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Should You Buy That In Bulk?

One of the best ways to to save money when you make purchases is to buy in bulk. Buying in bulk allows you to pay a lower per-unit price. This means that when you buy more, you get a cheaper price per ounce. In the long run, this can be a great way to save money on your purchases, since you get a better value for your money.

Buying in bulk also has the effect of allowing you to stock up, preparing for the future so that you are ready for what’s next. Bulk purchases, and storage of the items, are important to proper emergency preparedness [3]. You can also reduce your exposure to inflation with the help of bulk items.

However, it’s important to understand that some items are better bought in bulk than others.

Items to Buy in Bulk

For the most part, the best items to buy in bulk are non-perishables. If you have room for it, purchase canned goods [4], and frozen fruits and vegetables, in bulk. Many stores have case lot sales once or twice a year, and you can pick up these non-perishables relatively inexpensively. However, you do need to be careful, since at some point these items do go bad. Make sure that you rotate your bulk items so that they are regularly used. Beans, wheat and white rice also last a long time when properly stored.

It’s also possible to by meat in bulk. Beef, pork, chicken and fish all freeze well, so you can purchase these food items when they are on sale and freeze them. Bread and cheese (I freeze shredded cheese for later use) can also be frozen and used later. Buying these items in bulk can be a smart move, since you will have them available for use later.

Other items that are great for bulk buying [5] include paper products, such as paper towels, tissues, and toilet paper. Keep careful tabs on when these items are running low so that you can purchase before you run out. Keep an eye out for sales, and do your best to buy when a sale is on. Paper plates, cups, and plastic utensils are also great items to buy in bulk. Personal care items and different detergents (laundry, dishwasher) can also be bought in bulk for best effect.

Items to Avoid Buying in Bulk

There are some items that just aren’t as good in bulk. Most of these are items that are heavy on the oils. Olive oil, for example, lasts a little more than six months when you keep it cool and dark, but eventually it goes rancid. Stocking up on olive oil, when you aren’t likely to use it all quickly, can be a waste of money. Likewise, you want to be careful about purchasing nuts in bulk. The oils in the nuts go rancid as well.

Realize, too, that there is a good chance that your spices, bought in bulk, will begin to lose their savor. Buy spices in bulk, and they could just end up being bland. I grow my own herbs, so most of my spices are fresh. I dry some for the winter, but they are used up before they really lose their savor. Pay attention to how much you use when you are cooking, and don’t go crazy.

Look at expiration dates to give yourself a better idea of when something is likely to expire, and realize that if you buy a big container of it, and don’t use it quickly after opening it, you could be stuck with food waste, instead of truly saving money.


(Photo: London Permaculture [6])