Is More Always Better?
Sure, you want a good deal, but be careful: You don't need three huge ketchup bottles for a household of two or 60 pairs of tube socks for just yourself. There are savvier ways to buy in bulk that get you things you need without going overboard.
With the advent of Sam's Club and Costco, buying in bulk has become the norm and not the rarity it once was. These clubs originally were designed for businesses and corporations, but now, many households use these stores as their main source for groceries.
Five tubs of mayo
When shopping these wonderful warehouses, keep in mind what you need and what you really need. Most items in these stores are offered in large quantities-- sometimes, enormous quantities. Think before buying. Do you really need a gallon of mayo, regardless of how much you like tuna salad? Maybe this purchase is better made at a regular store where you can buy smaller quantities. Watch for this catch-22 on many products you typically buy, particularly those with limited shelf life. Bulk options that work best include salt and pepper, granola, canned tomatoes and other items you use on a regular basis.
Before purchasing, put some thought into it. Bulk prices for vegetables and fruits are some of the best you will find anywhere. But can you handle eating eight meals of spinach a week or 30 apples in 10 days? Getting food at a discount is nice and dandy, but throwing it away sure isn't. Use caution before purchasing items that spoil easily--if you are planning a big dinner party, shop for the perishable goods closer to the event date to ensure nothing goes bad. Fruits and veggies can begin to mould very quickly, and the mold can spread to other food items. Be extra careful during warm weather or in humid climates.
A living room full of paper towels
One of the greatest challenges of buying in bulk is storing all the goods. If you have a backup freezer in the basement or garage, then go ahead and buy all the meats, pre-made lasagnas and other frozen goods you want! If you don't have extra space for frozen foods, then don't buy too many items that require refrigeration. Meats and sauces can survive only for so many days without going bad.
Conversely, paper goods such as paper towels, toilet paper and other household items are excellent products to buy in bulk, but make sure you have a place to store them. Buy what your house can handle, not what is necessarily easiest on the wallet. No one wants to walk into your house and have to sit on the sofa next to 20 rolls of paper towels.
Rice and grains
Many stores offer bulk items such as nuts, rice, pasta, grains and other non-perishable items in whatever quantities you desire. Dry goods in bulk are among the best bargains because you do not need to pay for extra packaging. You just scoop out however much you want. Just make sure to store the goods properly so they do not spoil. Try Ziploc bags or canisters for good preservation.