Buying in bulk can help you to save money on things that you use daily. While purchasing a large quantity of items at once can indeed save you money, buying in bulk does not work in every situation. Read on to learn whether buying in bulk is appropriate for you.
Buying in Bulk: The Fundamentals
Buying in bulk is about more than just picking up the largest size of an item and hoping you will need it later. One of the main rules of bulk purchasing is to determine how often you will use the item and how long you can expect it to last before having to restock. For example, a large container of salad dressing may be a better deal when comparing the price per ounce. However, if it’s something that you’ll rarely eat, then it may expire and need to be thrown out. If you buy an item that you will not use much, then it is a waste of money.
Another thing you need to know is how to comparison shop. Items sold in bulk are typically priced lower than smaller sizes of the same item. A four-roll package of toilet paper will have a higher cost per unit than a 100-roll package. In some cases, the price per unit for bulk items is only slightly lower than it would be for a smaller quantity of the item, so it helps to understand how to compare unit pricing. When you are shopping, most stores have a price listed on the shelf in large print. However, if you look at the same price label, you will notice that the cost per unit is also displayed. Using the example of the toilet paper, a four-roll pack will have a price per unit that is likely to be higher than the price per unit on a 100-roll pack.
Pros and Cons
While an understanding of cost per unit is an important aspect of buying in bulk, there are some other aspects to consider before deciding if bulk purchasing is right for you. When it comes to bulk purchasing, there are several benefits:
- Cheaper cost per unit, which helps you to save money over time
- Even small savings can add up
- You are less likely to run out of essential items
- Bulk buying reduces packaging, which is better for the environment
- Buying in bulk is great for meal prep and for families since it reduces the cost of ingredients
While there are a lot of positive aspects associated with buying in bulk, there are also some aspects to consider, including the following:
- Buying in bulk can initially be expensive and may not work for those on a tight budget
- You may be tempted to use more of a product if you buy a large quantity
- Bulk purchases often come in large containers/packaging so adequate storage is needed
- Membership clubs charge a fee, so this is an additional expense on top of your purchases
Always weigh the pros and cons before deciding if bulk buying is right for you. If you are limited in space, are trying to stick to a strict budget, or live alone, buying items in bulk may not work for you. Evaluate your personal situation to decide if it would make sense to buy larger quantities.
The Best Items to Buy in Bulk
While comparing the pros and cons is certainly important, there are some items that are usually better to buy in bulk. Knowing which items are better to buy in large quantities will help you avoid getting things you don’t need or wasting money by buying too much.
Things that you use often such as toiletries, as well as staple food items, are usually a good bet when buying in bulk. Here are some other things to buy in bulk:
- Oral hygiene products like toothpaste, mouthwash, and floss
- Dry goods like rice and beans
- Paper products like toilet paper and paper towels
When it comes to deciding what not to buy, it’s generally best to avoid buying perishables such as fruit, vegetables, and dairy products in bulk. Unless you have a business that relies heavily on perishable ingredients—such as a bakery or catering company—buying perishables in bulk is a bad idea. Perishable items spoil faster than shelf-stable items and therefore may be inedible before you can use them all.
Should You Buy in Bulk to Save More Money?
The biggest question that people have about buying bulk is, will it really save you money? In short, yes, buying in large quantities can often be cheaper when thinking in terms of cost per unit. However, before buying in bulk, you should consider your lifestyle and financial goals. If you do not have room in your budget to spend a larger amount upfront, then buying in bulk might not be right for you. However, if you factor in the cost per unit and the fact that fewer shopping trips are needed since the items will last longer, then bulk purchasing might be the right move.