Finances,  Frugality

How to Start Buying in Bulk

It can be a challenge to switch from only purchasing what you need to buying in bulk. Not only do you have to figure out where to put the items you purchase you need to save up money so you can start buying.

I enountered that issue when I resolved to return to my old stockpiling habits here. Money was tight since I was still recovering financially from my injury. I’d also repurposed my old stockpile storage to maximize my living space but with a little shifting of both possessions and finances I made it work.

Create a storage space

You will need to designate a place to store your stockpile. The area will need to be clean, dry, and protected from vermin. A metal shelf in an out of the way spot is ideal if you don’t have a convenient closet or pantry. Try not to store your supplies around water sources in the winter. A broken pipe can destroy a fortune in paper supplies really fast. I learned that the hard way many years ago. I stored my bathroom tissue stockpile beneath my bathroom sink. When the pipes burst I lost a small fortune. Mice and rats can also be a threat to your supplies so make sure you have traps, poison, or other deterrents near your storage areas. I keep the majority of my stockpile on a wire shelf that is kept far enough off of the floor and away from walls to prevent them from climbing onto it. My cats like to help guard my supplies as well.

Start small

Unless you decide to devote part of your income tax refund to the investment your funds will be limited at first. You can overcome this by selecting one or two items at a time to stock up on. I started out by buying a stockpile of bathroom tissue on my first payday. The next payday I laid in a supply of paper towels. Over time as those needs were met I expanded to other items like soap, shampoo, feminine hygeine products, pet food and the like as money allowed.

At first it will seem as if you are spending more (which you actually will be in the beginning) but over time you will begin to reap the savings. As it is, we are now able to make a large purchase once a month or so to keep plenty of supplies on hand.

Take advantage of windfalls

Instead of splurging on treats when a windfall comes, use part of it to increase your stockpile. I use my income tax refund to stock up on all sorts of items and try to purchase enough of certain things to last us the entire year or longer. This increases our money savings as prices tend to rise over time.

Watch for sales

When something you use goes on sale, purchase extra when you can even if you already have a supply on hand. I had recently purchased a large package of paper towels a few weeks before my store offered them on sale but I still purchased some because I knew it would save money in the long run.

Consider online purchases

Online stores will frequently offer closeouts and bargains to online shoppers that aren’t available locally while some offer significant discounts to first-time customers. My daughter stocked up on leggings the other day with this method. She discovered that an online store offered her favorite leggings at a 50% discount to new customers. She purchased several pairs and saved a week’s wage as a result. That was like getting an extra paycheck, especially since the leggings in question will last her for several years.

The savings can really add up, even if you only work for minimum wage like we do.

Use social media

It is becoming common for extreme couponers to offer items for sale in social media groups at a significant discount. Joining these groups can save you a small fortune on your favorite brands.

Keep extra money available

Always keep money in your account to take advantage of unexpected sales. You never know when a local store will decide to go out of business and sell their remaining stock at a HUGE discount. I’ve seen some places decide to sell everything in their store for 90% off or simply have a crazy low price for everything. It is also common for stores to stock up on a bargain that they’ve found and pass the savings on to their customers. Keeping money on hand for these unexpected bargains can save you a small fortune.

What other tips do you know that will help people learn how to stockpile and save money? Please share your stories in the comments below.

3 Comments

  • John Grebe

    The main tip that I have to add is to consider picking up large plastic storage bins with sealable lids. That way your stockpiles have an extra layer of protection from air, moisture and any animals around in the house, not to mention they can stack up well in a corner or another out of the way place.

    Personally, I drink a lot of tea and buy my teas in bulk online once or twice a year on average. Overall this works out well for me as I end up getting higher quality loose teas for less than it would cost for me to pick up boxes of teabags at the local grocery stores even during sales.

  • Lyn

    I don’t have a lot of space for storage as I own a mobile home. But I have found ways to store things. I use part of my linen closet to store toiletries. I have enough cleansers, hand soap, wipes, and many other products to last a really good while. I think it’s important to buy and keep only what you will need and use, because even a stockpile can get out of hand and things do expire and go bad. So don’t buy 20 tubes of toothpaste if it’s just you. They will expire before you even get to use them. Then you are not saving money, you are wasting it.

    In my linen closet I also recently added vertical space and put a wire rack on the inside of the door. I have found items like these (including pocket hangers for over the door) that are fairly inexpensive and add extra space using what you already have. I use a pocket hanger in my hallway closet for things like sponges, disposable gloves, scrubbies, dollar store swiffer-type refills, etc. Works great!

    I also store items in plastic tubs. I figure it’s just an extra added measure for protection as well, and label them with what’s inside.