The pro's and con's of bulk-buying

Bulk Buying: Does It Really Save You Money In The Long-term?

Posted on 11th September 2019

Bulk buying can be a fantastic way to reduce your shopping bill. However, is buying more than you need a cost-cutting exercise or a surefire way to waste what you do not use?

Whilst the UK does not yet take bulk buying to the extreme as our American cousins, Brits will have noticed enticing offers to buy more and get a lower price rather than purchasing that item individually.

Furthermore, buying in bulk means fewer trips to the supermarket, reducing the amount of packaging used and frees up our time to do other things.

Interestingly, three-quarters of British shoppers concede that they buy items in bulk. 

Alarmingly, one in twelve shoppers admit that buying in bulk has actually made them worse off. Furthermore, 19% do not use the items they buy in volume – despite 86% of bulk buyers stating they stock up to save money.

What is bulk buying?

Bulk buying is the practice of buying more items than you need for your home, in return for getting a lower price per item, as you have purchased more.


Advantages of bulk buying

Getting more for your money

Buying in bulk is a steadfast way to purchase household items you require and regularly use at a lower cost. How many times have you walked into a supermarket to be faced with a “BOGOF” (Buy One Get One Free) offer or a “Buy 3 and only pay for 2” deals? These offers are there to entice us to spend a little more in return for a discount. 

The concept behind these offers is that in the long-term, it will save us money. 

Why? Well, because when we run out, we already have a fresh supply of them already at a reduced market-price cost. Buying additional groceries at the individual price will cost us more. 

Plus, fewer trips to the supermarket save us on public transport or fuel costs, saving you further pounds and aiding the environment in the process.

Use coupons

Bulk buying can be even cheaper if you have a coupon when paying at the checkout. (Check first if the voucher can be applied to bulk buying items). Several money-saving websites will regularly offer items in bulk, passing even more significant savings to households on a budget. is where shoppers can obtain coupons and find out where to get items that are cheaper and from which store, whether in bulk or as an individual purchase.

Disadvantages of bulk buying

More often than not, shoppers spend more than they intended

Some items that are used regularly and keep well can be successfully bought in bulk. Several household products, toiletries and non-perishable food items will keep for months and thus will pass on their savings each time a household uses them.  

Other items, including perishable food groups and clothes that either the buyer (or more likely children) will grow out of, appear a better deal than they really are. It is this bulk offers that encourage shoppers to part with more cash than they really intended on spending and often lead to wasted produce or thrown away clothes. 

Buying more than you need

Think thoroughly before bulk buying: will you be able to use all of those many items you have purchased before their use-by or sell-by date? Will you even find the space required to store the items for when you actually need them? 

Buying in bulk means that you will very often run the risk of tiring of a particular product before it’s all been used up, or overindulge or gorge on the product because you seem to have a never-ending supply. 

What to remember when bulk buying

Do your research

Before making any large purchases, it’s always best to do your own little research and ask yourself: 

  1. What is it I am looking to buy? 
  2. How much does this particular item costs in several other stores?
  3. What will the saving be?
  4. Is the saving worth my time getting it in bulk?
  5. Will I be able to use all of this product before its sell-by or use-by dates? 

If you’re making a significant saving on items that will last, then you are onto a winner and should purchase that particular item. 

Buying in bulk can save you a great deal of money if you are comfortable with the notion to put in the effort and research or shop around. Several items are an absolute steal when they are available as part of a bulk buy offer, whilst other purchases may be less of a deal than first initially thought.

Best products to stock up on

Bulk buys of ‘tougher’ items like pasta, rice, fruit juice and items that can be frozen (meat, frozen vegetables, cheese) if you have the fridge-freezer to store it can knock your shopping bill down by half, however, once again, the downside is ensuring you can store them.

The same with non-perishable products; they are ideal for bulk buying if you have the storage. Again check what you can store at home first prior to heading to the supermarket or online to buy. Not exclusive but these are ideal examples of items to bulk buy:

  • toilet rolls
  • washing powder
  • toothpaste
  • shampoo and conditioner
  • tinned goods like baked beans
  • soap
  • pasta
  • rice
  • spices

You could also add items like chocolate, nuts, biscuits, cheese and ground coffee – yet beware, because you have more of them, households tend to believe it is okay to gorge more on them, so you will inevitably need to purchase more.

Final thoughts

Buying in bulk can be a money-saving tip for households looking to shelve pounds of their grocery shopping. 

But, don’t confuse bulk buying with discounted products that you would normally not buy as this is a sure-fire way to accumulating debt.

Remember, only buy non-perishable items that have a long “shelf-life”, so that they can be used several times in the future without fear of them going past their sell-by date. Otherwise, as with most food items that go old, they will get tossed into the bin.

Are you a bulk buyer? What items do you usually stock up on?

Let me know in the comments section below.

Author: Katre Kaarenperk-vanatoa

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