10 Things I ALWAYS Buy in Bulk to Save Money

Anyone else watch the Big Bang Theory?

I love The Big Bang Theory. (Hang on, we WILL get to the things I buy in bulk to save money.)

They finally made a TV show that can compete with Friends as far as I’m concerned. (I very much just dated myself didn’t I?) Anyhow, I was watching Big Bang re-runs the other night, the one where Sheldon (who we know has “extra” money saved up, by the way, despite being a poorly paid physicist) goes shopping with Penny and tells her she should be purchasing her tampons in bulk to save money.

Penny is terribly offended for some reason. Perhaps it’s the discussion in general, but as I listened to their conversation I paid attention to my thoughts (for once).

My thoughts said… “Are there really people out there who don’t buy tampons in bulk?! Or who would think the suggestion is a bad one?”

And I realized that maybe those people DO exist…  After all, stores do sell tampons not – in – bulk. So it stands to reason that someone must be buying them.

I was actually a little taken aback.

Related: Bad Money Habits That Are Keeping You Broke
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Bulk is better – usually

I’ve never considered a blog post on this topic before, because I automatically assume that people know they can save money by making purchases in bulk – usually. (There is an exception to every rule, and it’s always good to do your homework first of course. But usually, you can save money with bulk buys.)

There are some things that I don’t buy in bulk for certain reasons… specifically, things that will go bad before I can use them up. For example, giant bags of broccoli. I’ve tried freezing it and I’ve failed miserably. All the little broccoli end-dots fell off and I was left with a bag of naked broccoli stems and cups of broccoli end-dots. (Anyone with a suggestion as to what I did wrong there?? Should I cook it first?)

I also don’t buy things that I can’t see myself using in the near enough future (in the next couple years) to make it worth storing it (small house here). None of these things come to mind right now, but I know I’ve run into them in the past.

But things that don’t go bad (or can be frozen well) and things that I know we will use, you better believe I buy those things in bulk.

Like tampons.  And toilet paper. And wine.

I am going to use these things.

Why would I pay even a few cents more for them? A few cents, over the course of a lifetime, is not just a few cents. THAT is the attitude we need to foster to save money and become a Sheldon, with extra money sitting around our house in cans.

RELATED: 15 easy tricks to save a TON of money at the grocery store

Take the tampon example for instance. 19 – 22 cents each at Walmart, 15 cents at Costco. It’s literally pennies, but Sheldon’s right. 45-50 years of pennies adds up. Do the math. Assuming 5 cents savings per tampon, 5 tampons per day for 5 days, x 12 months…  for 45 years. $675.00. Sure, that’s only $675.00. But let’s assume you can save that $675.00 on every item on this list (which is realistic, often the savings will be even more…especially when you buy the bulk things with coupons or when there’s a sale.) $675.00 x 10 things = $6750.00. Minimum.

Not exactly little money.

So, what do I personally buy in bulk?

♥ Tampons – I buy tampons in bulk. Obviously. And, FYI I just found out you can get Tampax supers for 15 cents on Amazon. Why is EVERYONE not talking about this?! THIS is my new goal price. And my math at 5 cents savings just went out the window… because we can assume MORE than 5 cents savings. (UPDATE: I have since discovered the Dollar Maxi Pad Club (but they have tampons too!) This is the DIRT CHEAPEST way I have found to purchase tampons or pads – and no storing bulk tampons LOL.)

♥ Toilet Paper – Not only do I buy this in bulk I also ONLY buy it when it’s on sale. I generally come home from “finding” toilet paper on sale with about 180 rolls. My attic does not mind.

♥ Toothbrushes – It’s nice to save money on toothbrushes, it’s also nice to have spare ones in your house for when you drop yours in the toilet.

♥ Shampoo and Conditioner – my mom has a cosmo proff membership, and I buy the good shampoo (Redken or Paul Mitchell) in 1 gallon jugs. When it’s on sale. I spend less on good shampoo in a year than I would spend on drug store shampoo.

♥ Vitamins – They almost always come available in a large size and a small size. OR, and I am not kidding, I called the company who made my favorite supplements and found out how much I needed to spend to qualify for a wholesale order. I don’t even wanna tell you (it was $1200.00). I found enough people who wanted to buy a year’s worth of supplements with me (they didn’t expire for 2 years), and we SAVED a couple hundred each. I’m not about to suggest that everyone spends $1200, to save a couple hundred but the moral of this story is that you can save heaps by buying in bulk.)

♥ Wine / Beer / Booze – My local liquor store does 10% off wine when you buy the case (6 bottles). I know I’m going to drink them eventually. And by eventually I mean not that long from now. (Why wouldn’t I want to save the 10%?)

♥ Laundry soap / dishwasher tablets – I often see “how to save money on laundry” posts and every. single. time. I think “why are you spending so much on laundry in the first place?!” I buy laundry soap and dishwasher tablets the same as I buy toilet paper. Only on sale and only in bulk. (I also add a tablespoon of this stuff to my dishwasher to make the laundry soap go farther and guarantee cleaner dishes! Coincidentally, I buy that in bulk as well.)

♥ Meat – the savings on meat is INCREDIBLE. I wrap it really well in plastic wrap, write the date on with a sharpie, and freeze it. (When you grocery shop in the evening you can often get the meat that has reached it’s sell by date at a discount as well.) Three years ago my parents, sister, and I went together and bought a cow. We paid for the cow, paid for butcher, and STILL spent, on average (prices fluctuate), at least 2$ per pound less than at the store.

♥ Diapers – this is a new one for me. But YES I already started, even though the baby isn’t here yet. I found a bulk box of new born pampers on sale, for 14 cents per diaper. That was a smokin’ deal. I intend to keep this going. I already found pampers available on amazon for 18 cents. If you subscribe to the free trial of Amazon Prime to get free shipping, order a bunch of non-perishable stuff and stockpile it, and then cancel the Amazon subscription… you just saved even more! Although if you are buying things regularly, like diapers, then it pays to keep the subscription and to go with an Amazon Family subscription ‘cus it’s the same price and you get 20% off diapers.)

Related: How to Prepare for BABY on a BUDGET 
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♥ Epsom Salts – You can get a 19.5 lb bag of Epsom Salts for less than 30 dollars. Or you can buy a 2 lb bag for 9 bucks. See? (Sure, the 2lb bag smells like lavender. If you want it to smell like lavender, then buy some lavender essential oil and add a few drops to the bath with the epsom salts (this is what I do, with all my favorite oils). It’s still far cheaper in the long run! I also never pay wholesale price for essential oils.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of stuff we can buy in bulk to save money… We didn’t even talk about subscriptions and memberships, which are different ways to essentially buy in bulk and save (imagine trying to buy all of the shows on Netflix or all of the celebrity-taught courses on Masterclass individually). Clearly, there’s more than one way to do this well.

What are your biggest bulk buy savings? Or do you disagree with my bulk is (usually) better philosophy?

P.S. If you like this post you might enjoy reading 10 things I quit buying to save money or 30 simple ways to save money.

frugal living tips - things to buy in bulk to save money




56 thoughts on “10 Things I ALWAYS Buy in Bulk to Save Money”

  1. Call me old fashioned but if you REALLY want to save money on diapers, buy cloth diapers. We didn’t have any choice when I was a young mother and it never hurt one bit and didn’t fill the landfills.

    • HI Linda! Ungh, I know you’re right, but I just can’t convince myself I want to do that… (I have lofty expectations of myself, to get on the potty training wagon early lol.)

    • We bought cloth and saved tons already!!! It’s more work but title worth it and great for sensitive skin

      • O my… I KNOW I should at least consider it! lol

      • When you don’t need the diapers any more, the make great dust rags for many years!

      • My mom STILL has diaper rags LOL and I’m over 30!

      • I cloth diapered both of my kids. Noitw 4 and 6. I was so sad that my youngest potty trained early. I actually moss them now 2 years later. I wish more people wwre open to it.

      • well, I am going to have to do some reading about that… I don’t know much about it 🙂

    • Hi Carly,
      I enjoyed reading your article you have great ideas!
      I have a recipe for powdered laundry soap that not only smells great it works better than any store bought and when your done you have a 5 gallon bucket size that at 3 tablespoons per load will literally last almost a year!
      I usually make both of my grown children and their families a bucket of it for Christmas and they all love it!
      I can post it here or if anyone is interested they can shoot me an email.

  2. Hey Carly! Great article. Another item is printing paper if you have a home office or do a lot of printing. We used to run an office in the home and I seriously considered buying a crate of paper. But since it wasn’t our budget, I just went for the bulk of 2500 sheets instead. I do the same with pens and pencils (wait til your children are older, school supplies will be added to your bulk list 😉 ). As for the broccoli- if you blanche it first it should freeze fine. The second – steam blanching method is for freezing. Most fruits and veggies continue to ripen after they are harvested even in the cold refrigerator. Blanching stops the process and keeps them in their present state. And what to do with that frozen broccoli you have? Soup, my dear, broccoli soup is the best 😉

    • HI Sandi!! Thank you so much for the good broccoli advice 🙂 Looking forward to broccoli soup now – perfect for this time of year. (And to having successful frozen broccoli in the future lol). Printer paper is a great one to buy in bulk – I don’t do too much printing but there are lots of people who do.

  3. Awesome post – I buy toilet paper by the case, as well as fabric softener, dish soap, shower gel…most things really! I tried buying wine in bulk to save money…yeah, I just ended up drinking more 😐

    • Hi Caroline 🙂 shower gel in bulk is something I haven’t done! Gotta put it on the list. And LOL yes, I suppose if you just drink more wine, that’s not better….

    • For about 6ys I have been making my loundry soap for a few pennies for literally melts the dirt out of white shirts, ingreds.borax washing soda,bar minutes,recipe on line.

    • toilet paper is cheapest at the Salvation Army cheap toilet paper and helping people in need win/win

    • Working in childcare I know about nappies and landfill. Yuk just look at our bins and the smell! need I say more. Now you can buy reusable nappies cloth and sensible. I always encourage parents to use these.

    • I use vinegar in the rinse cycle instead of fabric softener. People don’t realise that the smell of fabric softener goes out into the outside air and some people are allergic to it. Also, that smell of fabric softener outside is considered an air pollutant. Also, I put baking soda in the wash cycle which gets rid of any odors. Also, colours come out brighter.

  4. I make laundry soap in bulk with my mom which saves money.

    We also cloth diaper. I literally have paid less than $150 on all our cloth diapering supplies and now we are good to go for this kid. I think I’ll need to replace some of the diaper covers to get through a second kid, but that’s still a savings.

    I use a diva cup so I don’t have to buy tampons or pads. It was $35 I think and lasts for years.

    We are tea drinkers here so I buy tea in bulk. Either getting tea bags on Amazon or buying bulk herbs (I get mine at Rose Mountain Herbs) to mix your own herbal teas are cheaper than buying in the grocery store.

    I try to buy in bulk when I can and it drives me crazy that I can’t do it more. We live in a camper so I have no extra storage space and our fridge and freezer are tiny. It hurts when I buy only 4 rolls of toilet paper at once because that’s all we can fit or I find a good deal on food I could freeze but I have no empty room in my tiny freezer.

    The few things I do get in bulk I store under the table so we can’t sit at the table and put our feet down. That’s how much ‘no storage space’ we’re talking here.

    • HI Carolyn – you’ve peeked my interest here… I’m off to find your blog and see what I can read about living in a camper! I think only buying 4 rolls of toilet paper would be exceptionally difficult. Is your camper stationary or do you travel? We have a very small house and we bought a small chest freezer that we keep in an unheated shed outside. (We had thought that the -35 degree winters would kill it, but it does fine!) That really helps us out with freezer space.

      • I haven’t written much about camper life yet cause I just started blogging and am still figuring things out!

        We are stationary and are actually planning to move into a larger trailer this spring. We are in a travel trailer/camper which isn’t really made for year-round living and we’ve been there for about 2 and a half years. So we’ll move into more of a mobile home style trailer that is more durable and has a second bedroom. I’m sooo excited that we will have a full sized fridge with a freezer now! It’s about 450 sq ft, so still small, but a good bit bigger than what we’re in now.

      • WOW 450 square feet sure doesn’t sound very large lol. IT will be an exciting adventure. And i do have to say, I think life with a tiny fridge would be a challenge – but perhaps if I lived closer to a store it wouldn’t be so bad!

  5. No need for tampons- waste of money and they fill up the landfills!
    Sea sponges or a diva cup!

    I did a lot of research via YouTube and reading blogs and reviews about the sea sponge before taking the plunge! So glad I did! I use the sponges- change/rinse as often as a tampon with a lite pad/pantiliner in case there’s a leak!
    The sponges are fairly cheap to try out should ya just want to see if you like before committing to using them full time!

    • HI Megan… Urgh I know I should be a little more adventurous but I just haven’t been able to bring myself to try them out. It would save so much money in the long run tho…

  6. SO glad I found your blog! I’ll be following along, because I’m all about being frugal. I, like some previous commenters, also make my own laundry soap. It’s perfect for my sensitive skin. I used to air-dry our clothes in the warm months (super-cute rotating clothesline rather like a patio umbrella from Amazon) and just fluff the towels and jeans for the last bit in the dryer. I’m hoping to get back in that habit this spring!

    • HI Angie! Thanks for stopping by! An outside rotating clothesline is on my list for this year – right now I hang everything in the living room and it’s a disaster LOL

  7. Kitty litter and dog food. (I’d do cat food if I had more cats or they had bigger appetites or we had more storage space; however, our situation being what it is, I’ll keep buying that by the pound for now.)

    • I buy large bags of cat food. Put some (about two weeks worth) in a plastic pitcher for easy dispensing and put the rest of the bag in the freezer.

  8. I have to share that I buy both Elsom salts and baking soda in bulk I pay only $5 for an 8 lb bag of Epsom salts and baking soda I pay 3 cents an ounce. I have 100 lbs of each on hand!

    • EXACTLY!! (Well, I don’t have room to store 100 lbs of each right now, but if I did, I would! lol)

  9. We used cloth diapers on both of our kids. When our second was potty trained my wife said she knew someone who could use them. My response was “I paid good money for these and I’m keeping them”. They’ve come in very handy over the years. I have a few left. But then again our youngest turned 34 last week. So I feel like I got my money’s worth out of them. Give them a try. You can always carry a couple of disposables with you for “emergencies”.

    • Oooooo Ted, I know I SHOULD save money with cloth diapers… I just so much love not having to wash poop out of anything…

    • Cloth diapers make excellent cleaning rags once baby is potty trained. I replace mine when they wear out, love them for cleaning.

  10. I buy flour in bulk, I love to bake. I bake my own bread 12 loaves at a time, then freeze it. That’s if any are left after cooling to freeze…lol If you want all your family to show up just bake bread. I try to freeze 24 loaves at a time. Sounds like a lot but they disappear fast, 2-3 weeks at most. So I buy my flour in either 25 or 50lb bags.

  11. It seems the key to buying in bulk is buying the things that your family uses the most of. Here. I buy rice, instants potatoes (because I can’t store fresh potatoes), beans of all varieties, flour, corn meal, sugar, tea, meat, peanut butter, toilet paper, bleach and bleach wipes, dish liquid, tooth brushes, canned veggies. Canned veggies are important here as is the bleach and wipes because we live on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. We never know when we might be without power due to a major storm. I can food myself, but buying canned vegetables keeps me from having to come up with every single thing. Oh yes, and Powdered milk! I buy powdered milk and buttermilk!

  12. I used disposable for the newborn few weeks as mercosa is hard to clean then went to cloth. Until the baby is on solids and especially if they are breastfed you don’t have to do anything to the diapers. Throw them in a garbage can with a lid lined with a wet bag and every couple of days throw the whole wet bag in the wash. When they are older it slides right off into the toilet (by the way disposables say to remove poop too) and they train faster as they can feel when they are wet. I personally hang dry the outter diaper but put liners in the dryer. Hope some of that was helpful.

    • When I used cloth diapers for my 55year old child, we could buy a paper liners for poop on the diapers. It really helped with the washing of dirty diapers. Don’t know if you could buy it now.

  13. I agree that buying in bulk is the way to go for most things. I noted that you did not suggest a Food Saver to vacuum seal your meats. This saves so much over time. I always buy meat that is marked down and then repackage it to freeze in the appropriate size for a meal. Vacuum sealing also works for vegetables and herbs. Buy on sale and freeze. A freezer is also a good investment. I see that mostly this blog is followed by young people just starting out; however, seniors living on a fixed budget would do well to follow some of the suggestions.

  14. I really had to laugh when I read about the disposable diapers. When my children were born (they call it the dark ages) the disposable diapers were just coming out in stores. I got several pkg’s. and I still had 99% of them from my daughters birth when my youngest was potty trained. I always used cloth diapers because my daughter was allergic to the the disposable. She hated diapers and was walking at 4 months and she potty trained herself at 9 months. Her grandmother bought her a potty chair and she took to that like a fish to water. Her brothers were not so easy to train but boys are boys and they are harder to potty train at least mine were. Of course my youngest had brain damage due to a illness so he could not help himself. Theirs nothing like having a couple lines of wash with 90% diapers on it.


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