When we get to the grocery store, the frugal shopper in us wants to stock up on everything. It always seems like a time-efficient move in the moment, but a lot of things on our list tend to expire after a certain date or take up too much space in our studio. Solution? Know which items make the most sense to buy in bulk and which items should be purchased only as they’re needed.
2 of 12Mauro Speziale/Getty Images
It’s usually true that when perishable items come in a big box it's a huge waste of money. The food goes stale before you have time to reap the benefits of saving on something that was supposed to last you weeks! But now we’ve been seeing big cereal boxes that have two separate bags inside, which makes this purchase definitely worthwhile, even if the cereal is only for one person. Instead of rolling up your cereal bag to seal in freshness, we love those handy food clips.
3 of 12Mark Weiss/Getty Images
Aluminum Foil and Plastic Wrap
You’ll probably always have a use for foil and plastic wrap, which is why these products are perfect for your bulk shopping. You’ll also have a means to repackage leftover goods, another frugal benefit.
4 of 12Damian Russell/Getty Images
Toilet Paper, Paper Towels and Tissues
Surely, you’ve heard this suggestion before. It pays to buy these always-useful items in bulk. Not only does the price per unit work out to be cheaper, but it is also a major convenience to have these products on hand. The only problem you might find when stocking up on these items is storage space. Before running out and purchasing a shopping cart’s worth of paper towels, make sure that you have room in your house or apartment. The last thing you want are rolls of toilet paper stacked neatly on your dining room table.
5 of 12Tetra Images/Getty Images
Sure, we change our toothbrushes every three months…or we are going to start to now. Buying brushes in bulk can save you money per brush so you won’t think twice about listening to your dentist and throwing it out when it’s time for a new one. While we’re on dental hygiene, it also pays to buy toothpaste in bulk (if it’s a kind you’ve tried before and like).
6 of 12Luk Thys/Getty Imagse
When it comes to vodka, we recommend skipping the smaller bottle and going for the handle. Not that we are encouraging excessive drinking here! We just know that cost-wise it makes sense to go for the greater amount if you are going to be using it again and can keep it for another time. You can easily store vodka, so you don’t have to worry about using it up immediately.
7 of 12Steven Puetzer/Getty Images
If we can remember one thing our parents always had in excess, it’s batteries. Batteries are great items to buy in bulk. Check your remotes and other battery-operated devices to see which type you use the most. As for storage, it is best to keep batteries in a cool environment to maximize their shelf-life.
8 of 12Steve Wisbauer/Getty Images
You can keep a pack in different places and never have to be the one asking around for a stick of gum.
9 of 12Souders Studios/Getty Images
Once your dog's used to one specific type of dog food, chances are she’s not going to complain if you keep feeding it to her. Save yourself time and cash by investing in the larger bags of dry dog food. They will certainly get used up.
10 of 12Plush Studios/Getty Images
Ever wonder if that buy-one-get-the-second-half-off offer is worth it? We think it is for basic purchases that you know you will use. Your favorite plain t-shirt? Sure. Those purple polka-dot tights you’ll only wear once? Maybe not.
11 of 12John Block/Getty Images
A can of beans can be kept in your food cabinet for a while, so you don’t have to use it right away. Also, buying these in bulk saves you cash on each individual can.
12 of 12Jill Chen/Getty Images
What We Wouldn’t Stock Up On…
As we said before, anything that takes up too much space isn’t worth buying in bulk. It’ll probably cause more problems that outweigh any pennies you might save. Also, as a rule of thumb, only stock up on items you know you already like. What good does saving on 14 cans of Diet Cherry Coke do if you end up hating the way it tastes? Invest in things you know you won’t get sick of. Cereal might be one of these items, so think about it before you’re stuck with it for a while. A final suggestion: don’t buy indulgences in bulk. It only gives you a reason to indulge more.