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The Art of Cooking in Bulk to Save Money, Time, and Energy

Cooking in bulk is glorious for many reasons. But I’m going to focus on the main three reasons:

  • Saves money on groceries
  • Saves time in shopping and preparation
  • Saves energy

**This post was written by Will Lipovsky, one of our excellent staff writers here at Life And My Finances. Enjoy!**

Saves Money on Groceries

Cooking in bulk first means buying in bulk. You can do this by getting a membership to a price club such as Costco, Sam’s Club, BJ’s Wholesale Club and the like. These memberships (which are about $50 annually) can pay for themselves fairly easily. They are generally known as an excellent value in the frugal community. But you don’t need to push around a giant grocery car in order to get giant savings…

Shopping in bulk sometimes means simply buying multiple things at once when they are on sale. Canned beans for 88 cents? Buy 12 of them! Bananas on sale? Time for smoothies and a chopping party so you can freeze them for later.

Buying groceries in large quantities generally is a great way to save money on groceries.

cooking in bulkSaves Time in Shopping and Preparation

Some people go shopping 3-4 times per week. When cooking in bulk, this definitely is not necessary. Once per week or twice max. This saves so much time because grocery shopping actually takes up quite a bit of your precious time. Actually picking out the items may not take too much time. But driving there, waiting to check out, checking out, packing the car, unpacking once you get home… it can all be a bit much. Your time is better spent making money.

And the time you save in preparation is insane! Cooking in bulk is a lot like investing. You spend a lot of time and money up front but eventually you’ll reap the rewards. On the weekends is when I do most of my bulk cooking. Especially on Sunday afternoon. It’s a great time to just go crazy in the kitchen. You can get all the burners going make a show of it.

I worked in a commercial kitchen in high school. If you didn’t, you may want to read Anthony Bourdain’s book, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly to see how real cooking is done. Real cooking is fast, focused and fiery.

To save time, I make sure all of my meats are thawed before cooking, unless they absolutely say to cook frozen. I also make sure all of my dishes are washed before I begin. Having to hand wash a dish mid-way through my cooking extravaganza is a real wet blanket. I also make sure and have all of my recipes well understood before I even go shopping. The last thing you want to do is realize you don’t have enough of an ingredient last minute. Not good.

I also aim to use as few dishes as possible so I save time on the cleanup. Though one mistake I made early on (which you should not) is that I used too few tools. The right tools make jobs much easier. I’ve found overall that it saves more time to go ahead and use the right utensils for the job. I’ve stopped trying to use one tablespoon for every job. Just make sure not to put dishes in the sink before all of your cooking is done. You may need them again.

Finally, make sure not to cook things for too long. You want to get everything out of the oven/off the burners as quickly as possible so you can move on to your next task.

cooking in bulkSaves Money on Energy

Ways to limit an energy bill is always good in my book. Cooking in bulk does just that. Cooking in bulk means you don’t have to cycle your appliances so much. Instead of preheating your oven half a dozen times throughout the week, you only need to do it once on the weekend. This also helps your appliances last longer. You also save money when washing dishes because you only have to fill your sink once and you only have to run your dishwasher a few times in one day instead of powering up the machine many times per week.

Cooking in Bulk – A More Peaceful Way to Live

Money and time aside, I find cooking in bulk to be a much more peaceful way to live. Sure, those Sunday afternoons may be hot, but throughout the week you can focus on more important things. Instead of slaving over the stove, you can be having sit down meals with your loved ones. And the meals you eat on your own will be more peaceful as well. You’ll simply heat up one of the many meals you’ve prepared for yourself on Sunday. Then you can read a book, watch a little YouTube, take a walk – do whatever you want with your lunch time.

Have you tried cooking in bulk?

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My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. One of the things I dislike the most about having so many roommates is lack of refrigerator space to store bulk-cooked meals. I currently make-do most weeks by sticking to sandwiches or a smaller “bulk” batch. Looking forward to a whole refrigerator to have my meals ready in.

    • Makes sense ZJ. Maybe you could get your own little mini-fridge for cheap so you can batch a few things!

  2. Absolutely! Costco and our Crock Pot make cooking simple. We eat half over the week we cook it and freeze the other half for times we don’t have the time or inclination to cook.

  3. I also worked in a kitchen and learned cooking from an early age from my dad. One thing he taught me while I was growing up was to get the most out of everything you cook. For example, if i roast a whole chicken for dinner one night i will take all of the bones and start a stock with them that night in the crockpot so when I get home from work I am already half way done with a soup! I try to buy all of my dried goods like rice, pasta beans etc from bulk stores, then I have a really good butcher shop which has great deals throughout the week like 2.99/lb ground beef specials and many other specials throughout the week. I have always believed that home cooking and stretching your dollar as far as it goes is a key component to saving money and sticking to a budget. I’m in college right now and own my own house at 25 and my first speech for public speaking was on this exact topic. I preach it daily to all of my friends

    • Absolutely! Thanks for all the tips, Devon!

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