woman shopping

Toilet paper shortages, long lines at stores, stress and panic-buying made grocery shopping a nightmare during the pandemic. Some of these experiences fueled a trend toward buying in bulk to prepare for future emergencies. Whether you’re prepping for a disaster or just trying to tame your grocery bills, stocking up on bulk items at warehouse stores can save you a bundle.

But beware of a “bigger is better” approach to shopping, because sometimes it can backfire. Thinking twice before you buy can help save money and reduce waste.

Shop Smart for Bulk Items

Here are some tips to help you choose wisely when shopping for bulk items.

Compare per-unit prices. Don’t assume that the biggest package is always the best price. You could end up paying more per unit than you would for a smaller package. Use a calculator to help you compare the price per unit before adding something to your cart. Keep in mind that buying certain items on sale at the supermarket may be a better deal than regular warehouse prices.

Check the shelf life. The mega size container of spinach or strawberries is only a good deal if you can use it all before it spoils. Remember that cooking oil may go bad in about six months, and spices may lose flavor after a few years – so buying smaller containers may be your best bet.

Plan for storage space. Buying in bulk only makes sense if you have room for the items you buy. It’s a good idea to check available space in the fridge, freezer and pantry before you shop.

Protect your investment. You could spend hundreds of dollars on bulk meats or other expensive foods and lose everything due to a refrigerator malfunction or extended power outage. Having a stockpile of food is a plus for disaster preparedness, but be wary of spending lots of money on items that could go bad if your storage solution fails.

Take Advantage of Rewards

The money you save by shopping smart adds up even faster when you earn rewards on groceries and other everyday purchases. With the Advancial Visa Rewards Plus card, you’ll earn unlimited rewards up to 1.5% on every purchase that can be redeemed for cash back, gift cards, merchandise or travel.1

To learn more or to apply for Visa Rewards Plus, go to www.advancial.org/credit-cards/visa-rewards-plus or call 800.322.2709.

1 Spend between $1-$2,499 and earn 1% rewards. Earn 1.5% when you spend $2,500+ or when you make 25+ purchases during a billing cycle.