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On the surface, buying items in bulk is the smart thing to do. You end up paying less per unit than you would if you bought in small batches, and it can also be extremely convenient. After all, when you buy 60 rolls of toilet paper at once, you can be sure that you won’t run out for a while.

It is important to note, though, that buying in bulk does have a downside. If you’re not smart about it, it can end up costing you both in terms of money and aggravation. With that in mind, here are some tips to help you make smart bulk buying decisions.

Storage Space

People shopping in a large supermarketThe first thing to consider is the amount of storage space you have – and to be realistic about it. If you have a freezer chest in your garage, then you may be in a good position to stock up on frozen items that you get in bulk. On the other hand, if all you have is the small freezer that’s part of your refrigerator, frozen items may have to be purchased in small quantities on a more regular basis.

The same goes for shelf and pantry space. Some non-perishable items can be stored in a cellar or attic, while others may require a more stable temperature. The key is to make an honest assessment of the space you have available and make your buying decisions accordingly.

Deciding What to Buy

bulk food storageOnce you know how much space you have, you can make decisions about what to buy. Here are some guidelines that may help.

  1. Buy only items that you know your family will use. There’s no reason to buy things that won’t get used, so stay away from impulse purchases. If you see a product that you think your family might like, make a note of it and then buy a small portion at the regular grocery store to have them try it. You can always go back and buy the big case of it later if they like it.
  2. Consider the effect on your family’s health before buying. It might seem like a great idea to buy that huge vat of candy, but if your family ends up eating more candy than they normally would, it can have negative consequences, too.
  3. Take the time to calculate the unit price. If you don’t know how much you normally pay for something, you might end up miscalculating. While most things are significantly less expensive when you buy in bulk, there are exceptions.
  4. Take it easy when buying perishable items. Not only are you likely to have limited storage space for them, but if your family doesn’t consume them quickly then you might be throwing money away. Be practical. If everyone in your family loves oranges, then buying a crate of them probably makes sense. However, if only one family member likes blueberries, it’s probably best to buy a small container instead of a huge one.

If you follow these steps, then you can buy in bulk and save money without feeling like you have to step over huge piles of bulk products in your home. The key is to be both smart and practical – and to reap the financial benefits that come with buying in bulk.

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