The Best Items to Buy in Bulk

You can save big by buying big. Know when to go for quantity and when less is more.

Buying in bulk just seems smart, right? Shopping for items a few times a year often saves money not only on your purchase, but also on gas and time. In actuality, purchasing large quantities doesn’t always make sense for your wallet. Here are some tips on which items to buy in bulk and which to buy as needed.

Stock Up On:

  • Batteries. You always need them, and they last for years if not decades. Stock up on the sizes you use most, and store them in a cool place to give them more staying power.
  • Canned food. It has a longer shelf life, so stocking up for the people and pets in your home is a smart move. You may also receive a discount for buying bulk quantities.
  • Cereal. This would seem like a perishable item better bought in smaller sizes, but not if you buy the big boxes with two individual bags inside. Help opened bags last longer with a food clip or by putting them inside a zip-top plastic bag (which you can reuse).
  • Dental products. Toothbrushes, toothpaste and dental floss don’t have an expiration date. Stock up when you see a great price on the brands you like.
  • Paper products, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, baggies and wax paper.  There will likely never come a day when you don’t need these items, and they have no expiration date. You might want to shop around for the best prices, though, and be sure you have adequate storage space.
  • Dried beans and pasta. They last a good long time and don’t take up a ton of space. Be sure to store them in airtight containers, especially after opening the packages.
  • Alcohol. You don’t have to wait for a party to buy the big bottles. Alcohol won’t spoil, and the larger sizes save you a few bucks.

Buy As Needed:

  • Perishables. This probably goes without saying, but it’s hard to resist a bargain. While you think you’re getting a great value on a huge tub of mayonnaise, ask yourself if your family will actually go through it in less than a year. Unless you’re throwing a party, probably not. The same logic goes for anything with an expiration date.
  • Vitamins and supplements. They may have a shorter shelf life than you think. If the price really seems like a great deal, check the bottle’s expiration date to be sure you can use them all before the date passes.
  • Diapers. Yes, babies go through a lot of them. But babies also grow—and might outgrow the diapers before you use them all.
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