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
- Canned foods (canned tuna is a favorite here)
- Frozen food
- Condiments – Ketchup, mustard, etc
- 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:
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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