Tying Up All the Assets

Paper towel fort

The hidden benefits of buying in bulk

I came home from Costco recently with a trunk full of supplies: two loaves of bread, juice boxes, cereal, chicken, and a box of garbage bags. Only when I reached into the cabinet to put away the garbage bags, I realized there was another unopened package already there. This bugs me to no end.

You see, fourteen years ago this week, my husband and I tied the knot. Soon afterwards, we made our first trip to Costco. I remember this, because like many newlyweds, we lived on a tight budget. Truth be told, our bank account was fat with all the red envelopes we received for our wedding, but I didn’t think that was money we could spend on say, Eggo waffles. Huge packages of Eggo waffles.

That was the way I was raised. In the traditional Chinese fashion, groceries are bought each day, depending on what is on the menu that night — which in turn is determined by what is fresh and at a good price. My mother held on to that habit — as much as was possible as a working mother in America— making stops at the local supermarket after work for the evening’s dinner.

My husband’s family approached grocery shopping in the manner typical of late-20th century Americans: go as infrequently as the size of your refrigerator (and second freezer in the garage) allow. I could go on and on about the differences, but after fourteen years, our lives are intertwined by more than mutual investments in bulk goods. So I sigh… and put the garbage bags away. I’ve got bigger fish to fry.


  1. says

    Coming to the US from India, I found myself in a position similar to yours. Back in India, we are used to using fresh ingredients–especially vegetables, fruits and meat. When I had to start shopping weekly in the US, it didn’t feel quite all right. But with time, I had to adapt to this way of shopping.

    Happy anniversary!

    • grace says

      Yes, it’s quite a culture shock. As a mother now, I manage to stock up on dry goods each week or two, but I still like to get my fruits, vegetabes and fish fresh. Thanks for reading!

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