‘It is not selfish to buy discounted groceries in bulk’

Shoppers who buy cheap goods in bulk to keep their grocery bills low have been labeled “greedy” — but there’s one thing critics are ignoring.

In recent weeks, there has been a lot of buzz on social media about shoppers switching to buying discounted goods in bulk in an effort to keep their grocery bills low amid the rising cost of living.

They have been accused of ‘picking up’ the discounted items; called for their supposedly “rude”, “greedy” and “selfish” behavior in Facebook groups that, ironically, are made for Australia’s self-proclaimed “Markdown Addicts”.

“Yes, good value, but wouldn’t it be nice to leave some for someone else?” one user wrote in response to a Woolworths shopper who grabbed “every pack” of fish at a discount at her local store.

‘I couldn’t agree more. Greed seems to be taking over,” said another.

“Putting back a few packs could have fed another family for the night, but nobody thinks about others these days.”

But, speaking to news.com.au, Wendy Gower, who runs My Abundant Life – a blog and accompanying facebook page where she shares budget-friendly recipes, and tips for frugal living, crafts, and cleaning — said, “Customers shouldn’t be criticized for getting the most out of a good deal.”

“They are wise to take care of their family and budget,” said the mother of two.

While some Aussies are only now seriously looking to save money on their groceries for the first time – thanks to continued inflationary pressures and the rising cost of basic goods and amenities such as gasoline and fresh produce – Ms Gower has “always been a budget shopper, having lived for many years well below what the government calls low income”.

“Living on a budget, we were able to pay off our mortgage and a new car in five years,” she said.

“We keep our grocery bill low by keeping a healthy stock, cooking all meals from scratch, baking cookies, muffins, cakes and other goodies, baking our own bread, growing some fruits and vegetables in our backyard, food, ingredients to buy, generic brands and looking for meat price reductions† Our meals are tasty, simple and filling.”

Ms Gower, who started her blog in July 2014, also said that “meat is not the staple” of her family’s meals – instead, “we fill our plates with vegetables”.

“I often cook in bulk and all leftovers are frozen for future meals,” she said.

As many of us have learned in the past two years addressing the pandemic, she said: “Keeping a well-stocked pantry and bulk purchases is a great way to ensure you have enough food on hand for any kind of emergency, such as a job loss or illness.

“Bulk buying basic ingredients keeps my grocery budget low because I don’t pay for every increase in price,” said Ms. Gower.

“For example, if I bought 12 cans of tomatoes at 60 cents each and the price continues to rise, I will use the tomatoes for the cheaper price for many months.”

As convenient as it can be, she warned shoppers should exercise “some caution.”

“It doesn’t matter how cheap or good the items look, if it’s not something you usually use or the family doesn’t like it, it’s a waste of money,” Ms Gower said.

“You really need to know your prices. Just because it’s on sale or in a bigger box/tin, it might not be the cheapest price.

“Be sensible with how big your bulk purchase is. It must be consumed within a reasonable amount of time or else it may be wasted.”

When asked what else households can do when they’re stuffy, Ms Gower said in her own household that they are “trying to offset the rising cost of living by being aware of what we buy and use”.

“Household purchases are planned and kept. Lists are written for groceries. Food is not wasted,” she says.

“At our house we follow the two-light rule. I make my own cleaning supplies. We enjoy our home instead of looking for expensive entertainment. Gifts are bought on sale all year round.”

Read related topics:Cost of living

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