People often think they’ll save money by buying products in large quantities, but that’s not always the case. The truth is that buying in bulk can be a budget saver or a money drainer.
For example, stocking up on to wrong items can lead to spoilage and waste, while purchasing the right items at wholesale can be a great way to reduce your monthly grocery bill. Therefore, buying in bulk can save you a lot of money, but you have to do it strategically.
This short guide will help you develop bulk-shopping strategies and learn what things to buy in bulk and how to do it. So let’s dig in.
The Ultimate Buying in Bulk Strategies
Buying in bulk can be a lifesaver if you know your prices, stock up on the right items when they are at the lowest price and manage to run your inventory without wasting money or any of the products. To help you do just that, here are 9 amazing tips!
1. Determine the Price-Per-Unit
The number one goal of bulk shopping is to make sure the cost per item is as low as possible. Then, and only then should we buy in bulk. Thus, to really maximize our savings, we need to determine the cost per single unit, which is easy to calculate.
First of all, a unit refers to the amount of something you are purchasing. For example, ketchup is not a unit simply because it doesn’t specify the exact amount. However, a fluid ounce of ketchup is a unit.
To determine whether it makes sense to buy something in bulk, you need to calculate how many units you will buy and then take the total cost of the purchase and divide by the number of units. The number you get is your price per unit. You should always aim to purchase a unit at least 50% below its normal price.
Please note that sometimes the difference in price for bulk buying is so small that it simply isn’t worth it. In that case, it’s a wise decision not to do bulk shopping and opt for a different product.
2. Don’t Sample in Bulk
One of the biggest rookie mistakes when it comes to buying in bulk wholesale is to purchase something you have never tried before. There’s always a chance that the product is not what you have expected it to be and simply doesn’t meet your needs.
For example, maybe you purchased a soap that’s not good for your skin and makes it dry. You are definitely not going to use it for another year and you’ll have to purchase a new one. And that’s what we call wasting money.
Therefore, never spend money buying in bulk (wholesale) unless you have personally tested the product, especially when it comes to bulk groceries. So when you see something that’s appealing and the price per unit works in your favor, purchase one unit just to test it out and see whether it’s worth bulk shopping.
3. Pay Attention to Perishable Items
Sometimes you’ll notice ridiculous discounts for bulk food shopping of fresh items, where the cost per unit will be 50%-75% below its original price. However, don’t let the price fool you into thinking it’s a smart purchase. Before making your final decision, there’s another factor you must consider – the expiration date.
If you purchase something for 50% of its price, but can’t use a significant portion of that item, then you are wasting money. Therefore, we always recommend avoiding buying perishable goods unless you have a way of using it within a few days.
The general rule here is that the longer the shelf life, the safer it is to buy in bulk. With that being said, it’s safer to purchase a laundry detergent in bulk than to opt for bulk food shopping.
However, if you do decide to purchase perishable goods in larger qualities, make sure to have a plan. For example, buying tomatoes in bulk would make sense if you intend to process and freeze them so that you can use them throughout the winter.
4. Purchase The Things You Need
Buying something just because it’s on a huge discount doesn’t mean a thing if no one will use that particular item. For example, you can find an amazing deal for pork and buy 40 pounds, but if your whole family hates pork, then you have only wasted your money. So before even thinking of bulk purchasing, make sure that you actually need that item.
A great strategy is to think about how often you bought that particular item in the past and you’ll get a pretty good idea whether that’s something worth purchasing.
5. Storage Space
If you don’t have a room in your apartment, home or garage to store your extra goodies, then there’s no point of buying in bulk wholesale. So before going shopping, you have to find a storage space that has enough space to accommodate everything you intend to purchase.
If you are thinking about buying food in bulk, then you also need to consider your freezer space as foods last longer when they are frozen. So determine how big your freezer is and organize it so that every inch can be used.
6. Pay Attention to Your Inventory
Keeping an eye on your inventory and knowing exactly what you have is crucial in bulk buying. You need to make a routine of checking your storage and seeing what needs to be refilled.
The last thing you want is to run out of something you desperately need. If that happens, chances are that you won’t do a proper research and you’ll buy the item at a higher price.
So whenever you see that you have only 2-3 items left out of the whole bulk stash, then start searching for the best deal (lowest price per unit).
7. Start Slowly
A big problem most people face when it comes to bulk buying is the shortage of money. In the beginning, it simply costs more and if you don’t have a fortune to spend on buying in bulk wholesale, then you should start slowly.
You can increase your household supply budget by 25% for a few months. After that, your shopping budget will decrease as you’ll only have to refill the thing you already bought in bulk. Therefore, you’ll be able to look for the best deals and save a lot of money.
8. Partner Up
When you find something really cheap for bulk purchase that can save you a lot of money but you can’t deal with the amount you would have to buy, then you can split the purchase with your family members or friends.
For example, if you find an amazing price for a 100 pound bag of rice, then it’s pretty obvious that you need to partner up with a few people and split both the cost and the amount. The great news is that you’ll all get a discount, so it’s a win-win situation.
If you can’t find anyone interested in purchasing the item, then use social media (Facebook, Twitter) and connect with people who love to save money as well.
9. Combine Coupons with Bulk Buying
Stacking coupons before bulk shopping can significantly reduce the price per unit. However, this involves some planning and preparation.
The first thing you need to do is browse through different coupons and find something you like. Then print off copies of that coupon and wait until that particular item is on sale.
In most cases, there will be a sale before your coupon expires, so all you have to do is go to your shop and drop all of the coupons at once and you’ll save a lot of money.
Best Places for Bulk Shopping
As we already said, buying in bulk can save you a lot of money. How much money you’ll save greatly depends on the place you make your purchase. You have a few options.
Buying in Bulk From Your Local Store
The first logical place where you can find good discounts for bulk shopping is your local grocery store. However, make sure to first check out different stores to find the lowest price per unit. Also, plan ahead and create a list of the things you really need to buy and avoid compulsive buying.
Buying in Bulk Online
Buying in bulk online is the newest trend that is getting increasingly popular. And while most people still prefer the old fashion approach of visiting the actual store, buying in bulk online could potentially save you the most money.
People are simply able to do a better research, compare prices, find the best deals and calculate the price per unit from the comfort of their own home. They can look at many different retailers and determine what’s the best deal and avoid impulse-buying.
In addition, they also save money on gas, as buying in bulk online often comes with free shipping, so the hassle of going to a store and waiting in line is non-existent.
With all of this being said, we highly suggest people to start buying in bulk online or at least do your research online before you actually go into the store.
Buying in Bulk From Manufacturers
Buying in bulk from manufacturers is always going to be the best way to save money as they will always offer the lowest price per unit. However, finding such a deal is quite difficult.
First of all, you need to decide what item you want to buy in bulk. Then, you need to research the local manufacturers (within your country as imported products have a higher price).
So people living in the United States should search for U.S. manufacturers of the product. A great website to do your research is ThomasNet.
Once you have found the perfect manufacturer, contact them and negotiate the best price. When you receive an offer, calculate the price per unit and determine whether that’s a good deal or not.
In most cases, buying in bulk from manufacturers will save you the most money, but you have to be prepared to purchase more items than you are used to. Therefore, partnering up with a few friends and family members is a good strategy.
Buying in Bulk Without Membership
It’s also worth mentioning that there are some membership-only retail warehouse clubs such as Sam’s and Costco. However, there’s a way of buying in bulk without membership even in these membership-only retailers.
The first and easiest way is to shop with a member. If that’s not possible, then shop during an open house when everyone is invited to shop in the warehouse. You can also opt for buying in bulk online, but you won’t get all the benefits.
Also, pharmacy (prescription drugs), health services and alcohol are items that you can buy in bulk without membership.
And the most approach is to become a member. Although it costs money, it will be a worthy investment if you plan on buying in bulk wholesale.
Things to Buy in Bulk
There are many things you can buy in bulk and we can divide them into two groups: foods and non-food items.
Buying Food in Bulk
Buying food in bulk is a great way to save money. However, not all food can be bought in bulk as some can’t be preserved for longer usage.
The “bulk food list” (“bulk groceries list”) includes rice, quinoa, beans, oats, lentils, cheese, nuts, onions, peppers, dry pasta, dried fruits (apples, raisins, dates, etc.), dried mushrooms, dried seaweed, sugar, flours, seeds, honey, meats, fish, poultry, caned goods, spices, breakfast cereals, dried beans, etc.
You can also buy seasonable fruits and vegetables in bulk and then freeze them and preserve for later consumption.
The list of non-food things to buy in bulk includes everything you can possibly imagine. As long as the price is right, you have the storage for it and you really need it, you can opt for bulk buying. So you can purchase diapers, paper goods, detergent, toothbrush, shampoo, soaps, deodorant, batteries, aluminium foil and many others.
When it comes to buying in bulk, the savings can be a hit or miss. By applying the above-mentioned strategies you should be able to save significant amount of money. Remember to first try buying in bulk online as it can potentially save you the most money. Buying in bulk from manufacturers is a great option, but it’s hard to find such a deal.
Things to buy in bulk include food and non-food items. When buying food in bulk, make sure you can preserve it for later usage to avoid wasting money.
Always be on the lookout for a good wholesale and try to find best deals. In the end, it all comes down to price per unit.