Buying in Bulk: Items to Skip and Items to Buy

bulkBuying in bulk can save you lots of money if you do it right! Buy the wrong items, however, and you’ll end up throwing items away and spending more money than you need to. Next time you go to the store for a big haul, keep this list in mind.

Buy: Toothbrushes

You and your family member should be replacing your toothbrushes every three months. Buying one at a time can cost far more than buying a pack of 10 and saving them for when people need them.

Skip: Any perishable food

There is an exception to this: if you plan on processing and properly freezing/storing perishable goods as soon as you buy it, perishable food may be a good deal. Generally, though, produce and other perishable goods will go bad before you can use up a bulk supply.

Tip: If you do buy perishable food in bulk take care of getting it prepared for freezing right away.  When you let it sit in the fridge too long you risk it going bad (believe me, I know).

Also See How To Grow and Maintain a Stockpile

Buy: Prescription medications

Even with insurance, prescription medications can be expensive. If your pharmacy allows you to get a 90-day prescription at a shot instead of a 30-day prescription, the price is often much lower than it is if you buy every month.

Skip: Paper products

Grocery stores try to get you in the door with low-priced necessity items. Unless you have a ton of space and go through lots of paper products every month, you may be better off buying paper towels and toilet paper as you need them.

Buy: Trash bags

Trash bags are the perfect bulk item. They get stored in a roll and you’ll be using them for the rest of your life. Go ahead and buy in bulk as long as you know you like the brand.

Also see Stocking Your Holiday Pantry Like a Pro!

Skip: Soda

Soda is another item that’s marked down almost every single week at a local grocery store. If you have lots of space or your household goes through lots of pop, buy a 12-pack at a time and just keep an eye on the ads. In addition, soda, especially bottled does not last forever.  In college I tried to stock up for my wedding and about 1/2 of it was flat when we opened it.

Buy: Dry rice and noodles

If you’re running short on a meal or you have unexpected guests, noodles or rice can make your meal go just a little bit further. Dry rice and noodles last almost indefinitely. Stock up!

Skip: Sunscreen and other facial care

Items like sunscreen, makeup, and face wash tend to go bad before you can use up a huge supply. Wait until items are in season or until you need to replace them. I just head to the dollar store, they often have name brands for only a buck.

If you do plan on stockpiling make sure you have room, find a storage rack in the garage or an unused closet and make your stockpiling pantry.  Make notes of the stuff that hung around too long (and don’t buy so much in the future) and the items that run out quickly and makes sure to buy more the next time it’s on sale.

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  1. Judy Gregory says

    On the idea of paper towels, it depends. I was browsing Amazon one night and found 30 individually wrapped roles of Scott brand paper towels for $5.96. That’s less than 20 cents a role. I really think it was a glitch because when I went back just a couple of hours later they were full price. I bought 4 boxes (120 rolls). Although difficult to store, I felt it was a super bargain that wouldn’t come around again soon.

  2. barbara says

    I usually get paper towels and TP at costco in bulk… they are my fave brand & it is a nuisance to have to buy them more often. I also get their kirkland signature toothpaste as it has all the “features” of brands but all in one product…. same with kirkland signature tuna…. anything with that brand is top quality i have found. they take the best features of the brands then roll out their own private label. I would avoid buying cosmetics/sunscreen at dollar stores and places like “grocery outle”t as many items are at or near their expiration date . Better than stocking soda is to not get it at all :) some years ago as i waited in line to recycle my empties for some small change it hit me that the savings would be even greater to just NOT buy it. I just make ice tea now and only get a diet coke now and then if out…(.the bottles are the least likely to be flat)

  3. Donna says

    Learned to buy in bulk during Carter years still do today even though I’m only feeding two instead of four. Sometimes something goes bad but that’s life.

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