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Bulk Buying Exposed: Money Saving Myth Busting

by Kate

Warp Speed AheadWhen people think about ways to save money, one of the most common themes amongst savers is to start buying their goods in bulk. After all, everyone knows that by buying goods on mass it is possible to get a better deal on the per unit cost, driving down expenses over the long term.

Whilst it’s true that bulk buying can lead to lower individual unit prices, often it doesn’t work out as the best way for people to save money, because of the following factors:

1. The Truth about Warehouse Stores and Bulk Buying Clubs

buggy in gutted grocery store

  1. True bulk buying takes place at warehouse stores. These stores already offer goods at almost trade prices and never have sales. Whereas smaller stores will have slash and burn sales where they sell stock off for well below asking price, just so they can get rid of it and don’t need to worry about storage, which can lead to absolutely massive savings.
  2. Warehouse stores don’t accept coupons. Coupons are without a doubt, one of the best ways to save money on your regular bills, especially when combined with a normal stores sale offers.Calculate yourself!
    For example, a $2 off coupon will save you 10% on the price of a $20  box of conditioner, but if you use that coupon when the store has the conditioner on special for $10, you can knock 20% off the price (plus the 50% that the store already took off). You could even wait until the end of season when the grocery stores are selling the conditioner off for $8 and that same coupon now pays for 25% of your purchase. Over the same period of time, someone who buys ten boxes of conditioner from a warehouse store, will probably ended up paying $18 or even $19 a unit.
  3. Bulk buying clubs like Costco are well known for changing what stock they have on offer from month to month. Occasionally favored items will stay in stock for extended periods of time, but on the whole if you shop at a warehouse store you can’t expect to get the same items every time you visit. This makes it impractical to rely on warehouse stores for fulfilling your regular household requirements.

Bulk Buying is Dangerous for Impulse Shoppers

shopping stream

Impulse buying is always a danger for people who are trying to save money. In warehouse stores, which often stock everything from food to televisions to vacuum cleaners,  this can potentially be an even bigger problem than normal.

Example! With food, you may well be saving money per unit by buying that jumbo jar of sweets, but chances are you would never have been tempted to buy a smaller version in the first place, as you wouldn’t have been able to justify the cost to yourself, not to mention that the bigger jar normally gets eaten just as quick (which really isn’t healthy).

Whilst with household goods you can easily get dazzled into purchasing the strangest things, which is why it is always a good idea to have a predefined shopping list and make sure you stick to it.

Buying Food in Bulk: Saving or Wasting?

November 1, 2006: Treats!

When dealing with perishable goods, food in particular, bulk buying is definitely not always the best way to go. It can be great if you know for sure that you’re going to actually get through an entire mountain of food before it goes bad, but if you can’t manage it, then the reality is you’re just throwing money away by buying in bulk.

Besides, buying food in bulk is probably not that good for your diet as well. If you buy more, you eat more – just as easy as that. So buying yummies in bulk may probably be not the best idea!

Of course there are deals to be had by bulk buying, but you need to know what to look out for. A good idea is to keep a price comparison book, which is just a simple notebook, in which you write down the unit cost of your regular shopping, so you know when you’re able to make a real saving or not.

Remember, just because a store is offering something in bulk, doesn’t automatically mean they have lowered their prices (even though they know that’s what most people will think). Always make sure to check you’re actually saving money (or at least getting the best deal you can) before you purchase anything.

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2 comments

Matt (CouponNuts) November 18, 2010 - 2:09 am

I’m guilty I buy in bulk all the time.

Reply
ClaraMatt December 13, 2010 - 12:47 pm

I never buy in bulk unless its something like toilet paper that I always need and that I’m always short on. This is because I know that the more I have at home, the more I consume, or the more that I throw out at the end of the week.
I also just hate those huge stores. They freak me out. I try to shop at organic markets or smaller local stores in any event.

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