Bulk buying is a great way to save money, and there are tons of tips and tricks around the blogosphere on how families can use coupons, sales, and warehouse stores to purchase large quantities for less.
But what about those of us who are single city-dwellers? With a family of just me, myself, and I, and a tiny urban apartment, you might think we can’t benefit from bulk buying, but you’d be mistaken. We definitely have to take a different approach than a family of six would, but we can still take advantage of this strategy.
Adjust Your Perception of “Bulk”
Bulk buying has less to do with the quantity you buy, and more to do with the time you buy. When you find a great deal on shampoo, for example, a family might buy five bottles and go through it in three months. But for us singles? It may take us three months to use up a single bottle. In this case, “bulk” may mean just one. Buy what you’ll use at the time before the next sales cycle, not the quantity you may see others buying.
Know How Much You Use
A single tube of toothpaste or bottle of contact solution could last you from one sales cycle to the next, but if you go through a jar of peanut butter or a box of tissues in one week, you’ll need to purchase several when they’re on sale to avoid paying full price. When storage space is precious, use it wisely on products you use at a higher rate.
Use Your Freezer
Don’t pass up sales of foods with quick expiration dates. If two gallons of milk is cheaper than one, or you find a rock-bottom price on cheese, snatch it up! You’d be surprised how much food you can get in a small above-the-fridge freezer. In fact, your freezer will actually run more efficiently when it’s full!
Organize and Declutter
Find unique ways to maximize your closets and cupboards. Use shelves and bins to take advantage of vertical space. Use baskets and bins to corral like items together. Install hooks and over-the-door hangers to store items on the backs of doors. Even in the tiniest of studio apartments, there’s often more space to be found than you might think.
Budget for Stocking Up
As a single person, your grocery budget is much smaller than a family’s, which may mean you’re plunking down a large percentage of your weekly or monthly budget when a great stock-up price rolls around. One way to combat this is to budget specifically for stocking up, rather than taking that money out of your regular grocery budget. For example, if your monthly grocery budget is $100, it’d be tough to shell out $20 on a single purchase of meat when chicken is at a rock-bottom price. But if you’ve set aside $20 or $30 just for stocking up this month, you can take advantage when great deals pop up.
Share with a Friend
Warehouse stores like Costco and Sam’s Club often have lower prices than you can find at a grocery store, but buying such huge quantities isn’t always practical for a single person or a small living space. Take advantage of these deals by going in with a friend, roommate, or family member. Split the cost of the membership and/or the cost of some of the items you buy. Note: if you’re splitting the membership, the person whose name is on the card may have to be present for the other person to make a purchase.