Most smart grocery shoppers take their time while in the store. They analyze and compare specifications, including brands, ingredients, size, and value. These shoppers quickly come to realize that in many cases, they can save quite a bit of money by buying in larger quantities.
Why are bulk items sometimes cheaper? Well, think about how goods are more expensive at the local corner store than they are at a big box retailer, or how restaurants can often buy food for much cheaper than it costs a mom or dad at the grocery store.
Not only does it cost more to make a small quantity of items than it does to make a large quantity, there are also associated advertising and other costs sellers pay to make their money off each item they sell. Therefore, sellers have incentive to get rid of a lot of their product quickly.
Bulk-buying became increasingly popular before the turn of the century as stores like Price Club (which merged with Costco in the mid-1990s) and Sam’s Club offered club members thousands of bulk items to choose from. These days, we can buy in bulk virtually anywhere, ranging from Amazon, to eBay, to Walmart, to pretty much wherever. But should we always buy in bulk?
Bulk buying can have its perks. With items like paper products, some toiletries, batteries, and some frozen foods, buying in large quantities can save you some serious cash. There are, however, a few instances when buying large quantities of an item in one fell swoop can end up being more costly, and even detrimental. We’ve created a list of the worst things you can buy in bulk. Read on to check out some of these items of the following pages.
Buy more, consume more
If you’re trying to lose weight or live a healthier lifestyle, one of the worst things you can do is buy those jumbo size packages of snack cakes, chips, or other junk food items.
Numerous studies have shown a correlation between food availability and healthy lifestyle. According to data published on Strategic Alliance, a California institute designed to promote health and well-being, “communities with a large number of retailers that sell unhealthy food may also contribute to chronic disease.” It adds that “community residents who have better access to grocery stores and limited access to convenience stores tend to have lower levels of obesity.”
So, before you buy those boxes of 100 cookies for $5 off or 20 bags of chips for $2 a savings, keep in mind that your savings comes with an associated cost. Although that cost may not come out of your pocket immediately, it will come out eventually. And it’s a cost you may not be able to recoup: damage to your health.
Addictive or habit-forming substances
Millions upon million of Americans are addicted to various behaviors and substances, ranging from cigarettes to alcohol to exercise. But one of the more common addictions among Americans is caffeine, as the majority of American adults drink coffee daily.
According to the FDA, too much caffeine can result in a tolerance to the substance. And, while you’re more than likely not going to destroy your life, steal, or show classic drug-seeking behaviors because of a caffeine habit, intaking too much of the substance regularly can cause physical withdrawal symptoms if you abruptly stop. Depending on your body weight and type, more than 600 mg per day or four to seven cups of coffee per day is too much (for some people, their coffee limit is much less).
Therefore, while you can absolutely save a few bucks by stocking up on coffee (a 30-pack of single serve cups costs 67 cents per unit versus a 160 pack, which costs 44 cents per unit). You may want to just shell out the few extra dollars if it’ll help you slow down on the Joe.
The same idea applies with cigarettes or any other substances that are addictive or habit-forming. If you buy in bulk, you may use in bulk.
When it comes to buying perishables in bulk, the Simple Dollar suggests a few rules of thumb to live by:
- For items you buy, always think in terms of per-unit costs.
- Never buy any perishable in bulk that you can’t or won’t use or process within a few days. That is, don’t buy perishables unless you plan on making meals to eat, can, or freeze within a few days.
So, while those buy four, get two free deals on bananas may sound tempting, shy away unless the deal makes sense. Do you plan on making and freezing banana bread and banana pudding this week? If not, it’s best to find a deal on another item.