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20 Things You Should Buy in Bulk (and 20 You Shouldn't)

Buy This: Toilet Paper

Buy This: Toilet Paper

Buying toilet paper in bulk is a great way to save some money, especially if you buy a brand name or a specific type of toilet paper. The price per square foot drops quite a bit when you get a large pack versus the ones from the grocery store. 

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Not That: Nuts and Seeds

Not That: Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds have a lot of natural oils. It makes them healthy, but it also makes them go bad faster than you may want. By the time you get through half of your nuts and seeds, they’ll probably end up going rancid. 

Anyone who has ever bitten into a bad not knows better than to make this mistake again. 

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Buy This: Meat

Buy This: Meat

Meat is a great thing to buy in bulk if you have a large freezer. Buying meat in bulk is an ideal plan if you have a large family, mostly since it can take up a large portion of your grocery budget. Just make sure that you freeze the meat properly, or you’ll end up with a load of freezer-burnt food. 

This way you'll never find yourself in a pinch without something to serve in case you aren't able to make it to the grocery store one week. 

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Not That: Flour

Not That: Flour

Unless you do a ton of baking, avoid buying flour in bulk. Self-rising flour has a shelf-life of around four to six months, and all-purpose flour lasts for six to eight months. Whole grain flour, like whole wheat, has more oils and can develop a rancid smell as it goes bad.

Flour stays  pretty cheap at any amount, so it won't save you much to overstock on it. Leave this kind of bulk buy to the avid pastry chefs among us.

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Buy This: White Rice

Buy This: White Rice

White rice is a steal to buy in bulk. If you keep it in an air-tight container, white rice has a ridiculously long shelf-date of 30 years. Not to mention, white rice is super cheap so buying it in bulk doesn’t break the bank. 

Rice also pairs well with just about any style of cuisine, so it's certainly handy to keep around for when you need a side to your dish. 

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Not That: Brown Rice

Not That: Brown Rice

Brown rice doesn’t share the same luxury as white rice. Like every other whole grain, brown rice has a lot of oils. It makes the food extremely healthy for you, but it also puts it at risk of going bad faster. Brown rice is only good for four to six months after opening.

Brown rice may not keep as long, but that shouldn't deter you from utilizing it as a healthy carb in your diet. Just be sure to buy only as much as you'll actually eat. 

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Buy This: Laundry Detergent

Buy This: Laundry Detergent

A family can go through laundry detergent like newborns will diapers. Thankfully, laundry detergent is a perfect thing to buy in bulk. As long as you don’t mind dealing with a giant container of soap, try to find sales so you can get the most bang for your buck.

Anyone who's had to wear a dirty shirt or two knows the value of clean clothes. Make sure you've always got the means to clean it on hand. 

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Not That: Sunscreen

Not That: Sunscreen

Sunscreen isn’t something to mess around with. Sunscreen begins to lose effectiveness over time, which puts you and your family at risk for sun damage. Don’t get burned and increase your risk of skin cancer to save a little money. Make sure to replace your sunscreen every three years, at a minimum.

Skin care is vital, especially for those most at risk of radiation. Keep your whole body safe from sun exposure, and make sure what you're using for protection will actually work.

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Buy This: Toothpaste

Buy This: Toothpaste

Toothpaste isn’t too cheap, but you can cut your costs by buying in bulk. One individual tube of toothpaste is much more than the two- or three-pack. You’re paying more up-front, but you’re spending less in the long run. 

As long as you have teeth, you need to brush them. We all hope that will be a long time, so plan for it. 

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Not That: Liquid Bleach

Not That: Liquid Bleach

Liquid bleach has a shelf-life! This fact surprised us quite a bit. Liquid bleach only lasts about six months before it starts to lose potency. If you’re looking for something that lasts a long time, powdered bleach can be kept for an unlimited amount of time.

That said, still be careful with bleach no matter how old it is. Just don't expect the same effective germ-killing power from the bottle you've had sitting under the sink for the last few years. 

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Buy This: Trash Bags

Buy This: Trash Bags

Trash bags don’t take up a lot of space, and they don’t expire, making it one of the best things you can buy in bulk. We suggest looking for a sale as the price per bag may not be lower when you pay full price in bulk. However, coupons and sales definitely make buying in bulk a great deal.

Trash bags are among the most annoying things to run out of. Plan ahead to avoid that problem and stock up your pantry. 

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Not That: Condiments

Not That: Condiments

Condiments are filled with tons of preservatives, but that doesn’t mean they can’t go bad. Mayo should be used within two months of opening. Catsup lasts six months in the fridge, and mustard should be consumed within two months of opening. If you keep the package in the pantry unopened, it can last a full year.

We've all been guilty of keeping condiment bottles in the fridge for way too long. Some may have some in their fridge right now. If that's you, check the expiration dates on them before you make yourself sick. 

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Buy This: Hand Soap

Buy This: Hand Soap

Too much soap is rarely a bad thing. Buying it in bulk could save you a ton of money and avoid the awkward situation of having to use your dish soap for your hands when you run out. We all know it takes forever to wash off dish soap.

You can generally find large containers fairly readily, so we recommend having a few of those around to refill your dispensers when they run low. 

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Not That: Skincare Creams

Not That: Skincare Creams

Buying a huge tub of skin cream may seem like a good deal but dipping into the same jar for a long time increases the risk of bacterial contamination. Not to mention, cosmetics can have a short lifespan. Depending on how preservative-free the product is, it may only last six months.

Be kind to your skin. Make sure you're using product with a proper date. Besides, what's better than dipping your fingers into a new skin cream container?

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Buy This: Pasta

Buy This: Pasta

As long as pasta is stored correctly, you can keep it in your pantry for up to two years. If you keep your pasta sealed in its original container, it's possible to keep it past the two-year mark. Just make sure to seal it in an air-tight container once the packaging has been opened.

Pasta is another simple dish that's great to have around for when you're hungry but don't feel like making anything too complicated. 

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Not That: Bread

Not That: Bread

It goes without saying that bread can go bad pretty quick. Unless you’re feeding a small army (or a family that eats like a small army), you’re not going to make it all the way through the carb-y goodness before it spoils.

Besides, bread is always better fresh. Not everyone lives above a baker making new loaves every morning, but wouldn't you love to?

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Buy This: Lightbulbs

Buy This: Lightbulbs

Lightbulbs don’t go bad, and you’ll never know when you need more. Buying them in bulk will save you some money. It’ll also make sure you have the same wattage all over the house. Nothing is worse than having a 30-watt bulb next to a 60-watt in one fixture.

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Not That: Coffee

Not That: Coffee

Even if you aren’t a coffee connoisseur, you may not want to buy coffee in bulk. The freshest coffee will last about two weeks after being roasted. That being said, beans still last nine months, but ground coffee should be brewed within a few months of being ground. 

The most avid coffee fans want to make sure their beans are as fresh as possible. Not everyone needs to go to extremes, but bad coffee is never a good way to wake up. 

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Buy This: Cereal

Buy This: Cereal

Thanks to the rising cost of wheat, cereal is increasing in price. Buying in bulk can save you quite a bit of money. Depending on which cereal you buy, you could spend up to twice as much at your local grocery store.

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Not That: Ground Spices

Not That: Ground Spices

Unless you use the spice every single day, consider buying it whole or avoiding ground spices all together. After about a year, spices lose their potency. However, grinding them yourself will keep them fresher much longer.

The whole point of spices is to add flavor, so don't waste it by letting it lose its taste. Only buy what you plan to use.

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Buy This: Paper Towels

Buy This: Paper Towels

Paper towels are another thing that you can buy in bulk because it doesn’t ruin. Not to mention, it’s cheaper by the foot to purchase them in a huge pack. Paper towels often go on sale, too, so look for the best price before committing.

There will always be more messes to clean, and when they arise, you'll be happy to have a few extra rolls on hand. Trust us. 

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Not That: Cooking Oil

Not That: Cooking Oil

Everyone uses oil whether they’re frying or roasting. Vegetable oil expires the quickest at six to twelve months. Canola and olive oil, when stored correctly, can last up to two years. The trick to that is that you should keep it in a dry, cool place in a dark bottle. If your oil gets dark or begins to smell, toss it. 

Buying smaller bottle will usually get you to use the oil more sparingly. Not only with the oil be more fresh, but your arteries will feel better too. 

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Buy This: School and Office Supplies

Buy This: School and Office Supplies

Back-to-school shopping puts a tremendous dent in your bank account, but you can save yourself the cash by buying in bulk when everything goes on sale. Wait until there are excess supplies and buy as many as you’ll need for a few years. You can never have too many backup pens.

Everyone can appreciate the feeling of fresh office supplies, especially if you can get it without overpaying for them. 

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Not That: Produce

Not That: Produce

Fruit is pretty cheap at bulk stores, but that doesn’t mean it’s a better deal. If you follow what’s in season, you can land some phenomenal sales at your grocery store. Even local farmer’s markets will have better deals than bulk stores.

You'll feel better supporting local farmers, too, rather than a big cooperation. They'll probably use fewer chemicals anyway. 

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Buy This: Bottled Water

Buy This: Bottled Water

Never buy a bottle of water on its own. A single bottle can cost $1.30, but a huge pack can cost as little as $5. Even buying the smaller packages of bottled water won’t save you as much as the bulk brand. Make sure to compare the price per bottle for the best deal.

Don't be fooled thinking that water won't expire; it will in these plastic containers. But it won't be hard to drink them all in time. Besides, it;; motivate you to stay hydrated. 

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Not That: Soda

Not That: Soda

Buying huge bulk deals of soda may seem like a deal, but it actually costs you more per can. Big box stores bump up the price, so they can make a larger profit. Grocery stores usually have pretty good deals on soda. 

You'll end up spending more and probably drinking more, too, since you'll have them around. You'll feel better with a little less sugar in your system and a little more money in your pocket. 

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Buy This: Canned Foods

Buy This: Canned Foods

Canned food is notorious for lasting a long time, so it’s a given to buy in bulk. Things like canned soup and tuna are 30% cheaper when you buy at Sam's Club or Costco. Plus, you can use some cans in several dishes on a regular basis, like canned tomatoes.  

Why do you think so many doomsday preppers stock their bunkers with these cans? They're made to last.

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Not That: Eggs

Not That: Eggs

Even if you eat a lot of eggs, it isn’t best to buy them in bulk. A 36-pack of eggs is more expensive (per egg) compared to a dozen. Plus, you’ll have to polish off all the eggs in three to five weeks.

You may get more than you bargained for trying to buy out the egg isle. You'll be eating omelets for every meal to beat the expiration date. 

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Buy This: Aluminum Foil

Buy This: Aluminum Foil

Fact: you can never have enough aluminum foil. Fact: it’s cheaper to buy aluminum foil in bulk. There’s about a 30% price difference when you get down to the nitty gritty and compare the price per foot. A few cents less per foot may not seem like much, but it certainly adds up. 

It won't go bad, and even if you double the amount, the box stays about the same size. Fill a drawer with foil if you feel so inclined. 

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Not That: Over-the-Counter Medication

Not That: Over-the-Counter Medication

That bulk bottle of Tylenol is tempting, but it’s better to stick to the smaller bottles. Most families don’t finish off the giant bulk bottles of OTC medication, meaning they could be taking something that’s expired and dangerous. To save money, purchase generic versions of the drug. 

If you're taking enough ibuprofen to finish off the big bottle before it expires, chance are you're taking too much. 

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Buy This: Batteries

Buy This: Batteries

You never want to run out of batteries. Since they don’t expire, they’re a great thing to buy in bulk. They’re expensive when you buy a lot of them at once, so wait until they’re on sale before scooping up those AAs or AAAs.

Buying in bulk will also save you the trouble of trying to steal batteries from something else to make the remote work. 

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Not This: Dried Fruit

Not This: Dried Fruit

Unless you love to chow down on a ton of dried fruit, it may be best to purchase smaller amounts. Dried fruit only lasts about 12 months when it’s stored in a cool, dry place.

Dried fruit may keep longer than fresh pieces, but that doesn't mean they'll last forever. Keep that in mind when you're planning to pick some up.

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Buy This: Diapers

Buy This: Diapers

If you’re still buying diapers, try to buy them in bulk. First of all, you won’t run out of diapers at the worst possible time. Second, you’ll end up spending a lot less. As long as you stick to generic, you could be spending as little as a few pennies per diaper.

Every parent knows how often babies need changing. Why not save a few trips to the store? You'll save some money too. 

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Not This: Veggie Chips

Not This: Veggie Chips

Just because veggie chips have less moisture doesn’t mean they have zero moisture. It also doesn’t mean it won’t expire. Veggie chips are good for around six months when you buy them in bulk. You’ll want to purchase veggie chips in an airtight bag or container for maximum freshness. 

To be safe, just try to avoid anything oily. Even this healthier snack alternative to potato chips can't keep once exposed to air. 

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Buy This: Alcohol

Buy This: Alcohol

Alcohol only gets better with age, and bulk stores actually have pretty dang good booze. Instead of paying $10 at a bar for a watered-down drink or jacked-up prices from a liquor store, browse your local Sam’s Club or Costco.

Be sure not to tempt yourself if you can't help but drink what you've got in the house, but if you know your limits, you can save a pretty penny buying in bulk. 

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Not This: Peanut Butter

Not This: Peanut Butter

Peanut butter may seem as though it’ll last forever, but the natural oils you see on top of the jar make it expire pretty quick. Without breaking the seal, peanut butter will last around six to nine months. However, it goes bad after two to three months after opening.

Peanut butter is a great source of protein to have around, but if you do, make sure it's stored properly or that you're eating it fast enough to not waste half a jar. 

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Buy This: Plastic Storage Bags

Buy This: Plastic Storage Bags

Why spend a ton of money on plastic storage bags at your local grocery store? You can pick up some off-brand zipper bags from a bulk store and save a ton of money. You shouldn’t be spending more than a few cents for something you’ll end up tossing.

They'll never go bad, and they take up such a small amount of shelf space. There's no reason not to stock up on these handy little containers. 

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Not This: Candy and Chocolate

Not This: Candy and Chocolate

This one isn’t on the list because it’s a bad deal. Instead, it’s that it may cause bad eating habits. Buying food in bulk encourages people to eat more of it. That means, having large amounts of sweets in the house could make it easier to eat more than you usually would.

For all the chocoholics or excessive sweet eaters out there, don't tempt yourself with a readily available temptation trove. Space out your treats for your own good. 

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Buy This: Party Supplies

Buy This: Party Supplies

The first thing you may do for a party is swing by the dollar store. Well, you may be able to get a better deal when you purchase paper plates and plastic cups in bulk. You’ll have plenty for your guests, and you may get more bang for your buck.

In your life, you'll have plenty of things to celebrate. One of the smaller of these little victories is the fact that you're already prepared for any party that pops up. 

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Not This: Milk

Not This: Milk

This one is hit or miss, but usually, a gallon of milk is cheaper at your local grocery store. Many grocery stores are even trying to compete with places like Costco and Sam’s Club by lowering the cost of milk per gallon. 

Milk is one thing for which you need to take the expiration date seriously. Buy what you'll actually drink before it goes bad or you'll end up pour it out or, even worse, drinking sour milk.

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