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You should always shop with a list, but this is even more important when buying in bulk.

Buy in Bulk and Reduce Your Grocery Bill

As anyone obsessed with finding deals will tell you, a membership at a wholesale store like Sam’s Club or Costco is worth its weight in gold. Matthew Pryor explains on CBN.com that it’s easy to be skeptical of bulk buying when the savings are minimal at first, but after paying up to $45 in an annual membership fee, you are able to save what Pryor calculated to be around 30 percent compared to typical grocery store prices. That amounts to about 25 cents per serving of orange juice, for example. That may not seem impressive at first, but extrapolate that over a year of orange juice drinking, though, and that’s around $90 saved. Add that up for all the groceries you regularly buy, and you could save thousands, making that $45 fee well worth it. Use these tips to maximize your bulk buy savings.

Plan Ahead

So you’ve decided you want in on this trendy savings club that everyone raves about. Don’t even think about setting foot in one until you’ve made a game plan, or at least a list. Bulk buys only add up to significant savings when you actually use what you purchase, but it requires careful planning. The easiest place to start would be nonperishable items that you need everyday, including:

  • Paper goods (paper towels, toilet paper, tissues)
  • Cleaning supplies (dish soap, laundry detergent, bathroom cleaner)
  • Toiletries (toothpaste, soap and lotion)

Wholesale outlets sell a wide variety of food as well, but this is where more planning will be required to extract the most savings. Many frozen foods and dried foods like rice, dried beans, and spices stay good for months and make a wise investment. You can save loads of money on these items over a regular grocer, but make sure you only buy the food you find yourself eating several times per week. Wasted food is wasted money; this is even more pertinent with fresh meat, produce, or anything with an impending expiration date.

Plan Even More

You went out and bought only your favorite cleaning products as well as a trunk-full of your favorite dry goods. Consider where you will put all of it; bulk purchases are just that, bulky. Unless you want to sleep on a bed of Brawny paper towels, you should make sure what you buy can first fit in your car, and then in your home. With the large amount of food you’ve bought, be wary of overindulging. After all, why skimp on butter when you have eight pounds of it? Ignoring your food intake can lead to unhealthy eating, as well as running out of items even faster than before, thus negating any savings.

Optimize Your Savings

If you’re not content with what you’re already saving, coupons can shave even more off the list price. Sam’s Club and Costco generally do not accept manufacturer’s coupons that you might find in newspapers, but they do offer their own coupon books to take advantage of. Trent Hamm of TheSimpleDollar.com suggests planning purchases around coupons or deals. If you’re running low on toilet paper, for example, look for a coupon or sale on it and save even more than usual. Some online retailers also offer bulk buying options, one of the most popular being Amazon’s Subscribe and Save feature. By subscribing to a regular delivery of items (mostly personal care products are available), Amazon will offer free shipping and an additional discount of up to 15 percent. While the potential for savings compared to brick-and-mortar retailers like Costco may be small, the added convenience of regular delivery makes Amazon a worthwhile alternative.

The views expressed by the articles and sites linked in this post do not necessarily reflect the opinions and policies of Cash Central or Community Choice Financial®. 

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