Is buying in bulk better?

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If you visited P&G Everyday Savings on facebook today you would have seen I was the Guest Spokeperson today and we asked FACT OR FICTION – Buying Bulk is always a better deal?

Is buying in bulk a better deal??

That is really a loaded question and the answer is…


but typically it is NOT a better deal.

Though warehouse stores like BJ’s, Costco and Sam’s Club do offer some great deals & now even accept store and manufacturer coupons (BJ’s will accept a mfg coupon for each item in a multi-pack!), bigger is not always better.  I am also talking about in other stores as well.  Many times the smaller sizes purchased on sale with coupons and store promotions are far cheaper per unit than bulk.

Make sure to compare apples to apples – cost per unit price!

For a minute, lets take coupons out of the equation… LOOK at the cost per unit of the different sizes available.  The other day I was looking at toothpaste prices (now of course you all know we can get FREE toothpaste all the time, however lets use it as an example).  The middle sized toothpaste was actually cheaper per unit than the smaller or larger tubes.  I was surprised as I would have expected the larger tube to be cheaper.  With diapers compare per diaper cost – especially since # per box changes with sizes and with toilet paper, look at per sheet… etc.

Even with fastfood – LOL!  At my local McDonalds it was $3.69 for a 6 piece nugget, but only $1.50 for a 4 piece.  So I can get (2) 4-piece for less than a 6 piece.  You could even get (3) 4 piece for cheaper than a 10 piece.  Of course prices change all the time, but just because there is a meal deal or a bigger unit, it does not mean it is better than buying more of the smaller items.

When you take into account coupons and store rewards programs, buying smaller is almost always a better deal and there are many items you can get for FREE on a regular basis.

When BUYING in BULK can makes sense:

  • MEAT – many times if you buy the family packs at the grocery store or buy BULK meats at warehouse stores, you can save a lot of money by breaking them apart and freezing them yourself in smaller portions.  I have also bought an entire pork loin on sale and had the butcher cut them up into chops.  I will be posting my MEAT stockpile prices very soon as a guide.
  • Spices – though I am NOT an expert in spices, if you are going to use them, I have found it cheaper to buy these in bulk from warehouse or even health food stores.

Other items I find cheaper at warehouse stores are milk and bread.  BUT you need to take into account your membership fee and travel when deciding if warehouse stores are best for you and your family.  You also need to avoid the IMPULSE BUYS –  the “I cannot help myself & end up buying way more than I needed when I stroll through” syndrome.  I actually do not get a cart to avoid that.  I go get my milk and bread and hoof out of there before I get distracted!

What items do you find are always cheaper in bulk??

BEFORE buying bulk and building a STOCKPILE, make sure you have the SPACE and ability to use it up and manage it.  How many times have you bought in bulk to save money and then throw out products because they spoil or expire?  This DOES NOT SAVE YOU ANYTHING.  Make sure you know how long products can last in your pantry, refrigerator and freezer.

Remember, we are all tempted to buy in bulk when we find a good price thinking it will never be that low again, BUT there is always another sale and always another coupon.  Most sales on items are cyclical as are the coupons for them.  As you shop more and coupon more, you will begin to see how much you need to buy to get you to the next sale.

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  1. I completely agree with this. My husband is a HUGE fan of bulk stores, but I’m constantly explaining that bigger isn’t necessarily better :). I’ve done my research and slowly I am able to figure out the deals. We are members at BJs. I appreciate their in-store and manufacturers coupon policies. I’ve found that some of my main toiletry items (face wash, lotion) actually are cheaper there, especially if I have a coupon or there is no deal at CVS/Walgreens/etc. I think if you plan as strategically there as you do with other shopping, the benefits can still outweigh the costs. Just dont get mesmerized with all the biiiiiig boxes :).

  2. I realized that I can get the 5oz of spinach for a recipe I make from the salad bar at the Giant for around $1.70 instead of buying the 6 oz bag for 2.50. The same concept holds true for things like celery or carrots. If I just need a half cup for a recipe I don’t by a whole bunch of celery that would just end up going to waste. The bonus is – it’s already chopped!

  3. When shopping at BJ’s. Can you stack your coupons on the items? Ex. BJ’s coupon plus mfg coupon for the same item.

    • Vette – YES – you can stack store coupons with mfg coupons AND you can also use as many mfg coupons as there are products in the package. So if there are 2 tubes of Colgate, you can use 2 Colgate mfg coupons.

  4. I have a BJ’s and a Sam’s membership. The only thing we use Sam’s for is gas and the bakery. I find Sam’s has items priced the same as BJ’s but inm smaller packaging, plus they do not take manufacturer coupons. BJ’s has super cheap milk, half & half and eggs. I can also get things like cresent rolls, lysol wipes and more super cheap because of their awesome coupon policy.

  5. There are a few items that I always buy at Sam’s they are much cheaper than in the stores even with coupons. Peter Pan peanutbutter, Carnation instant breakfast, Goldfish (in the large carton not the individual bags) Red Barron mini pizzas and Capri Suns or Kool-aid Jammers.

    I also really like the meat department the cuts are better and fresher.

  6. I started a Club Project last month. I walked through Costco and BJ’s (as long as you don’t buy anything, you can go in without a membership) and wrote down prices. Right away I could tell a lot of things were not cheaper. I still have to complete my project by writing down prices for the same items at my local grocery store so that I can buy appropriately. It’s a little time-consuming, but I think it’ll be worth it.

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