Most people know that buying in bulk can mean significant savings. It also can mean big purchases, overstepping the budget, and wasting money (and product). Follow these dos and don’ts to make sure your forays into the world of bulk buying are smart ones.
- Team Up to Split Large Purchases
- Pay in Cash
- Shop From a Budget
- Visit Local Farms, Orchards, and Farmers’ Markets
- Check Out Specialty Retail Stores
- Overlook Warehouse Clubs If You’re Single or Part of a Couple
- Purchase Items You Use Infrequently in Bulk
- Restrict Warehouse Club Shopping to Groceries
- Be Shy
- Forget About Your Local Grocery Store
Do’s – Explained
- Do Team Up to Split Large Purchases
Join friends, neighbors, or family members to split large purchases. All told, you pay for and acquire far less packaging and save in the process. If you team up for large purchases with your friends, you also won’t waste the product you buy.
- Do Pay in Cash
Take with you only the amount you can spend according to your budget. Leave the checkbook at home. If your club takes a credit card you have, leave the card at home, too. You won’t overspend.
- Do Shop From a Budget
Learn to create and use a simple budget that includes categories for essential areas of spending. Before you shop, determine your monthly allocation for your categories, make a list, and then go shopping. With bulk buying, realize that you might spend two months’ worth of budget for some items. Just make sure to allocate appropriately in your budget, so you don’t overspend next month.
- Do Visit Local Farms, Orchards & Farmers’ Markets
Farmers and ranchers often can offer excellent prices and savings on large quantities. If you don’t need perfect-looking fruit (maybe it’s for baking, cooking, canning, or just eating), ask about “B” fruit, “seconds” or bruised boxes. These items will not be sub-par in taste or vitamins. They will taste just as good and can be up to half off.
- Do Check Out Specialty Retail Stores
Today, many specialty retail stores have bulk/volume pricing available, whether liquor, fabric, pet, or other. Look for specialty stores in your area to help you find the best deals in your area.
Don’ts – Explained
- Do Not Overlook Warehouse Clubs If You Are Single or Part of a Couple
Many things don’t come in large quantities and don’t perish easily, and there are many “individual” items, ranging from gift items to books to automobile tires. Or team up with friends, neighbors, or family members to split large purchases. (See No. 1 “do” item.)
- Do Not Purchase Items You Use Infrequently in Bulk
While you might come across a great deal on pet shampoo or an annual plant fertilizer, you’ll tie up money that could probably be better used elsewhere (paying down credit card debt or putting into savings).
- Do Not Restrict Warehouse Club Shopping to Groceries
They offer some of the best gas prices around. Long-distance phone cards are great deals for those without unlimited cell phone minutes or who call internationally. And many clubs now have full bakeries where members can order special-occasion cakes (standard or custom) for birthdays, office parties, or even weddings.
- Do Not Be Shy
Ask about a bulk discount. Often, retailers of any type will be able to provide bulk pricing upon request for particular items. If you’re looking to purchase 10 dozen roses vs. 1 dozen at a florist, or 30 poinsettia plants vs. 2-3, ask about a discount.
- Do Not Forget About Your Local Grocery Store
You may find that you need a large container or amount of just a couple of items. Many grocery stores now have certain items available in large/bulk sizes. Some stock them with regular-sized items, and others have designated sections or shelves for the larger sizes.
Bulk buying can mean significant savings and a real boost to your budget – but only if you think before you buy. Carefully consider what you need and what you will actually use, and then determine where best to buy those items. You’ll be on the road to spending smartly.