Tips for buying in bulk

So yesterday we made our trip to SPC Ardmona and came home with a full car load.  So I thought I should share some tips on how to shop in bulk.  These tips work for places like SPC and Costco, where you buy things by the case (eg. 12 cans of the same product).

  • So to start with you need to know what you have at home.  I generally have a fair idea of what we have but I always ask hubby to double check just in case there is something hidden in a back room that I’ve forgotten about!!
  • Have a budget – we actually have a seperate budget for trips to SPC, and this is not part of our weekly shopping budget (or our meat budget), for us it is much easier to have these seperate budgets because I then know where I am at on a weekly basis.
  • Know what products you use a lot of and what you only use a little of – there is no point buying something that is on super special if you only use it rarely or you’ve never used it before.  It will sit in the back of your cupboard using precious space and collecting dust for a year or more, trust me.
  • Have an idea of product prices.  Things may seem cheap but honestly they aren’t always so know your prices!!  If you don’t know your prices I recommend giving yourself some extra time and taking your phone, jumping onto coles or safeway online and look up to see whether you really are getting a good deal
  • Go with an empty car!!  We don’t even take the pram these days, we could and it would fit, its just not worth the hassle when you have to try and fit it all in the car at the end of the shop
  • Go with two adults if you can, particularly if you have children.  We put one boy in each trolley, grab a couple of boxes from the front to pack small things as we go around, so the big things go into one trolley and the small things into the other.  This also makes it easier to pack as the check out ladies speed through the mountain of purchases – its like Aldi, you have to pack quick!!
  • Take your time.  I cannot stress this enough.  These places can be very big and it can be overwhelming, particularly on your first time.  Don’t try to rush this kind of shop, you will buy too much and spend more than you should.
  • Compare products and prices with each other.  These places have several different brands of items – for example we saw different brands of toothpaste, don’t just look at the price, you need to compare the sizes – the companies are very good at putting things in similar size packaging but I always check how many grams I’m getting.  I then work out which is the better deal.  I often see people just going well thats cheaper so we’ll take that – you need to make sure your comparing the same thing.
  • Be aware that stock changes regularly.  Just because you got something there last time does not mean it will be there this time.  If you see something and you want it and you will actually use it, seriously you should just get it.  There is no point regretting not getting the kids those fruit sticks you saw and having to pay twice as much for a third of the amount at the supermarket the following week.  And don’t get disappointed when they don’t have something you wanted.  We walk in having a basic shopping list, anything else is a bonus and anything they don’t have this time I know I can still get at the supermarket.
  • Last but not least have a bit of fun.  It should not be a stressful experience.  If your taking the kids (which we do) take some snacks for them, let them hold a bag of something, let them pick something off the shelves.  If you walk in with your plan of what you do not need, what would be great if they had that you do need and a budget it will make it much easier.

Hope that helps someone out on their first trip or their next trip to one of these stores.  They are fantastic if you shop smart.  And below is the boys at the end of our SPC shop.  Their trolleys are both full and they were still fairly happy.

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And this is my car all packed up.  Yes it is full!  There are several boxes at the back filled with fruit that we picked up elsewhere, so I didn’t buy it all!!  And yes the boys each got a Bitty Bin which are just slightly shorter than them – just happened to be at SPC and I thought they were super cute and great to put the boys mega bloks in.  I actually filled the bins full of stuff to save space for the way home and my intention was to empty them this morning but my rugrats are actually to busy pulling and pushing them around the house, lifting the lid, checking whats inside, putting some of their bowls in, toddling off, coming back, taking their bowls out and moving the bin to somewhere else.  Its rather cute!!  I think I will empty them when the boys go to bed tonight and fill them with their toys so they get a surprise tomorrow!  🙂

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