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July 01, 2011


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I do my grocery shopping every 2 weeks, part of my budget is ALWAYS for specials that may not be on my shopping list (I seldom excede my very strict budget) There are often in store specials that I may not have been aware of before doing the shopping and I take advantage of these but ONLY for items that I know I will need in the next couple of weeks.

So you initially saved some money by buying those items in bulk. How much would that money have made you if you had kept it, invested it, bought those items as needed and applied a manufacturer's coupon? None of those items are high demand/low supply items. How much return on your money is lost by paying in advance for those items. Who needs years worth of envelopes/staples, soap/shampoo, and toilet paper? Not me.

Shampoo, toothpaste, and detergent costs can be generally be cut in half by using half, so much of this stuff is wasted.

Years ago, I read Tobias' The Only Investment Book You'll Ever Need, and he mentioned buying staple items in bulk as an inflation hedge. You're not going to make huge "returns" on money invested in items like TP and tuna fish, but I like to think of it as dual purpose. It saves me a bit of money (especially when paired with coupons), and I have an emergency pantry stocked at all times with canned goods, dry goods, bottled water, etc. It also saves me money in that I'm rarely forced to burn up gasoline going to the grocery store for oft-used items off schedule.

Besides the suggestions above on what to buy in bulk, I will buy discounted or marked down meat at Target. I will "stalk" their meat dept and when the markdown stickers are slapped on, I will clean out the meat case. I will precook some of the hamburger to have it ready to go, and partition out the rest and freeze it for later use.

Every year at back-to-school time, Wal-Mart (et al) have those 70-page spiral notebooks on sale for 10c (they might be 15c now)...let's say over the years I've spend $2 here $2 there and my wife had to buy an $8 tupperware tote to hold all of them. I fail to see the problem.

OMGoodness I would be rich already if I did not drink alcohol. Not that I'm a total lush, but to me nothing beats a good microbrew or glass of wine after a long hard day. If I didn't love to eat gourmet food I would also probably have a lot more $. But I guess it's all about balance. That's why I spend the rest of my free time exercising -- it's free and makes up for my gluttony.

Happy 4th, all!

I love buying my wine at Costco- really saves me money! I know, not drinking wine at all would save me more......

I too have bought office supplies in bulk at Costco and now have enough envelopes to last several years, but I don't mind.

I bought the first class postal "Forever" stamps in bulk (like $200 worth) back when they first came out in 2007. I think they were 41 cents each then and are now worth 44 cents. That's a 7.3% return on my money so far and not having to buy more stamps for a long long time is worth it to me.

good list, though i can add another 10 of my own! soda for starters :)

you should NOT buy Alcohol (If you drink) in bulk...if you have more, will drink more (same as tobacco)

Vitamins should NOT be bought in bulk as they oxidize over time. They should be used prior to the expiration date - and every bottle should have one - which is typically only a year out.

Somewhat off the topic, but if you use a toothbrush for 6 months, you probably have some nasty stuff going on in your mouth! Worse that that. brushes that are placed in a cup, holder or other open area in the bathroom. Every flush fills the air with whatever is in the bowl when flushed. That is not paranoia, I saw the studies from paper companies. Brushes should be replaced often AND be kept in a place protected from the open air in a bathroom as much as possible. I just slide mine in a ziplog bag (also replaced regularly) and throw it in the drawer. To bring it back on topic, that means take advantage of the deals to buy in bulk.

Agree on the others, especially the comment that keeping a stock of alcohol and tobacco (and unhealthy candy and snacks) will lead to a higher consumption.

Just last week there was a post about paper products being something you should NOT purchase at a warehouse club.

Target is where I buy mine. The last time I bought TP was 2 years ago. I still have 5 rolls left. I have no idea what the quantity was but as a single dude I don't go through much of it.

Love your decade of staples. I bought a box of staples in 1984 that I just finished last year! 5000 staples lasted a LONG time.

Thank you for this awesome list! So concise. Love it. The great thing about buying things like non-perishable items in bulk, is that even if you never end up using them, you can always give them away to shelters or the homeless. In fact, all of the things on your list are just practical to keep around (unless, of course, you don't drink— in which case, just buy more toilet paper! You can never have too much TP!)
Buying these basics is a great way to save money, especially when stores promote 2 for 1 deals, as they often do with many of these items.

Also look into resturant supply companies. Many will sell to the retail public too in bulk, just not advertise it.

For example, a local supply company MasterPo goes to sells a case of individually wrapped paper towels - 30 rolls, 2 ply, 70 count per roll - for $20. By comparison, Walmart brand paper towels per pack - 8 rolls, 2 ply, 56 count - is $9-$10.

re: Buying alcohol in bulk... from Thanksgiving to New Years typically there are a lot of sales on alcohol, and there are a lot of gift packs available where you can get free glasses, martini shakers, et al for the same price you'd pay for just the bottle. In addition, a lot of stores around here have a buy six or more, get 10% off policy. If you can combine these deals with manufacturer/store coupons or mail in rebates, you can really save a lot. As far as buying more=drinking more, that depends on the person, and if you stock up at the end of the year knowing that you won't buy any more until a year later, you'll want to make it last!

I've never paid for toothpaste or toothbrushes. Coupon most of the time meaning each week or two with a coupon these are freeeeeeeeee

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