Are you frugal? If so, you’re probably conditioned to visit a shopping warehouse like Costco or Sam’s Club in order to try to save on groceries. But before you go on a money saving trip to these stores, check out some of the exceptions to the rule that supports buying in bulk. Apparently, bulk buying is not always the most frugal option. Here are some of those interesting exceptions I’ve explored.
10 Things Not To Buy In Bulk
- Brown rice – because it’s perishable, with a shorter shelf life than white rice.
- Candy – it’s not good to buy a lot at once, for the simple reason that it may lead to bulk eating, which isn’t healthy. You have a tendency to buy more, eat more then buy more again, which sucks you into an unhealthy cycle.
- Paper towels – too much can take up space that you can use for other things.
- Tower towels – see paper towels.
- Mayonnaise and other condiments – these are not high consumption items and they don’t store forever.
- Vitamins and supplements – this can turn out to be a waste if you’re not careful. Plus they’re generally expensive. Buying them in bulk and consuming your entire stash requires commitment.
- Disposable diapers – babies grow fast!
- Bleach – goes bad over time.
- Spices – they lose their potency at some point.
- Bread – imagine stale, old bread, if you’re unable to consume it in time.
Well that’s a sampling of what you shouldn’t be hoarding without careful thought. In general, I find the list somewhat counter-intuitive (it was initially proposed in an MSN Money article) since many of the items here lend itself to storage and deferred use. In my case, I tend to make larger volume purchases on non-perishables that I know we’ll be needing for the month. I think that it’s alright to “bulk buy” in general if you set a time limit for how much you’ll consume, and then plan on your purchases with that timeline in mind. Stocking up on goods may not necessarily save you money unless you have a plan for consuming those goods within a specific period of time (and you can guarantee their ultimate consumption). Now some savvier shoppers may decide to go ahead and make large purchases anyway when such items go on sale, even though they expect to incur some level of waste in the future. They may feel that even with the waste accounted for, they could still come out ahead. Not necessarily good for the environment, but some people may feel that any savings they incur should justify their shopping habits.
Then there’s the issue of pricing. You want to scrutinize those price tags closely. When you’re out shopping, scour the shelves well to see if you’re really getting the deal you think you’re actually getting. Just take a look at this photo snapped at a Target store. Buying several single items can actually be cheaper than purchasing the same things in packs. Pretty misleading eh?
Image from a Reddit thread
On that note, you can also check out Free Money Finance’s post that explains how bundling doesn’t always save you money.
So which items do you buy in bulk?
Created September 8, 2010. Updated May 6, 2012. Copyright © 2012 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.