100 Words On: Why Buying in Bulk Is Not Always a Smart Idea

Although it requires extra storage and higher upfront costs, many consumers buy their groceries and other products in bulk to save money. But that strategy can quickly backfire for those who indiscriminately buy massive quantities of infrequently-used goods — no matter how good the deal. Consumer Reports found that larger packages were more expensive about 25 percent of the time. Bulk purchases will end up costing more too if you fail to use them before they spoil or go stale.

The bottom line: Unless you’re buying in bulk to save money on things you use frequently, you probably aren’t saving money at all.

Photo Credit: greenwenvy08


  1. 1


    You have to know pricesotherwise you will overpay just because you think it is cheaper. On a per item basis Target is cheaper than Costco on most items.

  2. 2


    That’s surprising that 25% of the time bulk purchases are more expensive. I guess people just naturally assume that bulk is always cheaper and get lazy about doing the math. You do have to make sure it’s definitely something that you’d use enough of to avoid having it go bad.

  3. 5


    Knowing the price elsewhere is key. I can tell you that the items I buy at Costco save me the cost of membership 20 times over. Coffee? With the coupon flier they send every month or so, it’s $3/lb. Better than any store sale, and I’ll go through the nearly 3lb size pretty quick.

  4. 6


    If it wasn’t for the free samples, I would ditch my Costco membership. The prices aren’t cheap, the checkout lines are brutal and the parking is a nightmare. Most important, I hate paying $50 each year for the privilege of shopping there.

    I did get a really good deal on my Sharp LED TV from Costco. But, I go there less and less every year.

  5. 7

    Oscar says

    Or you could look at it from the other angle and say that bulk buying is cheaper 75% of the time. If you have the time to research unit prices on every little thing you buy, you are a leg up on saving money. If however, you are strapped for time and want to play the percentages, bulk is still in your favor.

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