Buying household items in bulk is a key strategy for anyone looking to save both time and money. It’s easy math: unit prices drop as quantities increase.
Plus, most consumers tend to appreciate less trips to the local grocery store.
But here’s the tricky thing: not all items are suitable for bulk purchase. Perishable items that might go bad before you use them, items that lead you to use more by buying more (such as a ginormous box of chocolates), and items for which you have no storage space all become a costly problem rather than a money-saving solution.
Here are some prime examples of great bulk buys:
Toilet paper: You never want to run out!
Toothpaste: The bigger the tube, the better. It won't go bad.
Rice & beans: These pantry staples can last for months, if not years.
Butter: Butter tends to be very expensive, especially high quality butter, so buy as much as you can when it comes on sale and pop it in the freezer.
Alcohol: Six-packs have a higher unit price than bigger 24-packs, as do jumbo-sized bottles or boxes of wine.
Nuts: Nuts are always expensive, which makes it even more important to buy them in large quantities. Extras can be stored in the freezer. They can be freshened up by toasting in the oven.
Pasta: It keeps forever and makes a perfect quick meal for hungry kids.
Oatmeal: You can never have too much oatmeal in a house. It keeps forever and is great for porridge, baked oatmeal, muffins, granola, bread, and smoothies.
Menstrual products and diapers: If you use disposable pads, tampons, or diapers, these are good to buy in large quantities, as they tend to be expensive over time.
Soaps: Laundry detergent, dish soap, shampoo, and bar soap keep indefinitely. Stock up when you can.
Socks & underwear: This applies to kids, in particular, who wear through their clothes at breakneck speed. Buy the biggest packs you can find of undies and socks, preferably in the same color, which makes it easier to find a match in the laundry basket.
Olive oil: One can never have enough olive oil in the house. As it's pricey, buy the largest amount you can and store in a cool, dark cupboard. Refill a smaller container as needed.
Toothbrushes: This is an item you'll need for the rest of your life, so stock up if you can. Plus, you could save the day if a house guest forgets one at home.