Most people know that buying in bulk can mean big 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.
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.
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.
Learn to create and use a simple budget that includes categories for basic areas of spending. Before you shop, determine what your monthly allocation is 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.
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.
Whether liquor, fabric, pet or other, today, many specialty retail stores have bulk/volume pricing available. Look for specialty stores in your area to help you find the best deals in your area.
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.)
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).
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.
Ask about a bulk discount. Often, retailers of any type will be able to provide bulk pricing upon request for certain 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.
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 the regular-sized items, and others have designated sections and/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.
More expert advice about Budgeting
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