How Planning and Buying Ahead Can Save You Significant Money

How Planning and Buying Ahead can Save You Significant Money: Here is something I never understood about the average shopper in the grocery store: They go to the store and purchase all sorts of extra items they don’t need (ooh, it’s on sale!). Then for the non-perishable items, they purchase the smallest size they can. Clearly, you’ll never need more toilet paper than those 6 rolls, right? (cue eye roll)

Non-perishable items don’t go bad. It’s in the name for crying out loud. Items that are packed in smaller quantities are typically more expensive as well. Perhaps these people should be putting back all of the additional nonsense items that they will most likely not use, give away, or throw out. Consider buying those non-perishable items in bulk!

“Maybe this is a bit over-kill…”

Why buying ahead is planning ahead

Let’s think about this for a minute. Human beings are creatures of habit. Assuming that you’re a human being reading this, you too are a creature of habit. What items do you typically buy consistently?  What items do you find yourself scrambling to get at the store 10:30 pm on a Tuesday night?

Take a step back and think about your own routine. Every time you impulsively run to the store, chances are you aren’t paying the best price possible. You’re just trying to fill an immediate need. Additionally, you’re more likely to pick up extra items that you didn’t intend to buy (Shopping in Target is a prime example). Anticipate your needs, and buy those items in bulk!

What items can you buy in bulk and save serious money on?

Here are the list of the heavy hitters:

  • Toilet paper
  • Paper towels
  • Meat – I recommend looking into a meat freezer if you begin to purchase meat in bulk
  • Pet food
  • Storage products – saran wrap, foil, sandwich bags, trash bags, etc
  • Vitamins
  • Diapers
  • Canned foods (canned tuna is a favorite here)
  • Pasta
  • Nuts
  • Frozen food
  • Condiments – Ketchup, mustard, etc
  • Batteries
  • Dental care items
  • Cleaning products
  • Soda and chips – great to have in store for parties!
  • Alcohol – related to the party theme of soda and chips.

Here is a great list from Dave Ramsey’s blog on this subject comparing some common bulk prices to standard sized prices:

How Planning and Buying Ahead Can Save You Significant Money

In Dave’s example, he compared grocery stores to wholesale grocery stores. However, while this may be one way to do it, I have found plenty of deals on Amazon.

When buying in bulk can backfire

Needless to say, too much of a good thing is still too much. There are times when buying in bulk can seriously backfire. On these items listed above, they might not always be a deal. You must do the math to see if it makes sense to buy these items in bulk. Also, you can wait for a sale and stock on up these items.

Like I said before, it’s important not to go overboard and turn your house into a storage container!

Another way buying in bulk can backfire is buying perishable items in bulk. If you’re not going to use those six cartons of milk before they expire – don’t buy them!

Ways to optimize

One of the best ways to optimize buying in bulk is to create a storage area. In our case, we have a rather large pantry that works well to store our extra non-perishables. Depending on where you live, you may have something similar or another part of your house that is relatively open. In my parent’s house, they installed some shelving in the garage and it functions well as a storage area for extra items.


Saving money is something everyone can do with the tools we have available to us right now. Every time we go to the store, we’re making a choice. If these choices aren’t lining up with our goals, perhaps we need to do some soul-searching to figure out where we want to be.

Think about your typical patterns and purchase these items before you need them to save yourself both time and money!

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10 thoughts on “How Planning and Buying Ahead Can Save You Significant Money

  1. Say, excellent article.  I never really thought of buying in bulk seriously.  I mean of course I have on a theoretical sense but never thought to put it into practice at the level you are suggesting.  And you’re totally correct in your admonitions!  I do buy stuff that I do not necessarily need; and not bulk up on items that will always been running out.

    You’ve made me keen now to sit down and re-do my budget; source where I can buy in bulk; and see what savings I can end up with.

    Thank you for a great article!

    1. Thanks Cath! Hopefully these savings will help you out over time. I know I enjoy when I suddenly run out of some supposedly meaningless supply only to go to my pantry and have tons ready to go. Great feeling 🙂

  2. These are some great tips to help save money. I’ve always planned my spending and my friends usually wonder that even though I don’t have a high paying job I never have to ask them for money. I think I definitely save the most by buying food in bulk (gotta love wholesale clubs) plus I LOVE pasta! Something that has a really long shelf life, along with canned foods. The only things I kinda splurge on are fresh vegetables and fruits, oh and those tasty cheese platters! 

    1. Hey, we all have our favorites and there’s nothing wrong with that 🙂

      But for the things that we can afford to buy it bulk, why not?

  3. What an amazing article.  I love saving money so I often buy things when they are on sale and if the deal is good enough I’ll stock up on an item that we normally run out of anyway.  I always get more then I need of toilet paper, I know how it feels to run out and not have any, so I never let that happen.  I will buy a ton of hotdogs when they are on sale for $1 and just freeze them for later use.

    1. Good idea with the hotdogs. Amazon has been my go-to for many bulk items. Thankfully I was gifted a prime membership so it really adds to the affordability when I can just order 24 rolls of paper towels at a great price within 3 clicks 🙂

  4. Great post on how planning and buying ahead can save you a significant amount of money Dave!

    I know I’ve been caught out in the past by going to the grocery store and getting a whole lot of stuff that I didn’t need… especially when I leave it to the last minute!

    When the numbers add up, I think it’s a great idea to buy in bulk for things that you always seem to need and use.

    The items you listed are all things that can be bought in bulk and save money on!

    But as you say the numbers need to add up!

    Great article, thanks 🙂

  5. Great advice and its good to be reminded of simple things that we sometimes forget.  I like to keep an eye out for bargains so that when, for example, toilet rolls are on special, I buy more of them.  Same with tinned food and cleaning products.  I try avoid stock piling alcohol other than near special events such as Christmas otherwise the temptation to open a bottle is good hard to resist! I’m interested to know if you recommend people join warehouse type stores to buy in bulk rather than going to supermarkets?  Do you think those types of store have better deals and products?

    1. That’s an interesting point about joining a bulk store vs. buying on discount. To be honest, I would prefer to buy at the grocery store on discount. Or better yet – befriend someone who has a wholesale membership and shop with them!

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