How to Buy in Bulk

More isn't always better.
More isn't always better. (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

You simply cannot help needing certain things on a consistent basis, and when you have a bulk supply on hand, you save yourself repeated -- and potentially costly -- trips to the store. Buying in bulk requires a slight strategy, though, as buying the wrong things may result in waste or a cluttered home. Some items are simply not meant to be bought in bulk, so before you head to the local warehouse store and fill up cart after cart, compare prices and check how much of certain things you realistically use.

Make a list of the things that you need. Simply going to the warehouse or bulk store without a plan may result in you buying more than you need. Just like on any other shopping trip, you should have a list.

Go to the store, and if you don't already have a membership, purchase one. Most bulk or warehouse stores require you to pay an annual membership fee.

Compare costs on the things that you need. While bulk deals may seem impressive, when you crunch the numbers, they don't always end up being cheaper. If a smaller grocery store is offering a special on soda, for example, the cost per can may be less than if you buy in bulk.

Avoid buying things that take up a lot of space, unless you have the room to store them. You might save money buying large packs of paper towels or toilet paper at the bulk store, for example, but if you live in a studio apartment, you won't have anywhere to keep them.

Avoid buying items that expire if you do not think you can use them before they do. Over the counter medicines, nuts and brown rice, for example, are all things that could easily expire before you consume an entire bulk package.

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