All It Cost Was “Please”

girlHeather says:

freebucket.jpgMy family goes through oatmeal at an amazing rate.  We have it nearly every morning with different add ins.  I purchase the oats in bulk , but the store is in an area that is nowhere near my usual circuit.  My regular grocery store was quiet the other morning and I had a brief chat with the lady in the bakery department.  I asked if she had any of the 5 gallon buckets used to store frosting.  She said I was welcome to have one, but that I would need to wash it out.

A little hot water, a little soap, and I now have a great place to keep my oats.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll be getting a few more for rice, flour, and sugar.

Remember to be considerate while asking, if the department is hopping, wait for another day.  Every bucket repurposed as bulk storage is one less bucket that heads for the recycling plant or the landfill.


  1. Heather on January 30, 2008 at 9:42 am

    I answered Kim in e-mail, but may turn this into it’s own post. Store brand oats are $1.25 lb/ for the large cannisters. When I buy organic oats from Whole Foods, they are $0.99 /lb. $0.26 doesn’t sound like a huge savings, but when multiplied over the course of a year, it really adds up. Googling this morning I found a source for oats ~ $0.92 lb including shipping. I’d just need a family to take 50lbs off my hand and I’d be set for the year. Although I’m quite sure when the baby is eating oatmeal, too and my stepdaughter is here we could probably use that last 50lb bag once I take baking (granola bars, bread, and cookies) into consideration.
    I keep 5 gallon buckets on the floor of my pantry. (Almost had quite an embarrassing typo there) I am very lucky to be blessed with adequate storage, but the garage would also work if I run out of room

  2. chocolatechic on January 30, 2008 at 9:24 am

    Ivy, it is called purchasing in bulk.

  3. kim on January 30, 2008 at 1:14 am

    We eat oatmeal everyday. How do you buy it in bulk? How much is it? I pay under $2 for a store brand big canister.

  4. Meday on January 29, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    I wonder if you have any nice oatmeal recipe. I bought some the other day as it was cheaper than the normal porridge oats we have, but I tried to cook it with milk like porridge and it was horrible, any suggestions?
    We are all vegans too……

  5. Amy on January 29, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    Soooo smart! Great frugal tip!

  6. Margaret on January 29, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    Also, Tracy, I used to keep all my flours in bags in the cupboard, but apparently one time they got too old and I had BUGS in all my bags!! So now I keep my plastic bags of extras in the freezer and put the stuff I’m using in canisters. I think (someone correct me if I’m wrong) that hard containers with lids keep the bugs at bay.

    I buy flour in big 25lb. bags and just keep a regular canister in the kitchen. By the way, I learned that you can freeze flour and oats, etc. in paper bags with no harm done. I always thought it had to be plastic.

    Question for HEather: where do you actually keep the bucket of oats? Kitchen??

  7. Badbadivy on January 29, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    Tracy, Heather buys those items in bulk where they don’t have original packaging. I can’t think of the word, but the stuff all comes in bins and you usually provide your own storage. With the larger bucket. Heather will be able to buy more at one time, saving both time and money for gas to get out to the store.

    I hope this explains it! 🙂

  8. Tracy on January 29, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    OK. I’m confused. Why can’t you just store the oats in the cabinet? I keep my oats (all the different kinds), rice, beans, lentils, sugar and white flour in the cabinet in the original packaging. Am I doing that wrong???

  9. Jasi on January 29, 2008 at 10:26 am

    That is so cool! Buying in bulk is fabulous, but recycling bins is even better. Love these ideas.

  10. chocolatechic on January 29, 2008 at 9:19 am

    I do this with all my different flours. I have 4 of them.

    I never thought about doing that with oats.

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