15 Items Always Worth Buying in Bulk
Go for these good bulk buys during your next warehouse club trip.
By Trent Hamm | Contributor March 18, 2014, at 9:05 a.m.
Buying items in bulk can be a great way to save money. If you’re able to reduce the cost per unit of a purchase, then you’re opening the door to reducing your household expenses over the long haul.
However, sometimes bulk buys don’t quite work out. You end up buying something in bulk, only to discover that it didn’t really save you money after all.
Here are three big sources of bulk-buying failure:
1. Perishable items. If an item can grow stale or rot within a relatively short period of time, you shouldn’t buy it in bulk without a plan for accommodating those problems. You can get away with buying food in bulk if you freeze it, for example, but you still need to use it in time to avoid freezer burn.
2. Unnecessary items. If having more of an item causes you to use that item more than before, then that item is a bad bulk purchase. Cookies are a great example of this. If I have dozens of cookies in the cupboard, I’m more likely to eat a cookie that I don’t really need. If I have tons of cellphone minutes, I tend to spend more time on the phone with relatively unimportant calls
3. Items you don’t have room to store. My family stores our bulk buys in the garage where we have plenty of space. Some families don’t have that option. If you live in a small apartment, some bulk buys don’t make sense.
With those bad bulk buys in mind, here are 15 items that stand out as good bulk purchases:
Toothpaste stores easily. Since tubes have a reasonable upper limit on size, you’re not going to use extra just because you have a giant tube.
Trash bags are efficiently packaged, meaning a bulk buy often doesn’t take up much more space than a normal package. Having more trash bags doesn’t mean you’re going to generate more trash, but it does mean you won’t run out at an inopportune moment.
Dishwasher detergent is used in carefully measured increments in most dishwashers, so having a ton of dishwashing detergent won’t cause you to overuse it.
Dry rice is easy to prepare for countless meals and lasts nearly forever. Once you get in a routine of cooking with rice, you may find yourself using it with many meals.
Dry beans are like dry rice – they have countless uses and are easy to prepare. Dump some beans in a pan full of water before you go to bed. Boil them in the morning while you’re getting ready, then put them in the refrigerator before you leave.
Dry pasta can be stored for years and works with countless dishes and variants.
Oatmeal has a long shelf life and makes for a healthy breakfast – and a tasty one, too, if you jazz it up with some fruit or a bit of honey or cinnamon.
Laundry detergent makes for a great bulk buy if you carefully measure the amount you use in every load.
Toilet paper, when bought in bulk, just means having a bunch of rolls at once, and you won't risk overusing them. You can fill up the space under your sink with extra toilet paper, so you always have a roll when you need it.
Soap never gets old, so it’s OK to pick up lot of it if you can buy it for a cheap price in bulk. Liquid soaps can sometimes get overused in a large bottle, so keep small bottles around, and fill them with the larger bottle when you need to.
Shampoo follows the same logic as liquid soap. It can be a great bargain, but you should refill small bottles and keep the big one in the cupboard to avoid overuse.
Diapers are a great bulk buy, particularly if your child has recently moved up in diaper size. Cloth diapering can be even cheaper, but it’s not for everyone
Gift cards are often sold at a discount if you buy them in bulk. If you regularly slip gift cards inside of birthday cards for people, this buy makes a ton of sense. Just pick up several, and put them in the drawer where you keep greeting cards.
Office supplies are always useful. Pens run out of ink, and notepads run out of paper, so having a large supply doesn’t hurt.
Light bulbs never get old. You’re also going to eventually replace them, so if you find a sale on bulbs, particularly in large quantities, stock up.
Bulk buying can save you quite a bit of money, but only if you buy things logically. Choose