The Clever Tip To Ensure You Don't Waste The Bulk Food You Buy At Costco

full shopping carts at Costco
full shopping carts at Costco - Tada Images/Shutterstock

To those who believe bigger is truly better, Costco is a miracle. Where else can you get a 48-pack of ginger and turmeric booster shots, 1,000 Splenda packs, and 10 pounds of ahi tuna in a single trip? On the surface, these bulk sizes seem to offer tremendous savings and smart value, which echoes findings that show buying in bulk saves shoppers significantly, on average. It stands to reason that shopping at Costco is a financially astute decision, so long as smart measures are taken — as were by one couple — to reduce and avoid waste.

Without careful attention to waste, you may find yourself losing the value gained by bulk prices and sizes. Indeed, those 72 Texas tamales,  the 72-pound whole-wheel Parmigiano Reggiano, and that sack of Kirkland Signature Tail-On Shrimp may go bad before you get through them all, be it due to expiration dates, freezer burn, or the cease-and-desist order sent from your gastro-intestinal system after tamale number 25. Considering that 40% of food in the United States is wasted generally, that could dramatically reduce the value of your Costco run. To mitigate such waste, one savvy couple created a spreadsheet to track their shopping at Costco and help them get the best value and least waste from their bulk haul — Costco's food court cookie included.

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Tracking For Value

package of pancakes
package of pancakes - Qwart/Getty Images

The couple shared on Reddit how their clever system is paying off. On the spreadsheet, the couple tracks eight categories on a weekly basis. For starters they have columns for the name of the product and the store at which it was last purchased. These are followed by columns for "too much/too little at beginning week" (How much do they have on hand at the start of the week?) and "too much/too little at end of week (How much remains as the week comes to a close?). After that they note if any of the product was thrown out, as well as the reason why. Then there are columns for "plan going forward" (What is the right amount to buy to avoid waste?) and "mitigation" (How might waste otherwise be reduced by different means, such as freezing, pickling, cooking a specific recipe, or repurposing the rotisserie chicken?).

With the big picture in front of them, the couple then makes adjustments to future shopping lists. "If something gets wasted from Costco ... it gets struck from the list," one of the couple explains in the Reddit post. She also sets up calendar notifications to keep up on data input, as consistency is essential to success. Judging by the comments, her efforts are appreciated. "I need to do something like this," one person responds. "I keep throwing away old onions and potatoes but somehow keep getting the giant bags of them at Costco." Another simply asks, "Liz Lemon? That you?"

Read the original article on Tasting Table.