Guest Author - Reshma Vyas
Many individuals are discovering the benefits of bulk buying such as convenience, flexibility in terms of quantity, selection, packaging and price as well as the opportunity to sample a greater variety of foods. However, buying food and household products in bulk can also produce other tangible benefits such as:
• Aid in menu planning.
• Help you lower fuel costs by reducing the number of trips to supermarkets, drugstores and other retail outlets and warehouses.
• Streamline household efficiency and organization. Many bulk items can be easily stored in glass jars, containers, bins, freezer and plastic bags. To speed up efficiency and convenience, establish a color coding or labeling system to identify food and various products.
Bulk buying lends itself to a plethora of items; everything from frozen vegetables, meats, nuts, cereal, macaroni and assorted pasta, health foods such as protein powder and trail mix, baking supplies, condiments, bottled water, household cleansers and detergents, beauty and health products to stationary and home office supplies. If you are so inclined and have the space as well as the time, you can also purchase fresh fruit in bulk and prepare your homemade preserves or by purchasing peanuts in bulk, you can make your own peanut butter.
Buying in bulk can be an effective method to save money and time. However, it does require preliminary planning and organization. Space is a critical consideration. How much space can you realistically allocate to your bulk supplies? Frequency of use and consumption should also be analyzed. Consumers should be aware of the expiration date or shelf life of a product that they plan to purchase in bulk. Do not automatically assume that if you buy in bulk, you are saving money. Take a personal calculator when you go shopping and calculate the price and quantity for each product in order to determine if you are actually benefiting from purchasing the items in bulk. It is also helpful to verify the price per unit (e.g., gallon, quart, pint, ounce, etc.). If additional discounts are offered through the utilization of a coupon or rebate offer, one should also factor that into consideration.
Maintaining A Perspective On Bulk Buying
Can people go too far by buying in bulk? Absolutely! For those individuals for whom buying in bulk is almost a “lifestyle”, the biggest drawback is limiting the size of their shopping list. Warehouses that cater to bulk shoppers display a dizzying array of food and products and continually strive to create a warm, inviting ambience in order to entice shoppers. It becomes extremely easy for even the most disciplined shoppers to stray from their shopping list, thereby losing track of the original purpose of buying in bulk; to save money and time. Often, those who are new to bulk shopping become so excited about finding bargains that they inevitably end up buying things that they may not ever consume or do not really need. It is a prudent strategy to limit your bulk buying to items that you will actually use.
Small savings can add up over time. Saving even a couple of dollars a day may appear to be an inordinately trivial amount but over the span of weeks, months and a year, it can result in significant savings for many households.