In theory, buying goods in bulk seems like a smart, money-saving strategy. But in practice, is it really worth it? Next time you’re out shopping, consider the following before you stock up on large quantities of your favorite products.
An obvious benefit of bulk buying is that it tends to be an economical way to shop because you’re often paying a lower price per unit of each individual item. For example, buying a five-pound bag of potatoes will typically cost you less per pound than buying individual potatoes.
In addition to saving you some money, buying items in bulk can also save you time and energy. You won’t need to take as many trips to the store if you’ve stocked up on essentials.
But there are some drawbacks to bulk buying. Unless you have a large family who will go through items bought in bulk quickly, it probably won’t make as much sense for you to stock up on groceries and other household goods. Plus, items sold in bulk are often packaged in larger containers. You’ll need to store these somewhere, and you might not necessarily have space to accommodate everything.
Also consider that some wholesalers charge membership fees. The cost of membership and frequency of renewal could be pricey. (Check out current prices from Costco, here.)
While there are advantages and disadvantages to bulk buying, you can help determine whether it is worthwhile by asking yourself the following questions:
- Have you compared prices of bulk-packaged products to see if you’re really getting a deal?
- Have you previously tried and liked the product? Can you bear the risk of having it go to waste if you discover that you don’t like it after you’ve purchased a bulk quantity?
- Do you actually need that much of a particular item? Will it spoil before you can use it?
- Do you have enough storage space for items purchased in bulk?
Avoid buying in bulk just because you can. Take the time to consider your needs, and weigh wholesale rates against supermarket rates in order to help yourself save as much as possible.