Buy Sugar by the Barrel

Do you want to save money? A hundred-year-old old home economics textbook says that it cheaper to buy sugar by the barrel:

When much preserving, canning, and jelly-making is to be done, a considerable saving is accomplished when sugar is bought by the barrel at its lowest price. An inspection of the fluctuation in food prices published in the daily paper will tell the woman who knows when she can buy most profitably. Sugar is a staple which it pays to buy in larger quantities than some other foods.

How to Cook and Why by Elizabeth Condit and Jessie A. Long (1914)

21 thoughts on “Buy Sugar by the Barrel

    1. I’m in awe that you have hummingbirds in your yard. One summer when my children were still at home, we bought a hummingbird feeder and filled it with sugar syrup – but, alas, no hummingbirds ever found it.

      1. I can understand your awe. People on Long Island told me there were hummingbirds, but I never saw a one. The birds found our feeders in NC quickly. There is one feeder just outside our back porch, and we watch hummers at every meal in season. The other feeder is beyond my computer monitor, so I see them for hours a day. I wish you and your children could have seen the birds. They are fascinating.

  1. Good advice even for today! Just a word of warning though ,not always is buying in bulk cheaper. I have found there were times it was cheaper to buy in smaller quantities.

    1. I’ve also had similar experiences – where the smaller size is sometimes cheaper. Companies apparently think that people won’t actually take the time to figure out which is cheaper, and will just buy the larger size regardless of price.

  2. I’ve kept sugar for as much as six months at least, and it’s been fine, so I suspect this is good advice for someone who intended a good bit of jelly-making, regular baking, and such. I can’t think of any food that I buy in bulk, although when I see a good price on paper towels or toilet paper, I’ll stock up.

  3. A hundred years ago, most everything was cooked from scratch so lots of jelly and jams and baking was being done then. I googled the history of the price of sugar and there were huge fluctuations in prices so buying in bulk probably saved homemakers lots of money. It is hard to imagine have a barrel of sugar in our homes today. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. It’s fascinating that the price of sugar fluctuated a lot years ago. I don’t really pay much attention to the price of sugar, but my sense is that it is generally stable now (with occasional store specials and coupons).

  4. Anne is onto a good idea in her comment. However, short of opening a hummingbird cafe, I don’t think I’ll be buying sugar by the barrel. Call me a spendthrift if you must.

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