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.
(THIS POST PROBABLY CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. OUR FULL DISCLOSURE POLICY IS REALLY BORING, BUT YOU CAN FIND IT HERE.)
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.
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.)
♥ 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?