Buying in Bulk

Everybody loves a bargain. And it’s well-known that the larger package will generally cost you less per item than the small one.

But what if space is at a premium? Purchasing decisions should not only be made in terms of dollars and cents. Clutter and storage space should also factor into the mix.

As I discussed in my recent post The Dangers of Buy One Get One Free, when you buy more than you need, you are in danger of losing track of the extra items. The shrink-wrapped package of two bottles of Tylenol might cost less per tablet, but if  you forget that you have a second bottle, you haven’t really gained anything.

Buying big bulky things in bulk can be problematic if you are short on storage space. Paper towels, toilet paper, and tissue boxes take up a lot of room. Unless you have a large family and go through these really quickly, you’ll make better use of your limited space if you always have one or two extra on hand, but not eight or ten.

You might think that if you buy a lot of something, you’ll never run out. But if you are someone who doesn’t have a good system for keeping track of when you are on the last one, you are still going to run out. It’s better to buy fewer of them, and to put a sticky note on the last one saying “Order more!” so that you’ll remember to do so when you are opening that one.

If you do your purchasing on Amazon, you can instead save money with their “Subscribe and Save” feature. You’ll need to figure out how quickly you go through an item so that you can set the appropriate subscription frequency, but once you’ve got that worked out, you’ll be able to rest assured that you won’t run out of this item and you’ll still be saving money.

When it comes to purchases of frequently-used items, it’s true that less is more.

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