When does bulk-buying pay off?

May 15, 2009 10:04:16 AM PDT
Warehouse clubs, like BJ's, say members can save about 30% off their grocery bills by shopping there and buying in bulk. But is bulk-buying right for you?

If you can't store the items or you're not going to use them all, you could end up wasting money.

Cindy Jennings, of BJ's, says, "Pasta, as an example is a great dish. It saves money and it stays for a long time. You can put it in your pantry and not worry about it for a while. " Paper products, and diapers, which don't go bad, also make good bulk buys.

But produce, which can spoil before you use it all up, may not be a good idea.

If you don't have a big family, but you still want to take advantage of savings that bulk buying can provide, consider shopping with a partner.

Also, look for items like bulk packs of individually packaged chicken breasts that can be frozen and then used one at a time.

Or, buy a big cut of meat, like a tenderloin, and have the butcher cut it into smaller steaks that can be frozen and taken out as needed.

And you can add to your savings by using coupons. BJ's lets you use a store coupon along with manufacturer's coupon on a single item.

And if two of the items are packaged together, you can use TWO manufacturer's coupons!

Finally, bulk-buying save you more than just money. Since you buy more in a single shopping trip, you may find you have to shop less often, so it can be a time-saver as well.

Before buying in bulk, here are questions you should ask:
1) Will I use all of this item before it expires or spoils?
2) Do I have enough storage space for this item?
3) Is there someone with whom I can split the item and the cost?
4) Do I have coupons for this item? And can I use more than one coupon?
5) Do I have a good idea of what this item sells for in non-bulk form, so that I'm sure I'm actually saving?

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