Why buying in bulk does not always save you money…

Lately, I have had quite a few situations with clients who like to go to Costco or Sam’s Club to buy in bulk and save money. There are also many clients who have embraced Amazon’s auto ship policy. But is this really saving you money??

As a professional organizer I have to say more times than not buying in bulk only creates a new set of issues.

The reasons I do not agree with bulk purchases:

-Some houses just do not have the storage space for bulk purchases. Especially cases of paper towels and toilet paper.

-If storage space is limited then these bulk items have to either be shoved into a space, left in garage or maybe even scattered in different places throughout the house.

-If items are scattered throughout the house then there is a good chance you will forget what you have and buy more.

-These bulk items also steal space from the items that you need on  a regular basis.  Making it much harder to find what you use daily.

-Haven’t we all gotten on a health kick with a certain new protein powder, vitamin, or snack that we really wanted to love? But with adults and especially kids we go through phases and may grow tired of a certain product.  Then we are stuck with cases of something we no longer eat.

-Plain and simple, food has an expiration date.  If you stock up on more than you can possibly eat before the item goes bad then the food is wasted.

-Once you tire of an item then it is much better to donate to a food pantry than to just let the item gather dust and expire.

-If you are about to run out of an item there are so many websites and stores at your disposal.  With one click of a button or a 10 minute drive to the store you can replenish in no time.

I know there are situations where a bulk purchase makes a lot of sense.  For example, you need to take snacks for your child’s classroom, you are hosting a party or maybe making holiday gift baskets for your neighbors and friends.  This is the case where you may save some money.  But again how much is that annual fee to keep your membership? And when you go to buy in bulk are you tempted to pick up other items that were not on your list?

Next time you are tempted to stock up on something ask yourself these questions.  Do you really have a place to store these things? Do you really need such a large quantity? How much are your really saving?  How much time will you spend trying to find a place to store the items?