Buying in bulk at Costco, Sam’s or BJ’s can save you big money on your annual grocery and household goods budget. But buying in bulk in warehouse stores only saves you money on some things. Take a look at these tips to buy smart in bulk.
Only buy food items that you can use before they expire
Yes, that 10 pack of giant peanut butter jars is super cheap. But are you really going to eat all of that before it expires, or even before you expire? Or will you be buried with 2 jars of unused Skippy? If the majority of your purchase is wasted, then it’s not a bargain. It would be a smarter buy to wait for a deal on a normal size in a traditional grocery store, and then just purchase a few and stock up.
Pro tip – check those expiration dates. Sometimes you may find giant packages of food with short expiration dates. Pull from the back of the shelf or bottom of the stack to get a pack with a longer expiration date. If you can’t find one, pass on the item, it’s not a deal if it goes to waste.
Buy only as much as you can safely store
It’s enticing to stock up, especially post-covid. But do you have a space where you can safely store your bulk purchase bounty? Jars of tomato sauce, soup and the like are not exactly perishable, but they should be stored in a temperature stable environment to maintain their flavor and texture. Storing your vats of Prego tomato sauce in the garage where it’s freezing in the winter and sweltering in the summer is not a good idea and a recipe for wasting food.
Before you buy, make sure you have the right storage space for your items. Paper products like paper towels and toilet paper should be stored somewhere clean and dry. A backyard shed is a no, no…unless you don’t mind sharing your paper towels with critters.
Check out the clothing section
Warehouse stores sometimes have awesome deals on clothing items. Deals on staples that are frequently replaced like socks and underwear can shave big money off your clothing budget, especially if you have children. Be sure to keep up with the membership sales alerts, because they often have additional coupons on clothing deals.
Check out the appliance and electronics section
Costco in particular has a ridiculously generous return and price protection policies. On big ticket items, those policies can save you a lot of cash.
For price protection, Costco will refund the difference in price if an item goes on sale within 30 days of your purchase. For returns, Costco will take back electronics and appliances within 90 days. Way longer than the other electronics and appliance retailers.
Make a list
Make a shopping list before you go. Again, make a list before you set one pinky toe in the store. If you don’t, you will come home $1,000 poorer with a pack of lawn chairs, ten 100lb bags of dog food and a yak.
At home, scan the store’s website and note any deals or coupons. Check your email also for deals and coupons and then make your shopping list. While at the store, stick to your list! Unless an item is the deal of the year, if it’s not on your list, you don’t buy it.
Pro tip – the rotisserie chickens should always be on your list. They’re super cheap, tasty and can be used as the foundation for many meals…chicken burritos, chicken salad, and on and on.