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Buying in bulk: What you need to know

A good deal is great, but like everything else you need to read the fine print. The same can be said for buying in bulk–of course it can be easier on your wallet, but do you really need enough mayo to last you until the next decade or 60 pairs of tube socks? When it comes to buying in bulk, we often forget what we really need, what we can eat before it spoils and where we are planning to store everything. So for the low-down on buying in bulk, saving money and not having to use boxes of toilet paper as furniture for the next year, read on for some tips on how to tackle buying in bulk.


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 were originally designed for businesses and corporations, but now, many households use these stores as their main source of groceries.


When shopping at 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, so 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 making a purchase, 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 per 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 mold very quickly, and the mold can spread to other food items. Be extra careful during warm weather or in humid climates.


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 for only so many days before 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.


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 and can 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.

More on buying in bulk

Here are some tips to help you save time and money by buying in bulk.

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