There are a lot of different ways to save money while buying groceries but this is one that is a little different by investing upfront. There are certain staples around the house that we are constantly buying. This can be anything from dry goods to cleaning supplies. With these goods, I recommend buying in bulk to save money. The amount of money that can be saved with this method varies from household to household items.
So where do I buy these things?
The easiest way to buy in bulk is that big stores such as BJ’s, Costco, Sam’s Club. The only issue with these is that some of them have a yearly membership cost which affects the savings. This can range from $35-$45 annually. If you buy only a couple of items in bulk per year, then this would not be a good deal. If you are constantly buying things such as cleaning supplies, meat or non-perishables, it can be worth the price.
What should I be looking for? – price per unit
When buying in bulk you always want to look at the unit price to make sure that you’re getting the best deal. Just because something is in bulk doesn’t mean that you are getting the best deal or even a good deal. The reverse is true, if something says its on “sale” doesn’t mean its a good deal either. Shop around for the best deal and always compare the quantity as well. Calculating the unit price is easy; you will take the number of units and divide by the overall price.
A quick example of this
We will take the Aveeno Baby wash Tear-free shampoo
Online price at Bjs is $13.99 for 2 bottles at 18oz each
So the Unit price is $6.995 for 18oz.
The equivalent at Walmart for standard price (as close of comparison that can be made) is $8.97 per bottle (18oz)
This is just one example but often holds true. If you are able to save even a dollar per item, it adds up quickly especially over the course of a year. There are a lot of non-perishable items that you can stock up on if you have the room to store them.
Storing these items
Planning ahead will save you a headache later when it comes to storing bulk items. You may save some money in the long run but you don’t want to be walking around stacks of toilet paper throughout your house. Storing bulk items can be as simple as in a closet in one of your rooms or if you have a basement, you can dedicate as small section. For those in apartments, this is a little trickier. I have done this in the past and dedicated one of the smaller closets to bulk items and it was pretty much filled from floor to ceiling. Again you don’t want to be trying to make a maze out of bulk items in your living space. As with my last money-saving tips, I recommend going with a shopping list as you don’t want to be making a random purchases that you don’t need.
You can stack coupons with any potential sales on items that you maybe buying in bulk to make this an even better deal. This can be done with either manufacturer coupons or with store coupons. Some stores will send you particular coupons based on past purchases. You can find them in the newspaper but also online. Websites like Coupons.com is a great option to print coupons that you would actually use. You may see a lot of sales on bulk items; but on occasion, you’ll get lucky.
What should I buy?
Non perishables should be top of the list for bulk items. You can buy perishable groceries in bulk but should plan on using them quickly. Buying meat in bulk can be a great money saver but you need to freeze it for the long-term. The cost of meat is expensive, so getting any little savings is a great thing. But again only if you have room in your freezer. Cleaning products and paper goods are great items that you can stock up on that will not go to waste. The biggest issue with them is the amount of room that they take up. Around the holidays or if you just love baking, it may be worth stocking up on things like flour and sugar. The list is endless of things that you can stock up on.
The other thing to know is that you should be buying things that you know you will use, such as a type of cleaner. You don’t want to buy a new brand of household cleaner in bulk and then later find out that you have an allergy to it. Buy things that you know. This doesn’t need to be name brand either. Buy a smaller quantity to try it out to make sure that there are no issues with it then buy it in bulk. This holds true to foods as well.
Buying in bulk worth it?
Overall, buying in bulk can save you a lot of money over the course of the year. However there are things that need to be taken into consideration such as space, needs and memberships. If you don’t have a membership to a big box stores such as Bjs or Sams club but family does, it maybe worth going shopping with them and splitting the bulk items. Or even getting a membership together and go shopping together. It can save you a bit of money this way. Take into consideration how often you will go to these big box stores before buying a membership.
My biggest tip with this is not to buy everything at once as it adds up quickly. Breaking up the bulk grocery list can minimize the impact on the bank account and maximize savings. This can be a great strategy to buy things that you know you will need and save money. Combining this with couponing and you will get a lot of great deals!
You can save a great deal of money by buying in bulk if you plan ahead and are smart about what you are getting. If you follow this advice, you can take quite a bit off of your weekly shopping trip and keep more money in your wallet throughout the year.