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Buying items in bulk is great way to cut down on costs. Not only do you save money on the price per unit, but you are also saving money on trips to the grocery store as you'll need these items less.
It's best to use somewhere like Sam's Club and Costco. If you don't have a card, ask around and see if someone has one you can borrow. If you know any small business owners, they are certainly good people to ask.
One of the primary concerns people seem to have with buying items in bulk is storing them. Be creative! Look for little unfilled nooks and crannies. Do you have a book shelf of paper backs with space behind them? Could that space hold toilet paper? Can you tuck items on a shelf in your garage? How about in your crawl space? Or even under your bed or your couch.
The key when picking items to buy in bulk is to look for things with a long shelf life. Be sure to check expiration dates on everything. If you end up purchasing something and not using all of it, when the expiration date comes near shoot an email to your friends and family and ask if anyone needs 1lb of flour or so. Ask them to either donate for it or give them the actual price of the item.
You can even consider splitting bulk items up and charging just below standard retail for a quantity of the item so you are making a little profit.
Here are some of the best items to buy in bulk:
I buy this in 36 roll packs and it lasts us a really really long time. I have these stored under the sink in our bathroom.
I use the tabs, not the powder because I like having a pre-measured amount of detergent. A big tub of 70 tabs takes up about as much room as a normal box of powder would.
We use eco-friendly detergent and always opt for the biggest size available.
I buy these in the industrial sizes... about 100 bags to a box.
My in-laws got a huge bulk bag of rice a while ago and gave us 5lb of it. We're still working our way through the bag.
I haven't yet found a good source for bulk flour, though I do tend to buy big bags. If you do a lot of making your own bread or baking, this is a good idea.
Pet food tends to have a long shelf life, so I buy big bags of food for the cat, as well as the multi-packs of wet food pouches. I choose the variety packs so that she doesn't get bored.
This is an often overlooked one, but if you eat cereal daily this can save you a ton of money.