Most people know that buying in bulk is generally more cost-effective than buying products individually. You can pick up a massive bag of rice and bring your average meal down to just pennies, or stock up on packs of canned goods that will last you for years.
You’re most likely aware of shops like Costco that have huge warehouses, with products sold in bulk for discount prices. It’s easy to walk down the aisles with a huge shopping trolley and have it full in ten minutes. The question is, are you really saving by doing these huge shops at a food wholesaler? Is whole sale for everyone?
The first thing to take into account is the cost for the membership to get into these companies, as you’ll generally need to spend about $50 for the membership card that lets you shop. Based on this, you’ll need to save at least this amount over the year, which in turn means you’ll probably need to do a wholesale shop several times a year.
But then, generally, even with this extra fee, it’s highly likely you’ll make your money back and more. Even if you do a big shop four times a year, the savings you’ll make compared to getting similar items individually each week or two will add up fast. You need to be selective about the things you choose to buy from these wholesale shops though. The first thing you should always avoid is to buy too many perishable goods from these shops. Things that will go bad quickly will inevitably do so if you buy too many, even with good intentions to eat or drink them all. Unfortunately, it isn’t realistic to drink 10 gallons of milk before it goes bad, and the 50 bananas will most likely go bad well before you eat them. Instead, focus on non-perishables like tinned food, dry food like pasta and rice, and other foods that won’t go bad quickly, or can be frozen if you have a freezer big enough.
Another mistake to avoid is to shop too much. It may be tempting to go to the wholesaler every month just because you have the card, but this may lead to overspending. Most likely, when you do a shop, you’ll find goods you didn’t really set out to buy. If you add a few of these in each month, you’ll quickly rack up a bill. This goes along with impulse buying. You should try to make a list and stick to it as much as possible. Buying a tonne of chicken soup may be the best idea in the world when you’re in the shop. In reality, are you really going to eat it all? The potentially good idea is to check out the big-ticket items if you have the self-control – things like TVs and furniture can often be found for cheaper than elsewhere. Similar to food though, be careful you don’t end up buying a car full of power tools you probably don’t really need.
Finally, shop for household necessities like toilet roll and washing-up liquid. It’s always a good idea to have a good stock of these things. You’ll likely make a good saving when compared to buying a pack of them every week.
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