When Buying Bulk Isn’t Best

by Merissa on January 21, 2012

in Frugal Living Tips

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I love to buy in bulk. It saves me time and money all the time. The advantages for me are:

  1. Not having to drive to town. I usually buy in bulk online and get things shipped right to the house. This saves me from having to make a trip to town.
  2. Saving money on natural products by purchasing a certain quantity.
  3. Not having to shop as often and not running out of things I need.

Quite honestly, I almost always buy in bulk. I didn't even realize how much I do it until the other day when the Fedex truck delivered a case of facial tissue....

Even though I'm a bulk buyer, there are some things that I won't buy in bulk.

  1. Things that aren't a better price in bulk. Sometimes the individual items are cheaper or just as cheap as the price per item in bulk. If that's the case then I will stick with buying the individual package. The only exception to this rule is if it's the same price in bulk and it's something I will use alot of.
  2. Something that I know might go on sale for less before I need it. If I can save a significant amount of money by waiting for a sale on a product in town I will wait for that sale instead of ordering the product in bulk.
  3. Things that might expire. Just like when you stockpile, you don't want to stock up on more product than you can use before it will expire. Make sure you check on expiration dates before you buy in bulk. If you order online and checking expirations isn't possible, only buy in bulk the products that you can.
I definately have places I always buy in bulk from. My top 2 are:
  1. Azure Standard. I order from them monthly. The bulk of my groceries come from here. I order all my bulk grains from Azure as well which I store in food grade buckets.
  2. Amazon. Amazon has some great deals on bulk foods and paper goods and pretty much anything, especially when you can get the free Subscribe and Save discount.
So what are your reasons to buy or not buy in bulk?
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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kasee Johnson January 21, 2012 at 11:13 am

I shop at my local grocery stores, but I buy my pasta, rice, flour, and cornbread mix from the bulk bins and store them in food grade buckets. It does NOT save me money — if I wait for a sale, I can get my pasta for $.20 / pound less than what I pay for bulk — BUT, it saves on packaging. To me, that’s important, and it’s worth the extra price.


2 Sarah Tudor November 5, 2012 at 11:50 am

What kind of items do you get from Amazon in bulk for paper products?
I just started with a Azure co-op group here where I live and am excited to get my products. Except i have to pay shipping as Azure does not do free shipping to AK. 🙁 But it’s around $.40 a pound for shipping which is still cheaper for lots of items then getting them from the store!


3 Merissa November 5, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Azure doesn’t ship free here either, we pay a percentage per $$ ordered but I know it goes to pay our truck driver so that’s ok with me because if it weren’t for him we wouldn’t be able to get our food! 🙂 I buy facial tissue from Amazon at the moment. I probably would buy TP too but we are stocked up for a while. The reason being it’s easy to get it delivered and we can get a natural brand.


4 Sarah Tudor November 6, 2012 at 10:39 am

Thanks so much!! Yes I believe I was told our charge was for gas and some was for shipping but it’s not horrible. Awesome! I will look into Amazon for those items and watch costs! I never thought about Amazon for buying my bulk items.


5 Felicia February 18, 2013 at 11:35 am

I also shop in bulk, but we have a family of 8, so we go thru food rather quickly. I’ve ordered from Walton Feeds in the past, but have never used Azure Standard. I had a hard time (or lack of time) figuring out if it was worth it. Other than that, we shop the same way! I have enjoyed reading your blog as we think alike!


6 Joyce January 2, 2014 at 10:18 pm

My family is grown and gone, with the exception of on adult child. How would I buy in bulk. I would like to have in put please.


7 Glue Girl July 22, 2015 at 8:13 am

buying in bulkiest just for small families. we are a small family of 3, and one of them is a teen half out of the house; and we still buy in bulk. We make a list and do main shopping once a month. we stock up on things we know will stay for a month or more and we will use, like rice, pasta, cereal, and canned goods. just because your a little family you can still buy in bulk and save time spent shopping and put it into time with the family.
thanks Merissa, I have been enjoying your blog more and more now that we are buying our own home and really looking into ways to save money. revisiting some old ideas we have let slide and getting new ones.


8 Bonnie Bunch November 30, 2015 at 3:34 pm

Hello, I’m a newbie to your site. I must say I am really enjoying all your articles. I do have a question though. In your article on bulk buying you mentioned Amazon and said ” free Subscribe and Save discount.” I don’t know what that is but it sounds like something I need. Can you explain please and tell me how I can get it.
Thank you.


9 Merissa November 30, 2015 at 8:35 pm

Subscribe and Save is a program that Amazon offers for many different products (such as household, health and beauty, foods, and more). Usually the discount is 5% unless you order 5 or more products in a month and then it goes up to 15%. You can read more here.


10 Kay D March 11, 2016 at 12:35 pm

I too order from Azure Standard each month also from Amazon. A couple of other places that I have ordered in bulk are Frontier. https://wholesale.frontiercoop.com/main.html . I belong to a buying club and we get the wholesale prices. I am always buying the herbs I know I’ll use up in bulk. I’ve found the best prices for the virgin coconut oil to be at Vitacost.com . The last place I got my hard white wheat berries was at honeyville.com . They have a better price than Azure where I usually order. They have a flat rate shipping price of $4.95 but they frequently have free shipping specials. I’ve been pleased with them.


11 Steph March 22, 2016 at 1:26 pm

We love your blog, how did you find Azure? We’re in Maine and they don’t deliver here unfortunately but I’m wondering if we can find anything else like it. If you have any ideas I really appreciate it! 🙂


12 Merissa March 22, 2016 at 3:34 pm

We heard about Azure through someone else in our area that was ordering with them. They are constantly adding routes though so I would watch, or even give them a call and see if they have plans to come to your area soon.


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