"Sometimes you need to spend money to make money" is how that old saying goes.
And sometimes, that old saying is correct!
While being frugal is all about NOT spending money, a little spent can, in the long run, make you more frugal.
This past weekend, the story all started with a cheesecake......
DH and I wanted to splurge on a gourmet cheesecake this week. Since I didn't feel like making a cheesecake, we headed over to the restaurant supply store a few miles down the road. This is a local go-to store for local eating establishments. They stock not only baking/serving/restaurant containers, etc. but they stock a small assortment of foodstuffs. Most of it is industrial sized.....mega cans of fruit cocktail, tomato products, pickles, condiments, etc. so not very consumer-friendly unless you can use up or repackage large quantities of an item. They do also carry frozen and refrigerated goods but they are also large packages.
We picked up the cheesecake and were browsing in the containers/utensils part of the store and I saw this.....
And I purchased that bad boy for almost $10.
(It's the first thing I have bought for myself that isn't food or toiletries in a very long time.)
Now I can hear you thinking, "Why did she buy that thing?".
Because that slicer is going to save me some BIG Money over the course of the next year!
We eat a lot of sliced deli-style cheese here.
Our cheese of choice is Cooper's Sharp....well, I like Hoffman's Xtra Sharp too but we usually buy Cooper's as it costs less.
But Cooper's is NOT cheap, nor does it go on sale often here.
Regular price is $6.99lb.
Lowest Sale price is $4.99lb.
When #2 son is on a Grilled Cheese binge, we can go through 1-2lbs a week between his and the rest of the family's consumption.
That restaurant supply store also carries this item.....
5lb. blocks of Cooper's Sharp Cheese.
5lbs. of unsliced cheese.
5lbs. of cheese would cost me $34.95 at the deli, on sale, the least expensive I could get it for is $24.95.
I paid $16.25 for this unsliced block of cheese.
That comes out to $3.25 a lb.
With this 1 block I'll be saving between $18.70 & $8.70 on 5lbs, depending on if I had bought the cheese at the deli at regular price or on sale.
When this 5lbs. is gone, I will have already saved enough to pay for the cheese slicer.
If we go through a lb. of cheese a week(it's probably more but let's say 1 lb.), that's 52 lbs. of deli-cheese a year. That's $363.48 a YEAR on $6.99lb. cheese at the deli....$259.48 a YEAR if I could find it on sale every week.
Buying it in 5lb. blocks and slicing it myself I would pay $169.00 a YEAR for the same amount of cheese.
$363.48 vs. $169.00
That's a savings of $194.48 a year just on cheese!
Now if we liked cheaper brands of cheese, those come sliced but in 5lb. blocks/stacks for about $11 per block. This is the stuff that sells regularly priced at the deli counter for $3.49lb. Just buying a larger amount at the supply store you save $6.45 per 5lbs.with no slicer or slicing skills needed!
If you don't think you can eat it all before it goes bad, there are two other options....
1. Find a friend or neighbor who uses cheese and buy a 5lb. block together and split it. Eating 2.5lbs. of cheese is not as opposing a feat.
2. Slice the whole 5lb. block and wrap some of it and place in your freezer. I wouldn't recommend freezing it BEFORE slicing since the freezing process can make your cheese hard to slice when it thaws. Frozen cheese tends to fall apart and crumble, so slice it first.
At any rate, buying in bulk can be a savings if you do your math first to make sure it's a good deal, and make sure you can/will consume all of the product and not let it go to waste.
Check locally for restaurant supply stores or warehouse club type clubs too, as some of those will carry bulk foodstuffs.