There’s an old saying that goes “the more the merrier”.
It cannot be denied, however, that more often than not, buying in bulk CAN save us money. Whether this may be just a few cents or lots of dollars in savings, the fact of the matter is that every penny saved is a penny earned, right? However, buying in bulk can be a trap for many consumers. On the onset, we appear to be saving huge sums of money but in the end, we realize we don’t after all.
Take for example purchasing an extra large bottle of mayonnaise at 35-40% less overall compared to a smaller bottle. You rationalize purchasing the bigger bottle by saying “oh, I use it almost every day” and “I’m sure I can use it up before it goes bad”. It sounds like a good deal so you stick it in our grocery cart and head off to the check-out counter. The next thing you know it’s six months later you’re not even half-way through the bottle. In the end, the dollars you saved ended up dollars wasted after all.
Another common trap is purchasing non-perishables in bulk. We think, this won’t spoil anyway, right? For example, does your toddler really still need a 180 to 200 piece pack of diapers? Or will he or she outgrow it before using it all up? Perhaps for a newborn it would make sense, but as you are trying to wean your toddler from the diaper, it may not be the most cost-effective purchase.
As a whole, purchasing in bulk can be a good thing. Before doing so, ask yourself the following questions before grabbing that large size:
1. Do I really need that much? This is especially true for food items, such as condiments like mayo, mustard, catsup, peanut butter and the like. If it is the holidays or you are hosting a party, perhaps this may be a good purchase, but for the everyday consumption of a family of four, this may end up being an inadvertent expense. Similarly, while you may save more buy buying a 24-pack of your favorite candy bar over just a 6-pack, the question remains: do you need that much?
2. How long will it take me to use this all up? One of the things I like purchasing in bulk is extra vergin olive oil, or as Rachael Ray likes to call it, EVOO. It comes so much cheaper by the liter. However, it takes way too long for me to use it all up. Although the oil does not technically spoil, it does go rancid after some time. So, before grabbing, ask yourself, how long will it take me to finish it without sacrificing its quality?
3. Can I keep it all? This is especially true for bulky purchases such as rolls and rolls of toilet paper and paper towels. Similarly, do you have enough freezer space for that 24-piece pack of chicken breasts? Indeed it is much cheaper in bulk, but first think about whether you have enough room to keep this all.
4. Have I tried it before? Shampoos and conditioners, for example, are much cheaper when bought in bulk. Before grabbing that, though, take into consideration whether or not you have used it in the past because the product or brand may not necessarily suit you or worse, you might have an adverse reaction to it.
Overall, whether it is buying in bulk or not, the best way to save big is to be a wise consumer. Happy shopping!
– Marina Chernyak for The Moms Buzz