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8 Ways to Save at Bulk Stores

8 Ways to Save at Bulk Stores

Purchasing bulk items at membership stores actually cost some consumers more money over the course of the year. It's hard to ignore the lure of a 5 gallon can of mayonnaise or 10,000 straws. All of us at one time or another have had a $300 shopping bill when leaving a membership club but there are easy ways to save money at bulk stores if you plan ahead and follow these suggestions.

1. Buy the Store Brand

Shopping at a membership store is no different than a typical retail or grocery store in that store brands will often be less expensive and of equal quality to name brands. The additional benefit is that certain products can be purchased in bulk so the price is normally much less expensive.

2. Use Store Perks and Discount

Membership clubs offer more perks and discounts than what is available on store shelves. Many will offer discount gas, automobile tire services and a low price food court. Seasonal promotions also tend to have significantly lower prices than similar products from competitors.

3. Freeze Excess Food

The one drawback to purchasing perishable items like meat and poultry at a bulk store is the risk of food spoiling prior to being able to consume it all. Large packages of ground hamburger and other meat-based products should be broken down, individually packaged and then frozen.

4. Limit Your Memberships

Given the savings that can be had when buying bulk items at a membership store it is tempting to have multiple memberships. This can be counterproductive since memberships can be $35-$45 each which can equal $100 or more if you sign up for too many.

5. Shop as a Guest

It may be completely unnecessary to sign up for a membership store if you're purchasing needs are so limited that you'll rarely use it services. If you have friends or family who are already members, you can join them on an outing as a guest and purchase what you need every few months. While you may not be able to take advantage of low priced produce and meat, you can certainly purchase nonperishable items as needed.

6. Don't Buy Too Much

Purchasing 5,000 napkins for $10 can be a hard deal to pass up which is what most membership stores count on. Because most products are sold a few percentage points above cost, membership clubs make their money by moving volume. The more you buy the happier they are but the key to getting the most for your money is to buy only what you need. Go in with a list and avoid picking up impulse items and your final bill will be substantially less than what you first anticipated.

7. Split Up Perishables

Fruits and vegetables can have exceptional value when purchased in bulk stores due to their large sizes and low prices. If there is one thing however which is difficult to go through it's 5 or 10 pound bags of potatoes, oranges, apples and anything else which spoils quickly. Consider splitting your purchases with people you know to help reduce costs while still benefiting from buying your produce at a membership store.

8. Compare Price Per Unit

The fact that a particular product is in bulk does not necessarily mean that it's price per unit is any less than if you had purchased it at a grocery store. For the most part, costs will be substantially lower at bulk stores but arm yourself with a few store receipts of what you previously purchased to do some comparison shopping when buying bulk items.

Image by: Ken Teegardin