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Buying in Bulk: Just Like the Big Guys

Monday, October 29th, 2012

There is an economic term called “economies of scale.” Basically, what it means is that buying can be “cheaper by the dozen.” The more you buy, the less the cost per unit.

That’s why it pays to buy in bulk…sometimes. You really have to be careful because it doesn’t always pay to buy in massive quantities, like that jar of mayonnaise normally seen only in elementary school cafeterias.

Before Leaving the House

It’s important to know where you stand with respect to the things you already have. It’s also important that you have the capacity to store what you may bring home.

Many times you’ll purchase a super-sized item at a great price, only to come home and find you already have enough to last until the year 2021. Also keep in mind how much of one item you can tolerate over a period of time. Don’t buy so much of something that you can’t even stand the thought of it before you have the ability to finish consuming it.

Taking that a step further, you may come home to realize that great deal you’re so proud of won’t fit in the freezer, refrigerator or pantry. In either of these cases, it didn’t really save you any money to buy in bulk. Take a good look to see what you can accommodate before buying.

What Makes Sense to Buy

Sometimes whether to buy becomes a dilemma. Most things that make sense are items that can freeze. Raw chicken will last over half a year in the freezer. I buy large amounts of boneless chicken breasts and freeze them in weekly quantities. Then, I thaw and broil one package per week. Raw steak can freeze for a year. Raw fatty fish will only last a couple of months while lean fish will freeze for six months.

Paper goods are also great to buy in bulk. If you don’t have room to store them in the house, keep them wrapped and store them in the garage. You can save up to 50 percent on paper towels and toilet paper in bulk.

Other items like laundry detergent are

great to buy in bulk because it never spoils or goes out of style!

What You Shouldn’t Buy in Bulk

I know it’s tempting when you see a great price per unit for something you use a lot of. However, not everything can be consumed before it’s too late. Bread is one thing; sure, you can freeze it, but it takes up a lot of space in the freezer.

Obviously, fresh produce is another thing not to buy in bulk because it will rot before you can use all of it. It does freeze, but depending on the type of fruit, you might come out with mush once it’s thawed.

Additionally, bleach only lasts about six months.

Just like everything you buy, you have to be selective when you buy in bulk. Many times we’re tempted to buy in large quantities but find that we cannot use the amount we bought before we have to throw it out, making the purchase unwise.

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