Thursday, June 3, 2010

I Bought Something....but it's Going to Save me Money!

"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.....
That my friends is a heavy duty all aluminum, industrial restaurant grade cheese slicer with an adjustable blade.
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.



  1. I have never seen that cheese before. It says process American cheese on the label. Does this mean it is like Velveeta? Is it different in flavor or texture or what?

    But let me tell you something, that wire cheese slicer you got there? Those things are awesome! A W E S O M E !! And truly, the best way to cut through sticky cheeses like Velveeta.

    Give me some scoop on this cheese. Is is local? What's the deal?

    Nosy here in TX

  2. We don't eat a lot of sliced cheese around here, but I do the same thing with meats, especially ham, but also for deli meats and home cooked roasts or turkey breasts. I bought a Rival electric slicer (at a garage sale, of course) for $10 I think, almost 10 years ago. I also use it for homemade bread and I've even used it for potatoes once or twice.

    On a similar note, I've bought large bricks of cheese at the warehouse club and shredded it myself using my food processor. Although shredded cheese is often the same price as chunk cheese these days, if you don't mind the cornstarch or whatever it is they dust it with to keep it from sticking together.

  3. I would love to find a restaurant supply store around here. I used to go to one when we lived in CA. I have one of those cheapy slicers with the yellow plastic roller on it so I buy the presliced cheese in bulk at Sam's or Costco. Kevin and the girls eat lots of cheese so I usually run out before I plan a trip to one of those stores. If I think it is going to go bad soon, I make some casseroles or other dishes with it--or freeze it to use in cooking.

  4. Hmmm...I just realized that we have several restaurant supplies in the area. I might have to check them out. We use a LOT of shredded cheese at my house. Of course, I always stock up on sale, but I am always happy to find it cheaper.

    (And I think I read a version of this post already. You guest posted it somewhere, right? I just can't remember where.)

  5. Dear Nosy LisaPie--Cooper is an eastern brand of cheese. It's more like a Kraft sliced cheese but NOT a cheese 'food'. It's an american type cheese you get sliced at the deli counter but it has a sharpeness of cheddar, but it has more moisture than a reg. cheddar which is more aged and a hard cheese. Hoffman's is another brand that is similar--an american sliced cheese with a cheddar bite. HTH!

  6. AnnieJ--I prefer to grate my own cheese as well....can't stand those anti-caking agents they add, especially the Kraft brand. Sargento is better IMHO.
    Some day I'll find a meat slicer for cheap...until then I can use my mandolin slicer on some meats....not good for cheeses

  7. Sheila-check your phone book. Costco and Sam's prolly have the same if not similar items available in the restaurant supply store so you probably aren't missing much, if

  8. Frances--Yes, you are NOT hallucinating! I commented on Precious' blog this weekend and she took my comment and made a blog post using it, so you have seen most of this post

  9. Blessed are the cheesemakers! (that's a Monty Python thing)... or maybe the Cheeseslicers????

  10. Good deal!!! I gotta find me some cheese like that too!

  11. "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."-Does the boy ever poop when he is on a cheese binge? LOL
    I think that you made a wonderful investment! What kills me is that if I had figured it out sooner how much would I have saved. Don't even compute that one!!!

  12. Cooper's Sharp White, I can't get enough.
    We purchased a 2lb. block and used a home slicer and it did not last a day.
    Between myself and three other family members, it went fast. (Our two pups, Sam and Snowball run to the refrigerator when ever someone goes for the Cooper's Sharp)


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