Are you wasting money by not buying in bulk?

If you are like the majority of consumers in the UK, you most likely buy your groceries at your local supermarket, picking up a little of this and that at as you need it. But are you aware that you could make big savings on your weekly shopping bill by […]

If you are like the majority of consumers in the UK, you most likely buy your groceries at your local supermarket, picking up a little of this and that at as you need it. But are you aware that you could make big savings on your weekly shopping bill by buying in bulk?

Here’s an overview of the basics of buying in bulk, including how it can save you money and some of the top household items to buy in bulk.

How does shopping in bulk save me money?

Buying in bulk can reduce the number of trips you make to the shops. This means savings on fuel or public transport costs. Making fewer trips to the shop also means less temptation to buy unnecessary items.

More importantly, shopping in bulk is almost always cheaper per unit. This means that when you buy something in bulk, you save money on each item in the bulk pack. It might just be a few pence, but if it’s something that you use frequently, the savings will quickly add up.

For example, if you save just 10p per unit on something that you use daily, such as canned dog food, each year you could save £36.50. Do this for a number of items in your weekly shop and the savings could be worth a considerable amount of money every year.

Keep in mind, however, that not all bulk buys cost less per unit. It’s always a good idea to run the numbers first to see if there is a real savings opportunity.

What should I buy in bulk?

Bulk buying is a good idea for the items you use most frequently or in large quantities. Here are some top household items to consider buying in bulk to save money:

  • Rice
  • Toiletries (soap, shampoo, toothpaste)
  • Toilet rolls
  • Pasta
  • Tinned goods
  • Pet food
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Nappies

What should I avoid buying in bulk?

On the flip side, there are items that you might want to avoid buying in bulk mainly because they are perishable:

  • Eggs
  • Meat (unless you plan to freeze it)
  • Milk
  • Fresh produce (fruit and vegetables)

Are there any drawbacks to shopping in bulk?

Yes. While buying in bulk can save you money, there are several pitfalls to watch out for.

Sometimes, the lower price of buying in bulk can be so enticing that you end up buying more than you need. Or you might buy more of a product than you have space to store.

Shopping in bulk also puts you at the risk of growing tired of a particular product before it’s completely used up. You might also overindulge simply because you have a seemingly endless supply.

Asking yourself these questions before you purchase items in bulk can help you see whether it’s the right move:

  • Will I completely use up this item before its ‘use by’ or expiry date?
  • Do I have enough space in my fridge, freezer or cupboard to store it?
  • Do I really need this much of the item?
  • What is the price per unit of this item? Is it significantly cheaper than buying smaller quantities?
  • Have I budgeted for it?

Where’s good to shop in bulk?

UK supermarkets have caught up with shoppers’ bulk buying needs and habits and are increasingly offering bulk buying options.

However, wholesalers remain among the top places to shop in bulk. You might have to pay a membership fee at some, if not all, but the savings you stand to make when you shop there in bulk are likely to be worth it.

A quick Google search for “wholesalers” or “cash and carry” will reveal all of the wholesalers who are available in your area. 

Another place to find great bargains when looking to buy in bulk is Amazon, so consider checking them out too.

Can you save even more while shopping in bulk?

Buying in bulk can be made even cheaper if you apply coupons when checking out. Just make sure that the coupons are eligible when buying in bulk first.

For even more savings, consider paying using a cashback credit card. You’ll get cashback for every pound you spend on the card. So every time you spend, you’ll be putting some of the money back in your pocket.

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