To Buy or Not to Buy: When It’s Appropriate to Buy in Bulk
Posted By :Elena Difiore
Posted At : Monday, Jan 24, 2011
In this lackluster economy most of us are constantly on the lookout for the next best deal. Some of us scour the weekly ads hoping to find a few necessities on sale while others choose a different option altogether–wholesale stores. Whether it’s Costco or Sam’s Club, you can pretty much find anything in these gargantuan warehouse wonderlands. Although it’s convenient to be able to buy everything from tires to toothpaste in one place, it can also be a dangerous temptation for your wallet. Here at Unlock Your Wealth Radio we’ve compiled some tips and tricks to help you decide when it’s best to buy in bulk and when you should just stick with your local store.
Consider the Expiration Dates
When it comes to purchasing food in bulk, you need to be as honest as possible with yourself. Before making a bulk purchase, ask yourself, “Am I really going to eat 4lbs of grapes?” Many times, you’re not. However, seeing the “great deal” that’s being offered might tempt you into making a purchase that will undoubtedly end up losing you more money than it may have initially saved you. That being said, always be aware of expiration dates on items, especially when considering bulk purchases of any kind of produce. The two exceptions to this rule are if you have a large family (usually 6+ people), or if you plan on freezing the produce for later use (this works well for items such as broccoli).
Think “Price Per Unit”
Believe it or not, not every item sold in bulk comes at a discounted price. In order to make sure you’re getting the most for your money, consider the cost of the item on a “price per unit” basis. This will allow you to see what you’re really paying for each box of Cheerios in a carton and see if it’s really saving you any money compared to buying each box individually at your local grocery store.
Only Stock Up On the Necessities
By only buying bulk amounts of the products you use the most, you decrease the risk of losing money on your investment due to items going unused. Great products to buy in bulk may include: toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, paper plates, plastic cutlery, toothpaste, hand soap, etc. For new parents, baby products such as formula, diapers, and baby wipes are all great bulk purchases. All of these items are used on a daily basis and therefore you don’t have to worry about being stuck with leftovers. Also, by purchasing these items in bulk, you can save money on gas because you won’t have to run to the corner store every time you run out of tissues, diapers or paper towels.
Buy in Bulk, Don’t Consume in Bulk
One of the biggest issues with bulk buying is the temptation to get your money’s worth, even if that means downing a 10lb bag of tortilla chips in a week. That being said, don’t buy unhealthy items in bulk because you’ll be more likely to consume them in bulk out of fear that, if you don’t, you’ll lose money on the investment. For snacks or sugary sweets, such as cookies or soda, stick to your typical grocery store. Although a two-liter of soda may cost more per unit at the store than at a warehouse, the cost to your health is worth the extra money.
Whether it’s tissues or tampons, buying in bulk can save you a lot of money in the long run if you do it correctly. Next time you’re headed to Costco or Sam’s Club, bring a list of items with you and stick to that list. Don’t be tempted by the various vendors shelling out samples or the massive displays, find what you came for and only leave with what you need, not what youwant.