Author Topic: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk  (Read 15950 times)

heybro

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 196
Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« on: May 21, 2016, 01:16:47 AM »
<<<<Paying More for More Than You Need
Imagine that your favorite shampoo is sold for $12 per 20 ounce bottle. You find out that you can buy a 180 ounce bottle for a mere $45. What a deal; for about four times the price, you receive six times more shampoo. So you buy it and then spend the next year and a half using the same shampoo - that's longer than most celebrity marriages. Or however, you might end up using it up in less than a year because, with all this shampoo sitting in the shower, there is no point skimping, so you use twice as much as usual and are back buying another $45 bottle in six months. Or maybe you get sick of using the same shampoo and switch to a different brand before finishing off the monster bottle. These are all common problems with bulk buying.>>>>

Read more: The Dark Side Of Bulk Buying | Investopedia http://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/07/bulk_buying.asp#ixzz49GwATZ2A


I think a good rule of thumb is that if you have a set budget for a category (in example 'body supplies') you should never exceed that budget to buy in bulk.  For example, if you are allowed 200 a month for groceries, you shouldn't spend 300 in one month cause you found ketchup on sale.

Also, never under-estimate the likelyhood that you could change your preference.  What if you don't like eating ketchup anymore 5 weeks from now?

OR what if that huge jug of ketchup actually causes you to squirt more out on your plate?  How do you know it isn't?

boarder42

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7849
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2016, 04:51:05 AM »
I think think this is pretty bad advice in general. Pork tenderloin is on sale at my local grocery store for 1.99 /lb.  I bought 8 packs.  We eat tons of pork right now bc its the cheapest meat. I can buy normal pork loin for 1.99 most says. But I just got a way better cut of meat for the same price and stocked up so now we can eat it for a few months. I don't have self control issues when I buy in bulk with things on sale.

So could my food net cost be the same. Probably with this example but I'd be eating crappier food. Bulk buying when on sale is a cornerstone here.

Thinking one month at a time with your budget is very short sighted thinking. Youre likely costing yourself in the long run. 

Rural

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4850
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2016, 04:58:23 AM »
If my preferences change and I still have the old shampoo, I use the old shampoo and don't buy a new one. It's a preference, not a mandate. Do you go out and buy everything you think you want even if you don't need it (perhaps because you already have shampoo)? That's a much bigger problem.

meep

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 34
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2016, 06:05:19 AM »
So OP, do you also pay your car insurance monthly even though you'll get a discount paying it all at once because you might want to change insurance companies in the middle of the year? Pay for month to month rentals? Pay as you go cell phones?

I agree about food and such (don't buy more than you can eat) but like Rural said, just finish off your shampoo before changing brands. You won't die from finishing it and you did save money buying it. And if you're over using your shampoo by double you have other issues. I buy my household goods in bulk. I'm pickier with my food items.

meg_shannon

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 168
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2016, 07:04:18 AM »
The Simple Dollar has addressed the shampoo example. You can usually easily decant the enormous bottle into an empty smaller one, and then you're no longer tempted to use more than needed.

I already decant several items in the kitchen to allow my young child to be more self sufficient. She can't squeeze out her own ketchup (and other condiments) if it's in the huge bottle. So I buy generic squeeze bottles and fill them about half full.

ender

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4939
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2016, 07:11:54 AM »
This is all based on really dumb examples.

Buying in bulk is something we normally do for one of two reasons:

  • Bulk items are considerably cheaper per unit than individual
  • Individual items are significantly on sale

We only buy in bulk for things we would otherwise want/buy as individual units.


Rezdent

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 813
  • Location: Central Texas
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2016, 07:21:52 AM »
This is all based on really dumb examples.

Buying in bulk is something we normally do for one of two reasons:

  • Bulk items are considerably cheaper per unit than individual
  • Individual items are significantly on sale

We only buy in bulk for things we would otherwise want/buy as individual units.
+1
Buying basic items in bulk has really reduced my expenses - partly because it minimizes trips to the store.  I can easily go a month without shopping when my garden is producing.

frugaliknowit

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1671
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2016, 08:48:07 AM »
A reason not to buy in bulk is someone in a small household living in small living quarters (me, for example) does not have the storage space and gains less buying in bulk.  I DO buy tea, protein supplements, and Truvia in bulk because they do not take up a lot of space and are much cheaper on-line.  On the other hand, a single household only uses "so much" toilet paper, paper towels and cleaning products (where the heck are you going to put it all). 

I think it IS possible to stay within your food budget and buy some bulk items; just not all at once.  For example, if I saw deboned chicken thighs (below $2/lb), ground turkey (below $2.50/lb), frozen veggies ($1/lb or less), I would stuff my freezer with them.  It probably helps to have a realistic food budget that takes into account some bulk buying, which in the long run should be offset by consuming the surplus items (defrosting the steaks bought 3 weeks ago on sale, so buy less meat this week...).
« Last Edit: May 21, 2016, 08:49:43 AM by frugaliknowit »

Jakejake

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 720
  • FIRE: June 17, 2016
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2016, 09:09:04 AM »
Is getting bored with a bottle of shampoo an actual thing that happens to people?

sheepstache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2424
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2016, 09:13:57 AM »
I do sometimes see people care more about the cost per oz than the overall amount they are spending. If the bulk food goes bad, it doesn't matter that the stuff you did consume was cheap. So I can see the point of pointing out the potential psychological mistake here. And people may not realize that, in bulk, something goes bad. Not everyone knows that flour can go bad (maybe you can fix that by putting it in the freezer, but then freezer space is probably more valuable than cupboard space). Or lotions might separate. You have to be smart about it like everything else.

Rural

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4850
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2016, 12:21:30 PM »
Is getting bored with a bottle of shampoo an actual thing that happens to people?


Not in the passive voice like that, it doesn't. Some may choose to be bored...

mies

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 480
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2016, 12:28:59 PM »
I think buying in bulk is ok. Just make sure you do the math to make sure it is actually less expensive. A lot of bulk size stuff often is the same price or more expensive than the regular size. I think some retailers take advantage of the fact that most people assume bulk sizes are a better value. Some simple division can reveal otherwise.

shadowmoss

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1105
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2016, 12:55:00 PM »
I went to the 99cent store because it was next door to where I had another errand.  I needed peanut butter.  I eat a lot of peanut butter.  They had a jar for 99 cents, but it was only 10oz.  I went through it in a week.  I was back in that neighborhood again (it is next to the thrift store where I'm offloading a lot of my stuff getting ready to move).  I bought another one.  When that was almost gone, I decided enough of this and went to Fry's (Kroger here in AZ) and priced the larger jar.  It was on sale, $2.99 for...  28 oz.  The 99cent store was actually cheaper per oz at  $.10/oz , and that was the normal price, not the sale price.  I was amazed.  I'll end up buying several at a time, I guess.

Trudie

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1678
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2016, 01:04:59 PM »
I'm a proponent of bulk, because it saves me time as well as money.  We're a household of two, but I've never had to throw out any bulk food purchases from Costco because it got old on me or I got tired of something.  We either eat it up right away or freeze it.  If anything, it means I go to the store much less which adds to my bottom line as well as my sanity.  It also cuts down on the miles I drive.

I thought the shampoo idea was stupid.  I use the same amount, regardless of the size of the bottle.  If anyone at my house got tired of it we'd just suck it up.

And I agree with the other posters here.  I buy in bulk -- especially in meat -- when things are on sale.  We eat what we have and eat a varied diet.  Although it took some work to eat up the 99 cent per pound ground pork I bough in a ten pound pack a few months back we've been making our way through the homemade meatloaf and taco meat in the freezer.  I love having meals ready to eat that I can pop out of the freezer and heat up.

hops

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 294
  • Location: United States
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2016, 01:30:20 PM »
A reason not to buy in bulk is someone in a small household living in small living quarters (me, for example) does not have the storage space and gains less buying in bulk.  I DO buy tea, protein supplements, and Truvia in bulk because they do not take up a lot of space and are much cheaper on-line.  On the other hand, a single household only uses "so much" toilet paper, paper towels and cleaning products (where the heck are you going to put it all). 

Dividing purchases between households is a good way to realize the financial gains of purchasing in bulk without letting anything (storage space or worse, the product itself) go to waste, if the option's there for you. We were surprised by how many friends and relatives were enthusiastic about the idea of splitting Costco purchases, whether it's groceries or household supplies.

MrsPete

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3519
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #15 on: May 21, 2016, 02:06:03 PM »
Uh, no.  I'm not buying any of this.  I don't get bored with my shampoo, and I don't feel like splurging on the quantity of shampoo simply because I have the big pump-on-top bottle.  I'm not likely to stop liking ketchup or pork.  Nah.

Tom Bri

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 654
  • Location: Small Town, Flyover Country
  • More just cheap, than Mustachian
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #16 on: May 21, 2016, 03:08:12 PM »
We buy a lot in bulk, but you have to consider the actual cost per unit. We eat a lot of peanut butter, and I looked around on line for those enormous buckets that restaurants use. Price per ounce was a bit cheaper, but when you add in the $20 shipping cost, it ends up costing more. A lot more. If you look at unit costs in the supermarket, the larger sizes are often more expensive per unit.
We clip coupons and buy bulk when on sale. Doing both at the same time allows bulk buying to work.

Cranky

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1822
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #17 on: May 21, 2016, 04:14:50 PM »
My favorite shampoo will never cost $12/bottle. Trust me. But when I find a great deal on the shampoo that I do like a lot, so that it's $1/bottle, I buy as many as I can.

I have, occasionally, have had bulk buys that I ended up giving away, but they were things that I bought for free because me kids loved them, and then outgrew them.

forummm

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7396
  • Senior Mustachian
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #18 on: May 21, 2016, 04:18:12 PM »
Or you could just not use more per shower simply because you have more.

I don't eat more rice at every meal because I have a 20 pound bag in the pantry.

k-vette

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 258
    • Bolton Ebikes
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #19 on: May 21, 2016, 08:56:19 PM »
Or you could just not use more per shower simply because you have more.

I don't eat more rice at every meal because I have a 20 pound bag in the pantry.

Amateur - we do 50lb bags here.  Haha!  :) 

There's only ONE valid reason NOT to buy in bulk - if food spoils before you can finish it.  Sometimes a little spoilage is still cheaper, just do the math.

forummm

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7396
  • Senior Mustachian
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #20 on: May 22, 2016, 08:09:32 AM »
Or you could just not use more per shower simply because you have more.

I don't eat more rice at every meal because I have a 20 pound bag in the pantry.

Amateur - we do 50lb bags here.  Haha!  :) 

There's only ONE valid reason NOT to buy in bulk - if food spoils before you can finish it.  Sometimes a little spoilage is still cheaper, just do the math.
It was actually a better deal than the other stores with 50 pounders. I did buy 80 pounds of pasta, 20 pounds of cheese, and 25 pounds of sausage this month. So I'm at least a semi-pro :)

MrsPete

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3519
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #21 on: May 22, 2016, 11:45:57 AM »
Amateur - we do 50lb bags here.  Haha!  :) 

There's only ONE valid reason NOT to buy in bulk - if food spoils before you can finish it.  Sometimes a little spoilage is still cheaper, just do the math.
I suppose I'm in the middle because most recently I bought a 30 lb bag of rice from the Asian food store. 

Rice isn't likely to spoil, but sometimes bad things can happen: I had maybe 1/3 of my 30 lbs left, and it was stored in a large glass jar with a glass lid.  I had scooped out my rice and was returning the lid ... but I knocked the lid against the side in such a way that a big splinter of glass fell into the rice.  I easily picked up the big splinter, but I don't know whether smaller bits also fell in -- so I had to throw away the contents of the jar.  It's not a chance I could take. 

MrsDinero

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 935
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #22 on: May 22, 2016, 01:42:25 PM »
I buy in bulk but for me it has more to do with "how do I want to spend my time?".  Most of the things I bulk are more expensive at the grocery store so for us to save money I take a trip to the near'ish big box store.  I hate going to this store because the parking lot is always chaos and the checkout lines are always long.  If I were to buy just 1 pack of toilet paper for the house I would end up going to this stress inducing store twice a month or more likely just pay, on average, $2 more per former bulk item at the grocery store, because I hate the big box store.

Buying bulk means I can buy enough to last at least 6 months.  I can handle twice yearly trips to this store. 

Some things I can get on Amazon cheaper.  I'm also price shopping at boxed.com to see if I can eliminate trips to the big box store completely.

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk


With This Herring

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1208
  • Location: New York STATE, not city
  • TANSTAAFL!
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #23 on: May 22, 2016, 02:55:29 PM »
Oh man, so true.  Whenever I buy bulk shampoo, I just use a big ol' handful at a time, then spend three hours rinsing it out.

...or not, because that would be silly.

backyardfeast

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 899
  • Location: Vancouver Island, BC
    • My journal
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #24 on: May 22, 2016, 03:15:00 PM »
There is a dark side to buying in bulk--I've lived both sides of this.  We were always the kooky ones who would turn a linen closet in a small apartment into a pantry, full of our keg of homemade beer and all of our bulk food supplies.  Generally we managed these just fine, but I have also moved house more than once and found cans and bags of things that were years past their expiry dates because we just never ate them.  We've also all seen the "eat from your pantry" challenges because people bulk up on things when they are on sale and then DON'T eat them regularly enough and can't figure out why they spend so much on groceries.

I suspect most people commenting here are old pros at bulk buying, as we are now too.  I am careful to stock up when things that I eat regularly are on sale.  Every once in a while our tastes or eating patterns shift and we stop eating something that we stocked up on (I'm looking at you, bags of cereal!), so I need to find a better way of giving these away to the food bank earlier.

Sometimes it's hard to resist the lure of the price for a non-perishable supply, even when I should resist it!

On the other hand, I would never stop buying in bulk, even if I scaled back a bit.  I LOVE not having to go to the grocery store!  When it comes to shampoo, etc, I have also learned the hard way about products I love being discontinued.  I do try to keep extra packages of my favorite things around to have a buffer against them not existing when I go to the store 6 months later. :)

kib

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 197
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #25 on: May 22, 2016, 03:47:45 PM »
No one can argue that getting things for less money is a good idea, in theory.  However, I found that there actually was a downside to bulk buying, specifically if you actually like shopping.  I shifted my shopping jones from indulgent nonsense to practical items at great discount.  And guess what.  Just because I spent an extra $100 a week stocking up on smart deals I will eventually use rather than luxury goods I didn't need, my shopping list (and my spending) didn't lessen over time.  I simply found new smart bargains and felt justified instead of guilty for spending half my life on the consumer treadmill stocking up on toilet paper, discounted meat, giant bottles of shampoo - and why not get three? - etc.etc.etc.  The truth is, there is SUCH a plethora of shit on sale, such an execrable amount of Things out there, it's perfectly possible to spend double your budgeted amount buying "smart" discount bulk - FOREVER.

I still indulge my shopping hobby, but now I do it by looking for the best deals on sensible amounts within my budget, savoring the chase rather than the kill.  I set a budget and then see how much I can buy for that amount rather than stock some eternal larder, and find it's just as enjoyable.

« Last Edit: May 22, 2016, 03:56:09 PM by frufrau »

Spondulix

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 642
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #26 on: May 22, 2016, 03:49:59 PM »
The Mustachian thing to do would be to shave your head. Then you don't have to buy shampoo or store it anywhere!

forummm

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7396
  • Senior Mustachian
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #27 on: May 22, 2016, 04:09:07 PM »
Generally we managed these just fine, but I have also moved house more than once and found cans and bags of things that were years past their expiry dates because we just never ate them. 

Those things are almost always still fine to eat. Those aren't actually expiry dates. Canned and bagged food lasts a really long time. Sometimes the freshness will dwindle for bagged food. Canned food can last decades.

brute

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 691
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #28 on: May 22, 2016, 04:54:58 PM »
The Mustachian thing to do would be to shave your head. Then you don't have to buy shampoo or store it anywhere!

I do this. But then again, my hair is thinning. I haven't paid for a haircut in 4 years and my electric trimmers are probably good for at least 5 more years.

One question I do have. Buying meat in bulk. Is it worth having a separate freezer to handle buying half a cow or a whole pig? I've been toying with the idea. Figure I should see how much power a freezer would take, then if the math works out, check CL for one.

Elle 8

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 158
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #29 on: May 22, 2016, 06:36:39 PM »
OP - Don't tell any of the other posters here....  but I do get bored of shampoos.  And soaps and lotions.  I usually just put them in my bathroom cabinet and use them up at another time, after I'm not bored of them anymore. (Tiny font because I'm whispering.)

yakamashii

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 123
  • Location: Japan
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #30 on: May 22, 2016, 08:23:25 PM »
An emphatic YES on the extra freezer:

-New ones consume low amounts of energy a la refrigerators
-Freeze produce when it's fresh/ripe/cheap, enjoy out of season without paying the premium
-Obvious bulk buy savings

Background: We bought our 230-L freezer for around 250 bucks and use it for fruit, veggies and pesto (my wife makes several kilos at a time). We keep it indoors (not in an uninsulated garage). Electricity for it costs less than three bucks/month.

Classical_Liberal

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1151
  • Age: 43
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #31 on: May 22, 2016, 08:43:43 PM »
I am a single guy... I will say if I have a lot of something on hand I tend to use more (not shampoo though).  I know its habit, laziness, self control issue or whatever, but if I have a ton of ketchup on hand, I put more on my plate.  If there is a scarcity of it on hand, I will use less.  That being said it's not true for all items (like shampoo), I wouldn't cook an extra chicken breast just because it is there.  It becomes know thyself I suppose.  Also recognize and change behaviors where possible, particularly if is doesn't have any worthwhile gain. 

Dividing purchases between households is a good way to realize the financial gains of purchasing in bulk without letting anything (storage space or worse, the product itself) go to waste, if the option's there for you. We were surprised by how many friends and relatives were enthusiastic about the idea of splitting Costco purchases, whether it's groceries or household supplies.

This is a fabulous idea for single person households!  I'm gonna approach some friends and try and make it happen, Thanks!

FiveSigmas

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 491
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #32 on: May 22, 2016, 10:33:27 PM »
The Mustachian thing to do would be to shave your head. Then you don't have to buy shampoo or store it anywhere!

But... then how do you clean your handlebar?

Uh… more seriously…

I think bulk buying is another case where the “run your life like you would a business” philosophy makes sense. I do find I’m susceptible to the “awesome deal”, and in the past I have been guilty of buying more stuff than I need (whole wheat and oil, I’m looking at you). Normally, though, deals tend to last at least a week, which gives me time to take stock of what I already have and do the necessary calculations regarding how much I can reasonably expect to use before expiry. If it’s a now-or-never purchase, though, I force myself to be conservative. And for infrequently used items, storage space is often at a premium, and "just-in-time" purchases really are the way to go, no matter how good the deal may be.

heybro

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 196
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #33 on: May 23, 2016, 02:55:51 AM »
No one can argue that getting things for less money is a good idea, in theory.  However, I found that there actually was a downside to bulk buying, specifically if you actually like shopping.  I shifted my shopping jones from indulgent nonsense to practical items at great discount.  And guess what.  Just because I spent an extra $100 a week stocking up on smart deals I will eventually use rather than luxury goods I didn't need, my shopping list (and my spending) didn't lessen over time.  I simply found new smart bargains and felt justified instead of guilty for spending half my life on the consumer treadmill stocking up on toilet paper, discounted meat, giant bottles of shampoo - and why not get three? - etc.etc.etc.  The truth is, there is SUCH a plethora of shit on sale, such an execrable amount of Things out there, it's perfectly possible to spend double your budgeted amount buying "smart" discount bulk - FOREVER.

I still indulge my shopping hobby, but now I do it by looking for the best deals on sensible amounts within my budget, savoring the chase rather than the kill.  I set a budget and then see how much I can buy for that amount rather than stock some eternal larder, and find it's just as enjoyable.

Yes!  I always found that my actual spending on a category NEVER lessened as a result of buying in bulk.  To me, there are so many psychological factors coming at you.  Like Classical-Liberal said, when I have a giant container of ketchup, I end up just unloading the thing on my plate.  I can't help it.  It's a large bottle, it is just natural to unload the stuff out! haha.  Plus, there is also a 'scarcity' thing at play.  When I am used to going to the grocery store to buy things for the week, my brain just sort of expects a certain amount of food to come home with me.  If I have giant tubs of food in the cupboard at home, and only really need to buy 3 items at the store, well, my brain thinks '3 items for the week?  you crazy bro? and i'll add on, you know 2 more.'  It kind of all fits in with the idea of 'sales' in that a 'savings' only occurs is something is put in to your Savings Account and left to grow interest.  'Saving' money by buying in bulk, only works, if a certain amount that was going to go towards that item, is actually put over in to your savings account.  Instead, it seems that amount is simply re-allocated to other food.  Like the person that mentioned buying a ton of protein shakes cause they were 80percent off.  Did you use the protein shakes faster than if you had bought them, over-time, separately?  If we bought a whole bunch of 20cent drinks, I guarantee you, I'd think 'i can drink 3 of these today, they were only 20 cents each!' but really, those should be spread out over time just as if they were full price for you to actually get any savings.

In the end, I had all this food at home and my actual money spent on food was not decreasing.  I think there are a lot of mind games out there regarding 'sales.'

In total, I think 'sales' are a losing game.  The only reason companies have sales is because they lead them to SELL MORE.  So, it stands to reason that not giving in to sales, would lead you to BUY LESS.  I am surprised that many people here swear by 'bulk' which I have always found to be a losing game to me.  I tend to buy less if I actually buy less, haha.  And is more simple too!

Campanula

  • Guest
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #34 on: May 23, 2016, 05:42:37 AM »
It kind of all fits in with the idea of 'sales' in that a 'savings' only occurs is something is put in to your Savings Account and left to grow interest.   'Saving' money by buying in bulk, only works, if a certain amount that was going to go towards that item, is actually put over in to your savings account.

That's how I do it. Not necessarily if it's just a few pence or if a sale price brings something unaffordable within budget, but if I save money on something, I save it. There's a line item on my spreadsheet for accruing small savings and once or twice a month, I move the money to start earning. Buying in bulk doesn't make me use things more quickly* as I know the plan is to make them last.

* Except cake or other sweet things. Bad idea to buy these in bulk.

heybro

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 196
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #35 on: May 23, 2016, 11:30:37 PM »
It kind of all fits in with the idea of 'sales' in that a 'savings' only occurs is something is put in to your Savings Account and left to grow interest.   'Saving' money by buying in bulk, only works, if a certain amount that was going to go towards that item, is actually put over in to your savings account.

That's how I do it. Not necessarily if it's just a few pence or if a sale price brings something unaffordable within budget, but if I save money on something, I save it. There's a line item on my spreadsheet for accruing small savings and once or twice a month, I move the money to start earning. Buying in bulk doesn't make me use things more quickly* as I know the plan is to make them last.

* Except cake or other sweet things. Bad idea to buy these in bulk.

Wouldn't it be fun if at the check-out when they say 'you saved 5.02 today!' you said 'and i'm on my way to the bank now to put that 5.02 left over in my wallet in to my high earning account to put that savings to go use!' hahahahahah.  JUST IMAGINE!  And yes, technically, THEY said it was Savings so why are they raising their eyebrow at you now!

brute

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 691
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #36 on: May 24, 2016, 07:02:53 AM »
No one can argue that getting things for less money is a good idea, in theory.  However, I found that there actually was a downside to bulk buying, specifically if you actually like shopping.  I shifted my shopping jones from indulgent nonsense to practical items at great discount.  And guess what.  Just because I spent an extra $100 a week stocking up on smart deals I will eventually use rather than luxury goods I didn't need, my shopping list (and my spending) didn't lessen over time.  I simply found new smart bargains and felt justified instead of guilty for spending half my life on the consumer treadmill stocking up on toilet paper, discounted meat, giant bottles of shampoo - and why not get three? - etc.etc.etc.  The truth is, there is SUCH a plethora of shit on sale, such an execrable amount of Things out there, it's perfectly possible to spend double your budgeted amount buying "smart" discount bulk - FOREVER.

I still indulge my shopping hobby, but now I do it by looking for the best deals on sensible amounts within my budget, savoring the chase rather than the kill.  I set a budget and then see how much I can buy for that amount rather than stock some eternal larder, and find it's just as enjoyable.

Yes!  I always found that my actual spending on a category NEVER lessened as a result of buying in bulk.  To me, there are so many psychological factors coming at you.  Like Classical-Liberal said, when I have a giant container of ketchup, I end up just unloading the thing on my plate.  I can't help it.  It's a large bottle, it is just natural to unload the stuff out! haha.  Plus, there is also a 'scarcity' thing at play.  When I am used to going to the grocery store to buy things for the week, my brain just sort of expects a certain amount of food to come home with me.  If I have giant tubs of food in the cupboard at home, and only really need to buy 3 items at the store, well, my brain thinks '3 items for the week?  you crazy bro? and i'll add on, you know 2 more.'  It kind of all fits in with the idea of 'sales' in that a 'savings' only occurs is something is put in to your Savings Account and left to grow interest.  'Saving' money by buying in bulk, only works, if a certain amount that was going to go towards that item, is actually put over in to your savings account.  Instead, it seems that amount is simply re-allocated to other food.  Like the person that mentioned buying a ton of protein shakes cause they were 80percent off.  Did you use the protein shakes faster than if you had bought them, over-time, separately?  If we bought a whole bunch of 20cent drinks, I guarantee you, I'd think 'i can drink 3 of these today, they were only 20 cents each!' but really, those should be spread out over time just as if they were full price for you to actually get any savings.

In the end, I had all this food at home and my actual money spent on food was not decreasing.  I think there are a lot of mind games out there regarding 'sales.'

In total, I think 'sales' are a losing game.  The only reason companies have sales is because they lead them to SELL MORE.  So, it stands to reason that not giving in to sales, would lead you to BUY LESS.  I am surprised that many people here swear by 'bulk' which I have always found to be a losing game to me.  I tend to buy less if I actually buy less, haha.  And is more simple too!


I buy a few things in bulk. Toilet paper, paper towels (trying to kick this habit and use cloth now), protein powder, and meat. I don't go through it any faster than I would otherwise. I have a certain number of grams of protein to hit daily (250g) and I figure out my meals accordingly. Now, sure I use more of whatever I got at a good price before it goes bad, but I use less of whatever else. This has dropped my cost per gram by about 30% and my health has improved as well.

Now, with all that said, I've had to train myself to avoid certain other bulk purchases. Olives, diet soda, nice cheese. These I'll look in the fridge/pantry and say "hey, awesome. I've got a ton of it" and eat about twice what I would if I just got them in smaller quantities. I've started tricking myself with the olives though and hiding most of them in my basement. I know they're there, but I don't go crazy if I don't see them.

golden1

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1544
  • Location: MA
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #37 on: May 24, 2016, 07:07:41 AM »
You have to do some critical thinking when buying bulk. 

Toiletries like paper towels, napkins, deodorant etc.... No brainer if you have the storage space.

Other stuff can be tricky and you need to make sure that it isn't something that will go bad or linger on the shelf forever.  My motto is if in doubt, don't buy it. 

MrsPete

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3519
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #38 on: May 24, 2016, 12:05:28 PM »
Yes!  I always found that my actual spending on a category NEVER lessened as a result of buying in bulk.  To me, there are so many psychological factors coming at you.  Like Classical-Liberal said, when I have a giant container of ketchup, I end up just unloading the thing on my plate.  I can't help it.
I suppose we're all different, but I have no problem using just a bit of ketchup -- regardless of the bottle size.  My records show that bulk purchasing absolutely decreases my costs. 

For example, yesterday I bought a filter for my refrigerator.  You're supposed to change this every six months, but I only do it every year.  I bought the six-pack because (compared to single purchases) it was like getting two for free.  Bonus:  I don't have to squint and try to read those little letters again for five years. 

Wouldn't it be fun if at the check-out when they say 'you saved 5.02 today!' you said 'and i'm on my way to the bank now to put that 5.02 left over in my wallet in to my high earning account to put that savings to go use!' hahahahahah.  JUST IMAGINE!  And yes, technically, THEY said it was Savings so why are they raising their eyebrow at you now!
That "you saved $5.02" annoys me to no end.  Sometimes I used to say, "Great!  When will I receive that $5.02 so I can deposit it in my savings account?"  But the checkout people never understood the point, and it mortified my teenagers, so I gave up trying to educate people in that way. 
« Last Edit: May 24, 2016, 12:10:21 PM by MrsPete »

Jakejake

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 720
  • FIRE: June 17, 2016
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #39 on: May 24, 2016, 06:04:08 PM »
Now, with all that said, I've had to train myself to avoid certain other bulk purchases. Olives, diet soda, nice cheese. These I'll look in the fridge/pantry and say "hey, awesome. I've got a ton of it" and eat about twice what I would if I just got them in smaller quantities. I've started tricking myself with the olives though and hiding most of them in my basement. I know they're there, but I don't go crazy if I don't see them.
I'm like that with some specific items. Raisins, for instance. They are $1.69/lb here and I always feel like I should buy a couple pounds to last me for a month or two of oatmeal breakfasts. And then I eat them by the handful and in two days they are gone. :(

And olives. I'm with you on that. I bought 5 gallons of green sliced olives last July because they were $4 a gallon. And I only have about a cup left. It wasn't that expensive, $20 over a year ... but still, a half gallon a month of olive consumption might be unnecessary.

mandelbrot

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 37
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Austin TX
    • Return from Exile
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #40 on: May 25, 2016, 03:22:14 PM »
One thing that has been obliquely mentioned so far, which I think deserves a little more attention: if your brain is wired in a particular way -- e.g. enjoying novelty, liking finding and shopping for things -- then strolling through Costco can induce a kind of euphoric stupor, where you are fascinated at all the (presumably!) great deals for items that you didn't even consider you might want or need.

Costco loves this, of course. They foster such euphoria on purpose. The sensation they want to create in the consumer's mind is, oh I am in a warehouse store, that means everything here must be a good deal, therefore if I see anything I'm interested in at all, it is probably not a bad deal to just go ahead and buy it.

I'm not necessarily talking about the (more elementary) scenario of, hey let's buy chicken breast at Costco at $1.99/lb, even though your grocery store has it on sale for $1.69/lb. Yes, watch out for that one too.

What I'm talking about is: hey I came to Costco to buy toilet paper and chicken breast, but WOW here is this giant 2lb bag of dried cherries! I LOVE dried cherries but usually don't buy them much bc they're expensive. But I'm at Costco. So my brain doesn't have normal reference points for what makes a good deal. Because I don't usually shop for dried fruit in a 2lb bag. But it's probably a good deal right? And I love cherries. So I'm going to buy it.

... This circuit can repeat a couple more times if you're not vigilant. Then you come home from Costco having spent an extra $50 or $100 on things you didn't actually need (or even remember that you wanted).

So THAT ^^^^ is what I think is truly the dark side of bulk grocery shopping.

The cure for this is pretty simple, of course: do the same research for Costco that you ought to do at the regular grocery store. Take note of prices over time. PLAN what you are going to buy. Run some math to make sure you're not actually getting taken to the cleaners on that "good deal". Basic stuff. Just easy to overlook, because when you're first getting into it, you can mistakenly believe that anything you buy in bulk is automatically a good deal. False statement.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2016, 03:24:40 PM by sns426 »

ender

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4939
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #41 on: May 25, 2016, 05:10:45 PM »
The cure for this is pretty simple, of course: do the same research for Costco that you ought to do at the regular grocery store. Take note of prices over time. PLAN what you are going to buy. Run some math to make sure you're not actually getting taken to the cleaners on that "good deal". Basic stuff. Just easy to overlook, because when you're first getting into it, you can mistakenly believe that anything you buy in bulk is automatically a good deal. False statement.

Or just make a grocery list prior to going to the store. We often put items at whatever stores we plan on going to on that list.

RWD

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3589
  • Location: Mississippi
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #42 on: May 25, 2016, 05:36:47 PM »
Imagine that your favorite shampoo is sold for $12 per 20 ounce bottle. You find out that you can buy a 180 ounce bottle for a mere $45. What a deal; for about four times the price, you receive six times more shampoo.

What? It's not six times, it's nine! I think that's a good place to stop reading the article...

slappy

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 806
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #43 on: May 26, 2016, 06:20:59 AM »
One thing that has been obliquely mentioned so far, which I think deserves a little more attention: if your brain is wired in a particular way -- e.g. enjoying novelty, liking finding and shopping for things -- then strolling through Costco can induce a kind of euphoric stupor, where you are fascinated at all the (presumably!) great deals for items that you didn't even consider you might want or need.

Costco loves this, of course. They foster such euphoria on purpose. The sensation they want to create in the consumer's mind is, oh I am in a warehouse store, that means everything here must be a good deal, therefore if I see anything I'm interested in at all, it is probably not a bad deal to just go ahead and buy it.


Yes, this! I know the unit price of the items I buy most often, and I know the sale unit prices. People cannot understand when I tell them that most of the stuff I buy is cheaper if I stock up during a grocery store sale than if I buy at a warehouse store.  The chicken example is perfect. On sale for $1.69 at the regular grocery store, but it was $1.89 at the warehouse store. Not a huge difference, so I picked up a couple of packs just to save myself a trip. But it did annoy me.
I'm not necessarily talking about the (more elementary) scenario of, hey let's buy chicken breast at Costco at $1.99/lb, even though your grocery store has it on sale for $1.69/lb. Yes, watch out for that one too.

What I'm talking about is: hey I came to Costco to buy toilet paper and chicken breast, but WOW here is this giant 2lb bag of dried cherries! I LOVE dried cherries but usually don't buy them much bc they're expensive. But I'm at Costco. So my brain doesn't have normal reference points for what makes a good deal. Because I don't usually shop for dried fruit in a 2lb bag. But it's probably a good deal right? And I love cherries. So I'm going to buy it.

... This circuit can repeat a couple more times if you're not vigilant. Then you come home from Costco having spent an extra $50 or $100 on things you didn't actually need (or even remember that you wanted).

So THAT ^^^^ is what I think is truly the dark side of bulk grocery shopping.

The cure for this is pretty simple, of course: do the same research for Costco that you ought to do at the regular grocery store. Take note of prices over time. PLAN what you are going to buy. Run some math to make sure you're not actually getting taken to the cleaners on that "good deal". Basic stuff. Just easy to overlook, because when you're first getting into it, you can mistakenly believe that anything you buy in bulk is automatically a good deal. False statement.

Kitsune

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1849
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #44 on: May 26, 2016, 06:33:32 AM »
But... if you buy in bulk, you need to USE it (don't buy bulk of things you 'might' use, that's just stupid), use it the way you usually do (no triple helpings of ketchup, wtf), and have a good idea of the price per quantity to compare to non-bulk offerings - sometimes they're genuinely better.

In my case... I live in the middle of nowhere. Buying in bulk is 50% cheaper, and 50% about not having to drive a 50km round trip to the nearest store when we run out of flour and toilet paper on a Saturday morning. That's why pantries exist. ;)

Johnez

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1088
  • Location: Southern California
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #45 on: May 26, 2016, 11:15:28 AM »
I really don't understand the mustachian love of Costco. I guess I might be lucky living/working near dozens of groceries. I can't really stand Costco tho. They dedicate a large portion of their store to useless crap (clothes, electronics, appliances, booze....), they have shit for variety, and quite honestly it takes almost zero effort to get better prices on stuff you actually want at the grocery. Buy what's in season, what's on sale, and skip the 96 oz ketchup. Almonds $3.49 a lbs, stock up! Next week pasta on sale-stock up!

boarder42

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7849
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #46 on: May 26, 2016, 11:48:03 AM »
I really don't understand the mustachian love of Costco. I guess I might be lucky living/working near dozens of groceries. I can't really stand Costco tho. They dedicate a large portion of their store to useless crap (clothes, electronics, appliances, booze....), they have shit for variety, and quite honestly it takes almost zero effort to get better prices on stuff you actually want at the grocery. Buy what's in season, what's on sale, and skip the 96 oz ketchup. Almonds $3.49 a lbs, stock up! Next week pasta on sale-stock up!

yeah i've never liked sams/costco either and got a free membership to both once and was very unhappy with the quality of pricing of products vs those on sale at aldi or my local grocer.  doesnt help they are way out of my way and the grocery stores are both on the way home from work.

Rural

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4850
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #47 on: May 26, 2016, 12:09:43 PM »
I don't do Costco (or Sams)because it's more expensive than my other options across the board (plus 45 miles away). But bulk =/= Costco or Sam's.

ETA Costco is more expensive, don't know about Sam's. Nearest one of those is closer to 100 miles, so I've never been.

robartsd

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2493
  • Location: Sacramento, CA
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #48 on: May 26, 2016, 12:19:55 PM »
I think there is a reasonable argument that having more on hand leads to more consumption. For example - paper plates might be purchased to take on picnics, but having 500 paper plates on hand could lead to using them for casual meals at home because you don't want to have to do the dishes. I know that this is a danger for me for any snack food purchases. I could see larger bottles making it a little more difficult to control output ammount, but not enough to justify the shapoo example - in fact I find the bulk shapoo bottles with a pump easer to control. It is very unlikely that any product I considered buying in bulk would be wasted due to a preferrence change - as I've already established a pattern of using it regularly prior to the bulk purchase. I can see the cost of storage space (not nessisarily financial cost) being another reason not to buy in bulk.

prognastat

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 781
  • Location: Texas
Re: Reasons Not To Buy In Bulk
« Reply #49 on: May 26, 2016, 02:07:46 PM »
I would say with a little willpower you can avoid overusing anything after purchasing in bulk, but it is easier to not overuse things that aren't "enjoyable". Things like soaps, toilet paper, paper towels, toothpaste etc require little to no self control. Things such as food that can be craved may require a little more self control.