Bulk shopping can be a great way to stock up on items you need at a discount, as long as you don't overdo it. In other words, if you buy a six-pack of iodized salt, you may save a few cents per ounce by buying such a large quantity. But unless you're opening a restaurant, you also run the risk of having that salt for the rest of your life or ultimately throwing it away. If you'd just bought one container at the supermarket you'd be better off.
When you head off to the megastore for some prime bulk shopping, ask yourself a few questions before you buy:
- Will I use all of this? Don't buy enough aluminum foil to wrap the planet if you don't plan on doing so.
- Will this go bad before I can use it? The two-gallon jar of spaghetti sauce is perishable once opened, so ask yourself whether you can stand to have pasta every night until it's gone.
- Do I have room for this? There's nothing worse than having to store your 24-roll pack of toilet paper in the living room because there's no room under the bathroom sink.
- Is the quality good enough that I will enjoy using this product? For example, some inexpensive paper towels you can buy in bulk are flimsier and make cleaning up more of a headache. Make sure you like the product you're getting.
Bulk shopping can be great for purchases such as shampoo, deodorant, film, toilet paper, beer, laundry detergent, coffee beans—things that won't go bad and don't take up too much space. If you limit your bulk shopping to these nonperishables, you'll save money and time because you won't have to replace them as often.