Buying in bulk can be an awesome way to both save money and save yourself trips to the store. But bigger isn’t always better.
Big-box stores and warehouse clubs like BJ’s, Costco and Sam’s Club are a shopper’s dream — One-stop shops where you can buy a lifetime supply of your favorite foods and products. However, don’t let every gargantuan carton and low price tag tempt you. Tons of items are better purchased in a 2-pack rather than a 24-pack.
Next time you find yourself at a wholesale mecca — don’t go too crazy. Be selective! Load up your cart with giant packs of gum, toilet paper, diapers and office supplies — but don’t grab everything you see on the shelves.
Cooking oils like olive oil and vegetable oil typically have shelf lives of only 6-12 months — so stay away from the gallon-sized containers.
While spices don’t expire quickly, they tend to lose their potency after about 6 months. If you want to buy spices in bulk, stick to buying whole cloves and grind them up yourself to maintain those bold flavors.
Bleach has a shelf life of about 6-12 months. The chemical begins to degrade immediately, especially at higher temperatures, so don’t be tempted by the bigger packages.
Lotions like moisturizer and sunscreen tend to lose their effectiveness in about 3-6 months — so stick to purchasing smaller bottles and restock a few times a year.
Condiments like ketchup, ranch dressing and mayonnaise are laden with preservatives to hold a longer shelf life — but even so, it’s usually 6-12 months. There’s a good chance you won’t finish your bottle before the expiration date, so stick to buying one bottle at a time.
Brown rice deteriorates much faster than white or pre-cooked rice. Even when stored in an airtight container, brown rice only has a shelf life of about 6 months.
Properly stored canned soda has a shelf life of about 9 months, but it may lose some carbonation and taste.
Be cautious in the cooking aisle. Cooking oils have a much shorter shelf life than you probably realize (only 3-6 months!) and ground spices lose their potency after about 6 months. White rice and other pre-cooked rices reportedly have a shelf life of 30 years — but did you know brown rice expires after only 6 months?
Besides the obvious grocery staples that perish quickly — like dairy products, produce and meat — there are some other products to avoid buying in large quantities that you may not be aware of.
Hit up the grocery store instead for the above items — or just stick to smaller packages.