Bulk buying is the process whereby a commodity is bought in large quantities so that the buyer gets preferential terms as compared to those buyers who buy smaller quantities of the same commodity. This system of buying has long been used in international and wholesale trade, but in the last several years, it has become increasingly common in retail trade so that retail buyers are offered discounted prices when they purchase large quantities of a product. The process has been driven by the creation of warehouse/discount stores and clubs who pass on savings they themselves have made by bulk purchasing items from manufacturers and producers to their own retail customers. If one is already a bulk retail buyer or if he/she is thinking of becoming one, there are a few pointers that may prove useful to such folk.
First, one ought to be aware that, although they provide essentially the same service, the process by which the service is delivered is somewhat different between warehouse stores and warehouse clubs. The stores are just that, general stores open to all and sundry who desire to buy goods at lower bulk prices. The clubs, on the other hand, are membership organizations run for the benefit of subscription paying members. Keeping in mind that no matter how deeply discounted the products offered by any particular store and club are, if you do not buy them then you make no savings.
So it is worthwhile, if one is thinking of becoming a member of a subscription only club to find out whether they stock the products that one is interested in as well as determining in one’s mind how frequently one will make use of the club’s services. If the club does not carry the lines that one is interested in or if one uses the club’s services only infrequently, then one would not be receiving the benefit, or, at least the full benefit, that ought to derive from membership. Occasional bulk shoppers would probably be better off buying at ordinary warehouse store even if the discounts offered are not as deep as those offered by a club.
Is bulk buying really necessary for you? Although bulk buying may offer savings to some, does it really offer you savings? A single person who bulk buys, for instance, may find that he/she is actually spending more by choosing to bulk buy whereas a larger household is making considerable savings; it’s simply a matter of economies brought about by the larger scale on which the larger household operates as compared to the one person household.
Also, it is worth noting that for many bulk buyers and/or prospective bulk buyers, the warehouse store will be somewhat out of the way as compared to the local grocery stores. If the savings that one makes from bulk buying does not surpass the inconvenience of going farther out of one’s way and the extra spending on transport costs, then it makes more sense to stick to your neighborhood grocery.
Then, even though buying extra units of a product results in savings, such savings are only notional unless, and until, the product has been completely used. It is hardly a saving if one buys a five kilogram pack of sausages at bulk prices and then fails to consume them before the expiry date or simply gets bored with eating pork sausages and now desires beef sausages!
Yet, all said, bulk buying can be a means of making considerable savings on your household bills. For larger households, for instance, it makes economic sense to buy larger quantities at considerably lower prices than to keep on buying smaller quantities at higher prices from your local grocery, and certain items can reasonably be bought by any size household thereby stretching the dollar in your wallet that much further.
Regular use household items such as soap, toilet paper, waste disposal bags and the like make very good bulk buys. Such items have an extremely long life span so that the possibility of them going to waste is greatly minimized and bulk buying also reduces the chances of running out of items which are quite essential must-haves in the house. But these are not the only types of household items that you can safely bulk buy.
Certain food items are also eminently suitable for bulk buying. Sugar and salt which are every day need items and which keep for extended periods are good bulk buys, as are canned foods as well as meat and other easily freezable food items. Fresh fruits and vegetables are not so good as bulk buys as they perish in very short time and oughtn’t to be bought in bulk unless they are to be consumed in very short time. Likewise for items like crisps which can go stale and large plastic bottles of carbonated drinks, the contents of which can go flat if not consumed in a timely fashion.
On a final note, a couple of points to keep in mind; first, bulk buying translates directly into bulk storage. Do not buy more stuff than you have storage for; surely, the last thing you want or need is to have bought so much of these “well priced” items that you no longer have enough space in your home for your normal day to day activities.
Second, there is an epidemic of over-eating in the US and several other countries. If you discover that in spite of bulk buying there is no reduction in your household expenditure, then the savings made on the bulk buys are likely to be going to payment for over eating in your household and you may have to revert to your previous arrangements or take other appropriate steps to stop the over eating. Remember, over eating is the major cause of obesity, with all its health implications, in the western world.
That said, done in a commonsensical manner, bulk buying can provide considerable savings for consumers in these difficult economic times.