I have an secret past: I used to be a couponer. Yes, like those extreme couponers you see on TV. I was living in the suburbs and working as a nanny, so I had a lot of free time on my hands. Every Sunday, I would clip coupons and make my shopping plan for the week. Over the course of just a few weeks, I amassed a fairly large stockpile of goods. I had everything from dish soap to tampons purchased in bulk. I would buy anything I could get for cheap. However, a few months later I moved to a small apartment in New York City. There was barely enough room for my clothing, never mind my stockpile of toilet paper. Despite my tiny new living space, I couldn’t break myself of the logic that “bulk is better.” So I did some research to find out if buying in bulk is actually a good value or if the products tend to go to waste.
The general rule is that if you have the money and space, you should buy in bulk. When purchasing in large quantities, you usually need to pay more money up front. However, it tends to be a better value in the long run. For example, Angel Soft Bath Tissue is $20.19 for 12 rolls on Amazon. However, a pack of 48 rolls is only $20.19. That’s almost 4 times the value! In instances like this, you should opt to buy in bulk if you have to space to store the surplus items.
A big mistake that people make when they buy in large quantities is they don’t compare the sale prices to the bulk prices. Sometimes a single sale item is a better deal than buying a package of multiples. You can get even better deals by using coupons on top of sales. Also, if you are shopping at wholesale stores like Costco and BJ’s, you need to factor in the cost of membership fees. In some cases, it might not be a good deal.
Keep in mind that the “buy in bulk” logic only applies to non-perishable items. It’s important to pay attention to the shelf life of an item before you buy it. It’s almost never a good idea to buy food in bulk (with the exception of canned goods). Items like condiments, spices, and even skincare products actually have expatriation dates (read more here). If you can’t use up your purchases before they expire, it’s a waste of money to buy in bulk no matter how much money you’re saving (Business Insider).
However, there are a few items you should always buy in bulk if you have the space. Paper goods like toilet paper and paper towels are necessities that are always good to have in stock. Other hygiene items that you use every day, such as toothpaste, deodorant, and body wash, are great to have in stockpiled. Popular home goods to buy in bulk alsp include cleaning supplies and trash bags.
The benefits of buying in bulk include that items are usually less expensive per unit and that you don’t have to constantly run to the store to restock. However, you need to evaluate what shopping method works best for your lifestyle. Don’t buy in bulk if you don’t need that much stuff. As a single girl in NYC, there’s no need to for me to keep 15 tubes of toothpaste in my small apartment. However, if you have a large family, you’re likely to go through toothpaste at a much faster rate, so buy in bulk. Figure out a shopping plan that fits your budget and lifestyle before you start buying palettes of toothpaste from Costco.