Remember the old adage, you need to spend money to make money? This is one of those times. Many times buying in bulk pays off big time.
So, it’s your lucky day, I’m giving you a free pass to buy more stuff!
Well… not exactly.
This is not a carte blanche opportunity to go buy 100 Snicker bars to save a few dollars (mmm Snickers), but there is an opportunity to buy extra of your most used items when it makes sense.
So when might it make sense?
The top places where buying more, saves you money.
Ready to jump in? Let’s get started.
At the Grocery Store
I’m always looking for an edge at the grocery store. Next to housing costs, the grocery store sucks up a huge chunk of our monthly spending.
Obviously, I’ll have the extra sharp cheddar but I wouldn’t turn down a little brie. 😎
The Great Cereal Debacle
If you ever come to our house, you’re going to find a variety of cereals to choose from. For all you cereal / sugar haters out there you aren’t invited over for breakfast unless you agree to partake in the sugary bliss of endorphins that inevitably follow the cereal consumption.
While shopping at the local grocery store the other day, we ran across several boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. (Yum). Normally, the bigger the box, the cheaper per ounce cost, right? Let’s see what we had to choose from.
|Price||Ounces||Price / Ounce|
It’s a no brainier right? If you love the cereal, you should pay the $3.30 and buy the bigger box. Yes you’re spending an additional $1.14, however you’ve received a better per ounce price on the cereal.
So is there ever a time when buying the smaller one makes sense? Absolutely. Let’s look at happens when the 12 ounce box is on sale for $1.50.
|Price||Ounces||Price / Ounce|
|$1.50 (was $2.16)||12.0||12.5 cents|
Now you’re better off buying two of the smaller boxes.
Need another reason to buy the small box? If you know you won’t finish the larger box before it goes stale, then by all means, paying more per ounce is the way to go.
The bottom line: Pay attention to the per unit price you’re getting (ounces/pounds/etc.), it’s important.
Pro-tip: Be careful when comparing items such as toilet paper or paper towels. Often times the units of measure on the price tags aren’t the same and you have to work at finding out what your true cost is!
Tips for saving money at the grocery store:
- Don’t ever, and I repeat, ever go shopping hungry. We’ve all been there and it is an utter disaster.
- Always have a plan and a list before you go and stick to it.
- Read all the labels and calculate the per ounce (or other common measurements) to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
- Don’t buy more when you know you’re unsure if you will eat everything you purchase before it expires.
- Read the fine print carefully. We’ve all seen those deals that advertise a 2 for $4.00 deal (regular price $2.59 each), right? Many stores don’t require you to purchase 2 of the items to get the reduced price, subconsciously they are enticing you to buy more. Don’t overspend if you don’t need too.
Buy duplicates of your favorite clothes
This is one of my favorite tips, mostly because I absolutely hate shopping for clothes.
Have you ever been out shopping and came across the perfect fitting jeans? You know the ones. You’re wearing them right now wishing they weren’t frayed at the bottom and slightly faded. Or those rocking shoes you love for work or the gym with the soles worn down and they clogging up your closest but you just can’t let them go?
Why didn’t you buy two or three of them when you had the chance?
Don’t fall into the same trap I’ve fallen in many times.
“I’ll just get one pair of these lovelies and see if I like them.” By the time I’ve figured out they are fantastic, the store has stopped carrying them and not even a pair can be found on eBay.
How does this save money?
Buying clothes in bulk saves money in two ways.
First, it saves you the time and brain damage of going back to the mall or clicking through endless options online.
|Example Savings for Trip to the Mall: |
$8.00 Parking at the Mall
$25.00 Lunch at the Mall
$5.20 Transportation in Car (10 miles @ .52 cents per mile)
$70.38 (3 hours at $23.46 per hour – the average hourly wage in America).
Second, it prevents you from purchasing different clothing items you hate, wear once or twice, and end up throwing away.
Anyone else have jeans in their closet they refuse to wear because they just don’t like them and can’t throw them away?
|Example Savings for avoiding purchasing the wrong item: |
$50 per pair of Jeans
$25 per shirt
Indirect savings: Less need for closet space leading to a smaller place and less rent!
Immeasurable: Saving yourself the mental anguish from making the wrong purchase, again.
The bottom line: Next time you find something you like, make sure to buy multiples before they go out of style.
I have a closet full of my fancy shades and an even bigger vault of cheese!
Tips for saving money while clothes shopping:
- After buying a new clothing article, wash it, wear it and determine if you truly like it within the first week of purchase. If you do, go back and buy extra! Even in other colors!
- If it’s on sale and you need to buy multiples on the same day, make sure you understand the return policy so you can take the extras back if you don’t end up liking them.
- Once you find something you like, do a google search to see if you can find the item cheaper before buying extra.
Lock in your gym membership for a year
I absolutely love it when a gym offers a prepaid option for a gym membership.
Most gyms are highly negotiable in their pricing, especially if you’re willing to fork over the cash up-front.
|Who should prepay for a gym? |
1. You’ve been a gym rat for years and nothing will keep you away.
2. You’ve been going to the same place for a few months and you love it!
3. It’s the only gym near your house and you’re committed to regularly using it.
|Who should not prepay for a gym? |
1. You haven’t been to the gym for years and you’re not sure if you’re going to use it.
2. The gym is really far from your house and you have trouble making it on time.
3. You didn’t give it a long-enough trial period before committing.
Bonus: if you’re paying for a gym right now you’re not using, GO CANCEL IT!
A few words of caution if you’re going to spend the up-front costs.
Make sure you understand the terms of the agreement. What if you need to move out of state seven months in? Has the gym been around a long time? Are they going to honor their side of the agreement or suddenly close up shop?
So what can you save?
Many gyms offer up to 20% off to commit to a yearly contract. That’s a huge savings! What are you waiting for? Get to your gym ASAP and start negotiating.
You get what you pay for – spend more
Now we know it can make sense to buy in bulk or buy duplicates of things you really need. But when does it make sense to actually spend more on certain things?
Clothing is a complex and very personal choice. It can be a status symbol or be worn purely for functional reasons. We all have those favorite shirts we bought lurking in our closet that fell apart after three washes and we can’t be bothered to mend. Or those crocks you purchased? Those are soooo last season.
I never go out of style.
Sometimes it makes sense to splurge on clothing and sometimes it doesn’t. Let’s take a closer look as to when to make the plunge.
|When does it make sense to spend more on clothing? |
1. You will be wearing the article of clothing a lot. You need something sturdy
2. You work at a company where style matters and dressing to impress can
mean the difference between getting that promotion or forever staying in a dead-end job.
3. You have a certain style and buying duplicates of the same expensive outfits make sense.
4. The look is timeliness and can be worn for many years without “going out of style.”
|When should you consider going the cheap route? |
1. You can’t stand wearing the same outfits season after season.
2. You need that one special white dress for a tea party that you’ll absolutely
never wear again.
3. You’re trying out a new style but you’re not sure if its really for you.
Your Cell Phone
Next to my computer, my cell phone is probably the most important thing I own. It goes everywhere with me.
It helps me stay productive, it keeps me from getting lost, and most importantly it keeps all of my memories. See, I love taking photos. If you’ve read about my struggles with social media, you know I’ve cut back on my picture taking but I still love it.
Since I stopped carrying a digital camera years ago, I rely solely on my iPhone. To me, it’s worth the extra money to buy the phone that has the best camera.
Sure, I could go spend $100 on a flip phone, make my calls, and bumble through the three key texting, or I could spend over $1,000 and get the best camera phone on the market. If I keep my phone for 4 years like I did my last one, that’s only 68 cents a day for a truly magical piece of hardware.
When should you spend more on housing costs?
Let’s say you’re choosing between two dream properties to live in. They both have 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, granite counter-tops, a gorgeous view and plenty of parking. Which one do you choose?
|Property A: $1,000 per month rent|
Property B: $1,350 per month rent
Of course you’d choose Property A! You’ll save $350 per month.
What if I told you that Property A came with an extra hour of commute time? All else being equal, would you still choose it? How much is your time worth? How much is the brain damage of having a 2 hour commute every day worth to you?
What if that extra $350 a month would get you one block closer to the best school district in the area and would afford your kids the chance to get a better education? Would you spend the extra money?
What if the extra $350 a month was a block away from your favorite lake that you spend hours at everyday and brings you immense joy. Would you spend the extra money then?
Now of course in the real world, it’s never going to be that simple. You’ll almost never find two equal houses with only a price differential to make your final decision. There will always be trade-offs to consider.
Whether or not you decide to buy in bulk or spend more on certain purchases, there is time or money to be saved.