Sometimes, more is less.
Stocking up on household items can save you money, time and trips to the store. Some items—like toilet paper and paper towels—typically already come in larger quantities. But there are other, less obvious products worth buying in multiples. We asked shopping experts which non-food items make the most sense to buy in bulk, both for your finances and your convenience. Keep reading to learn which items you should keep stocked up.
Related:Buying These 15 Foods in Bulk Will Save You the Most Money, According to a New Study
Electronics like TV remotes, game-console remotes, flashlights, toys, smoke detectors, and other portable electronics always need batteries, so having them in hand is important. “You will get the most bang for your buck on batteries when you buy these in bulk from wholesale clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club,” says Andrea Woroch, a shopping and money-saving expert. Since batteries also have a long shelf life, you won’t have to worry about these going bad, he says.
When shopping for batteries, an important consideration is to stock up on the most useful kind for your needs. “Keeping the type of battery you use the most in remote controls, kid’s toys, wireless devices, such as a computer mouse or keyboard, will keep your life operating smoothly without having to run out to the closest store when they need replacing,” Woroch says. “Not only does this cause you inconvenience, but you will spend more when buying batteries from a local drugstore or grocery store, where prices are the highest.”
Greeting cards and gift wrap
We’ve all been in a pinch when we need to send a birthday card or have to wrap a last-minute gift, so having a go-to supply of cards and gift wrapping is a good strategy. “These are two items that I keep in stock so that I always have something to wrap a gift and write a card for any celebration,” Woroch says. “Saves me time and lots of money.”
She suggests stocking up on greeting cards at the dollar store where you can get them for as little as 50 cents each. “Think ahead to all the upcoming birthdays, holidays and other milestones—like graduations or anniversaries—you will be celebrating for the next six to 12 months,” continues Woroch. “Comparatively, you’re looking at spending $4-6 for a card from your local stationary store or big box retailer.”
In addition, Woroch points out that a dollar store is also a good place to pick up tissue paper and gift bags so you always have them on hand for last minute gift wrapping.
Related:How to Wrap a Present
As any parent of a baby or toddler who’s still in daily or overnight diapers knows, there’s nothing more inconvenient than realizing you ran out of them in the late evening, says Woroch.
“This is definitely one of those good baby items you want to have a nice large stash of so you don’t have to run out to find the right type and size in the middle of the night,” she says.
Buying diapers in bulk can also save you a lot of extra money. “Wholesale clubs have some amazing deals on bulk packages of diapers, especially if you opt for the store brand, like Costco’s Kirkland diapers,” Woroch says. But even if you don’t belong to a wholesale club, you can still snag deals. “I find that even big box stores like Target typically run specials where you can earn free gift cards or a discount the more you buy,” she adds. “Recently, I earned a free $10 gift card after I purchased 2 large boxes of diapers .” Another idea: Consider setting up auto-delivery through sites like Amazon so you never run out.
Shower and bath items
Households can go through items like shampoo, conditioner, and body wash quickly—and they can catch you by surprise. “Not only will stocking up save you money, but it will also prevent you from having to go back to the store multiple times when you run out,” says Kristen Gall, retail and shopping expert with Rakuten. If there’s a brand you prefer, and you see it on sale, buy a few bottles. You can also look for money-saving coupons to snag even better prices and make sure you have back stock whenever you need it.
Menstrual care products
The pink tax is real, and buying tampons, pads, and other menstrual care products can take a toll on your finances. “Buying products in bulk will help cut down the cost on these notoriously-known pricey products,” Gall says. It’s also important to note—if you weren’t already aware—that, as of 2020 changes, you can now purchase menstrual care products with HSA or FSA funds, which can be a great way to save money on these items.
Related:HSAs and FSAs Aren’t the Same: Here Are the Differences So You Can Finally Stop Mixing Them Up
Most household cleaners, laundry detergent, and dish soap all have long shelf lives. “You can buy them in bulk without worrying about an expiration date,” says Gall. “There is nothing worse than being in the cleaning groove and running out of cleaners.” When you see a sale, buy your favorite brands, but be sure to store these items safely and out of reach of any young, curious children.
Trash and storage bags
Buying trash bags in bulk is a smart move because they can be used for kitchen trash and also outside debris. “Buying one bulk box of trash bags can last you up to six to eight months,” says Gall. She also recommends stocking up on Ziploc bags, which are great to have on hand for storing items, freezing leftovers, packing snacks, and so much more. You can find bulk deals on storage bags at standard grocery stores, wholesale clubs, and mass merchants.
As long as you store pet food in a cool and dry place in your home, the shelf life is long—but be sure to check the expiration date on the bag. If you have more than one pet, saving money on their food is even more important.
Both canned and bagged pet food are wise to buy in bulk. “Your pet will always need food, and it’s best for them to stick to one brand and flavor of food, and buying it in bulk will ensure this,” Gall says. To save the most money, compare prices across pet stores, wholesale clubs, and online retailers for the best deals.
Related:10 Ways to Save Money on Pet Expenses
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