Buying in bulk is something that sounds like a good idea in theory until the reality hits: a gallon jug of months-old, barely-used ketchup that takes up most of your refrigerator. Does it make sense to ever buy in bulk, especially if you live alone or you have a small family? The answer is definitely yes. With big but attached to it. Yes, buying in bulk makes good economic sense, but you must only buy things you will use and will not spoil. U.S. News & World Report assembled a list of the top 10 items you should buy in bulk -- and why:
Toilet Paper
You will always need toilet paper, and it will never spoil. Buying it in bulk can be as much as 50 percent cheaper than buying packages of just a few rolls. Hint: No place to store it? Shove it under a bed.
Soap and Shampoo
Like T.P., you'll always need soap and shampoo, so saving pennies on the ounce adds up big time.
Here's your choice: Pay $8 for a 6-pack of beer or $14 for a 20-pack. Go for the 20-pack and make room in your fridge.
Office Supplies
Home office and school supplies can be pricey, especially when purchased in small amounts. But if you know you and the kids will need these things in the future, go ahead and buy pens, folders and staples in bulk to save up to 50 percent.
Buying toothbrushes in bulk can save you a lot: $8 for two at the regular price or $14 for six at the bulk price. You'll find similar bulk prices for toothpaste; instead of paying $5 for a single tube, you can get three for ten dollars when you buy in bulk. Don't overdo it on the toothpaste, though, because it does have an expiration date.
Vitamins are expensive in the grocery store, but buying in bulk can save a few cents per pill. Add that up over a year, and you've saved a lot.
Cell Phone Minutes
It wouldn't occur to most people to buy cell phone minutes in bulk, but doing so can save you money, since you will always avoid overage charges.
Non-Perishable Food
The only food items you should buy in bulk are those things that will not perish quickly--and you know your family will consume. This includes cereal, canned tuna fish and soft drinks. Look for the cost to be about 30 percent cheaper than buying one box, can or bottle at a time.
Blank CDs and DVDs
Burning your own CDs or DVDs can be a lot cheaper if you buy the blank CDs and DVDs in bulk. OK, you may end up with enough to last you for years, but you'll save 25 percent.

As long as you can find a place to store it, you can save up to 17 cents a load by buying a huge tub of laundry detergent versus the smaller one.


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