Just about everyone is looking for ways to save money when shopping. And we found a number of items that will save money if you buy in bulk. Why does buying in bulk matter beyond cost-savings? Many of the products we buy contain packaging that costs money and natural resources to make. Plus, it’s often immediately thrown away, creating waste for landfills. So if you can buy in bulk, you often eliminate some need for packaging, which has a positive impact on the environment. One study also found that food packaging can lead to chronic, low-level ingestion of synthetic chemicals over time, so buying in bulk might also help preserve your health as well. Here are five items to consider buying in bulk:
Personal care products
Why buy six toothbrushes six different times (and in six different packages) when you can buy six toothbrushes at one time in one package? You can also save on packaging and money choosing to purchase the larger container of shampoo, toothpaste or soap. Even toilet paper is consistently listed as an item you should buy in bulk to save money and reduce plastic waste.
Buying the bigger container of laundry detergent, dishwashing detergent or other common cleaning supply almost always saves money and packaging. You can also look for concentrated products, which pack in more product in less space, and refill packs instead of buying a brand new product every time you need it.
It’s often much cheaper to purchase the big bottle of vitamins that will last you the entire year than purchasing multiple smaller bottles, which create more packaging waste. And you’ll not have the “I’m out of vitamins” excuse as often.
You can buy a single pen in a single box for a lot more cost per unit than buying a box of pens in one larger box. And there are dozens of other common office products that offer the same bulk savings.
We all eat, and thankfully there are a lot of ways you can buy in bulk to save money and packaging. One University of Portland study found that consumers could save up to 89 percent when purchasing bulk foods versus pre-packaged foods. In fact, if all Americans purchased some items in bulk for a year, the material savings would really add up on some items, including:
- Bulk coffee would save 240 million pounds of foil packaging waste.
- Bulk almonds would save 72 million pounds of packaging waste.
- Bulk peanut butter would save 7 pounds of landfill waste per family per year.
- Bulk oatmeal would cut packaging waste by one fifth.
Some items that seem to be most cost effective to purchase in bulk include spices and dried herbs, dried beans, and dry pasta and rice.
Another option for reducing packaging with food purchases is to cook food yourself instead of buying the pre-made version of the product. You can make your own soup, hummus, salad dressing, pizza and other items. This DIY approach will save money and might also be healthier than the packaged version you would have bought at the store.
Buying in bulk may also end up saving you time and gas as you make less shopping trips. But be sure to never buy in bulk items that you don’t use often. If the product expires before you can use it, you haven’t saved money or prevented waste.