Are you one of those super savers well-versed in the value of buying in bulk or are you just starting to learn your way around a stacked coupon? Either way, you’ll be excited to hear that there are even more ways to bulk up the savings according to Andrea Woroch, a consumer and money-saving expert.
Enjoy ripe deals on produce
Contrary to popular opinion, you can buy fruits and veggies in bulk—and still come out with more green.
- Look in your grocery store’s and bulk store’s circulars for bulk produce deals.
- Weigh the bulk bag of produce on sale (typically potatoes, citrus fruits, or apples) to find the best deal. Woroch notes that sometimes the bags are filled with even more produce than advertised, so be sure to search around for the heaviest bag in the bunch to get the most bang for your buck.
- That said, you should only buy what you will use. Since produce has a limited shelf life, you don’t want to purchase more than you can eat in a week, because food tossed is money lost. Use these smart ways to keep fruits and veggies fresh longer and try creative ways to lengthen their lifespan, for example, apples can become applesauce or shred the potatoes and freeze them to use later in homemade hashbrowns.
You won’t get iced out on savings when you follow these tips.
- Before you leave home, clean out your refrigerator and your freezer to make room for new purchases. Toss anything that you can’t identify or that has suffered irreparable freezer burn.
- Ditto your pantry cabinet, storage closet, and medicine cabinet. “Regardless of how much money you save, if you don’t have an organized space to store your items, chances are you won’t use them all. You’ll end up forgetting about them, then wasting money by buying duplicate items,” shares Mary O’Brien, an elementary school teacher and super saver. “Keep items like toothpaste, paper towels, tissues, dishwashing liquid, school supplies, etc. organized by item and always move the newest product to the back of the shelf to make sure nothing goes to waste.”
- Load up on these 10 frozen foods nutritionists recommend you buy in bulk.
Know the bottom
Start paying attention to prices and sales on the items you regularly buy so you’ll know when to load up.
- When looking for a seasonal item—think, swimsuits and patio furniture or boots and snow shovels, Woroch notes that you can snag a huge bargain on end of season sales—up to 75 percent.
- O’Brien plans out certain bulk purchases, specifically school supplies, way ahead of time and knows the dates the items she’s after have been on sale in the past. She doubles up on savings by keeping an eye out for these sales, as well as trying to stack coupons for them. For example, her favorite 30 pack of mechanical pencils is normally $5.99 at a certain drugstore. She keeps an eye out for the $1.99 sale that happens annually and then uses a $1 coupon to score the same pencils for only ¢99!
- Know how low your favorites go on sale for. For example, Anne Linval, a mom of two in Easton, Connecticut will only buy Annie’s Mac & Cheese when it’s marked down to 10 boxes for $10 or Goldfish Crackers when they’re three bags for $5. “I’ve been buying these products for years and know from experience that’s the lowest they ever sell for at my local grocery store.”
Stack and maximize coupons
The extra time it takes to clip and search for coupons is well worth it in the checkout aisle, and many bulk stores allow you to use them, too, Wororch notes.
- Use paper and digital coupons. In addition to clipping store and manufacturer coupons, O’Brien downloads digital coupons to her grocery store reward cards, a process that’s known as “stacking” coupons.
- Use coupons for items that are already on sale. “This way, you can really bring the price way down,” she says. “It’s a bonus if these items also have some sort of store or mail-in rebate.”
Embrace healthy hacks
Buying in bulk can also save you when it comes to your medicine cabinet.
- Always check the expiration date of the product. It’s not a savings to buy a jar of 500 over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers if you only use them once or twice a month.
- If you are thinking about starting a family soon, buying pregnancy tests in bulk can be a smart investment. The ones from the Dollar Store are on our list of things you should always buy for $1.
- Don’t overlook the store brand of OTC products like Costco’s Kirkland ones that are one of the 15 things you aren’t buying at Costco but should.