication one year in advance. That alone is $200.

It takes some planning, but it’s also just a unique part of this experience. We keep a running list throughout the year of everything we need or are missing. So far, we’ve managed to live without most things, but it sure is nice to have a little something from home when you need it! Still, I have a heart attack every time I look at the total in the checkout line at Target, but I just remind myself that I just bought toothpaste for the whole year!

Do you buy anything in bulk? Even though it’s a good deal, does it make you queasy in the checkout line?

About Catherine Alford

Catherine Alford aka "Cat" is a personal finance freelance writer who currently lives in the Caribbean with her husband and spoiled pup, Julep. To learn more about her writing services, please visit her Hire Me page or e-mail her at Cat[at]BudgetBlonde[dot]com. Follow her on Google + to get all the latest updates.

Lovely comments:

  1. Its a shame that most of those thing you probably couldn’t get at Target.com (I know a few of them you could) because the red target debit card gives you free shipping. They’d have to ship to Granada, right? That way its just the same amount of money as if you drove there for a routine shopping trip.

    • Hey Ashley – That’s a good idea, but we have to pay customs fees on everything that comes in. We’ve figured out over the years that it’s actually cheaper to pay for an extra bag on the plane than to ship to ourselves.

    • Awe! But even if you could, even if your package actually made it to the island, you would still have to pay at customs.
      Well done Cat, love the article. So true!

  2. Buying in bulk and in advance. That has to feel good on the pocketbook. I don’t buy much in bulk except for laundry detergent and maybe dog food, but those prices are usually high.

  3. It stinks you have to do that but it is pretty smart of you. The razors I use were on sale at Walmart for more than half off so I bought a bunch. I probably wont have to buy more for at least a year… maybe longer! I saved a ton of money too!

  4. We do buy in bulk, though generally only on things we know that we’ll use. I think the temptation is to do it in order to get a good deal, but if you’re throwing away half of it away because it has gone bad then you lose all of the savings. I would imagine that doing it, in your case, would take quite a bit of planning to make sure you get exactly what you want and pack it right.

  5. I do this several times a year. Whenever I`m back home on the canary islands (practically NO taxes) I always buy in bulk, everything from food to toiletries. saves a lot of money by doing so!

  6. Sounds like that takes a lot of planning. With four kids in our house, we definitely buy in bulk at Costco but only to last a couple of months. It’s a little bit of sticker shock at the checkout. I just keep reminding myself that it’s spread out over a couple of months in the budget and that in the long run we are saving money doing it.

  7. You mean they dont have a Costco or Walmart in Grenada, What about Whole Foods? Man am I spoiled!!

  8. Wow that’s pretty intense! Totally makes sense though. Thanks for linking to the guest post : )

    We haven’t been buying in bulk, but mainly because we buy items and stockpile when coupons are available and the items are on sale. This allows us to buy some items here and there as they go on sale.

    I’m sure if we moved abroad (especially to Grenada or some place similar) I would be buying in bulk just like you have been.

  9. I was going to be like, “look for a Carrefour, since you live in Granada”. Then I realized you live in GrEnada, and that I am an idiot.

  10. haha we do this 3-4 times a year when we go to Guatemala City, 8 hour drive away, there is a membership supermarket that has imported products. Before I used to bring food from France but since the US customs has made transit so complicated I do without.

  11. Too bad you can’t sign up for amazon prime and get free 2 day shipping! haha

  12. We buy in bulk when things go on sale and I can pair the sale with a coupon. I recently bought half a year’s worth of toothpaste because we got it for free. We also stock up on things that don’t go on sale very frequently, or are a really good deal. I drink a ton of seltzer water, so when it went on sale for $1.25 per 12pack we bought 10. We got funny looks and our spare bedroom looked like the water aisle of the grocery store for a while, but it saved us several dollars per 12pack at reg. price.

  13. I can’t say I bought items in bulk. I like going grocery shopping at least once a wee and when I travel it is a lot easier to travel light and buy all the essentials when you arrive at your destination.

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