Purchasing home items in bulk could save you a ton in the long run. Photo: Localism
I invested in my first Costco membership two years ago, despite my reluctance to do so. I'm a firm believer that living simply is the way to go, and shopping at a mega-warehouse such as Costco just seemed to contradict my "Simplify!" mission statement. After all, there's nothing simple about 200 rolls of toilet paper in a 900 square foot apartment.
Yet I was pleasantly surprised when my grocery bill was cut in half at the end of the year. It turns out that by following a few key rules of bulk shopping, you really can save in a huge way. Here are the ground rules I stick to --- whether I like it or not:
1. Only purchase items that you regularly buy.
My mother always told me "It's not a sale if you don't need it," which I realize now as an adult, is the truth. Start out buying household items that you use often, such as toilet paper, hand soap, trash bags, paper towels and shampoo/conditioner.
2. Only purchase items that you have room to buy.
My first Costco trip was an incredible waste, as I found myself handing out boxes of minute rice, bottles of ketchup and packages of TV dinners after realizing my kitchen cabinets couldn't sustain the sheer amount of food I had brought home. So if you don't want to hand out mustard to your Trick-or-Treat'ers this year, be sure to follow this important rule.
3. Only purchase items that you won't eat in bulk.
The truth of the matter is that if it's in your home, you'll eat it. If you're trying to cut back on your portion sizes, bulk food shopping may not be for you. The temptation is to finish off the remaining food in your home, and no one needs a triple-super-sized pack of Oreos. If you find that bulk shopping is truly cheaper for your family, try storing the excess food in a separate area of the home or a less-visited pantry. Keep it out of immediate reach, but in a consistent place so that you won't forget you've already purchased it!
And of course, the golden rule? If you find yourself throwing away a regular-sized item, don't ever purchase this in bulk. Seems like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how often I've toted home fresh blueberries and promised myself I'd eat them all...