6 Creative Ways to Save Money With Bulk Buying


When it comes to buying in bulk, warehouse clubs get all the publicity. But there's a lot of stuff they simply don't sell, or the amounts they do sell just aren't big enough. It's times like these when some out-of-the-box thinking on bulk buying comes in handy. (See also: 10 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Buy in Bulk)

Below are some bulk buying ideas that you've probably never considered, but could end up saving you significant money.

1. Home Improvement Materials

If you're considering a significant home improvement project and want to tackle the work yourself, look into buying in bulk at the Home Depot Pro Desk. If you spend at least $2,500, you're eligible for exclusive savings and rewards when buying building supplies like lumber, masonry, nails, screws, and sheetrock.

If you're doing landscape work at your house and the idea of hauling 25 bags of bark is overwhelming, consider buying landscaping materials in bulk from a local supplier. If you don't own a truck, borrow a friend's and haul things like bark, rock, and soil directly to your home and easily save 25% to 50%, depending on the material.

2. Online "Subscribe & Save" Programs

It seems like every other person you see at Costco or Sam's Club pushes a cart around with a huge package of toilet paper or dog food hanging over the edge. While these are often good bulk buys, did you know that you can typically get the same products mailed directly to your home via online "Subscribe & Save" programs? The two big players are Amazon and Target, and their pricing is surprisingly competitive. They both offer free membership, free delivery, and Amazon even offers 15% off if you have at least three items mailed to your home on a regular schedule.

If you are a busy parent, and love the idea of having certain items sent to your doorstep on a regular schedule, you should definitely look into it. Some of the popular items include diapers, toilet paper, laundry detergent, dog food, shampoo, soap, and paper towels. The best part of both programs is the flexibility. If, for example, you have enough toilet paper to last six months, you can easily postpone future deliveries with no penalty.

3. Meat

If you have the freezer space, consider teaming up with friends or family and buying half a hog or a quarter of a steer.

First, consider purchasing a 4-H project animal from your local county fair. You'll pay more than market price in most cases, but you'll be supporting local 4-H kids and end up with very high quality, antibiotic-free meat.

Second, check out your local butcher shop for bulk meat buys. For example, my local butcher shop has a "beef deal" for five pounds of each of the following: round steak, chuck steak, 7-bone chuck roast, short ribs, and ground beef. Total price = $89.99 or $3.60/pound. If you have the freezer space, it's a great way to stock up and save.

4. Gift Cards

I have two kids who play youth sports year-round, and we are constantly buying coach gifts. Gift cards make awesome presents, especially when you buy in bulk from Costco. I recently bought five $10 Jamba Juice gift cards for only $30. So the next time you are hard up for a gift for a coach, teacher, or friend, swing by Costco and stock up on the cheap. Another cool thing about buying gift cards from Costco is they often feature local restaurants and businesses in addition to the usual chains.

5. Gas

For a $30 annual membership fee, MyGallons will allow you to buy a large portion of gas at the current price. The service basically protects against a gas price increase over the coming months or years. You fill up at the station of your choice, and get a credit to your checking account or MyGallons debit card whenever you buy gas for more than your "buy-in" price. If gas prices go down, you can hold your gallons indefinitely until prices go up again, which they undoubtedly will. (See also: Best Gas Rewards Credit Cards)

6. Fruit and Veggies

If your family devours fruits and veggies like they are going out of style, you know just how expensive it can be to keep the fridge stocked. The absolute best way to stock up and save is by purchasing straight from the grower. Summer and fall are terrific times to hit up local farms, roadside stands, and farmer markets. I buy apples, apricots, peaches, and nectarines by the bushel basket from a local farm and typically negotiate a price 25%-40% cheaper than the grocery store.

Also, ask local farmers if they have any "seconds" available to score a great deal on fruit and veggies that may not be perfectly shaped or colored, but still taste amazing. We are talking 50% off compared to the price of "perfect" varieties. By building a rapport with the farmer, they'll let you in on some great bulk buys.

What is the most out-of-the-box bulk purchase you have ever made and how much did it save you?

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Guest's picture

Sometimes I want to get the bulk price, but don't need all the bulk, so I will split the bounty (and cost) with a friend or family member. We both save money and only buy what we can use.

Guest's picture
Bryce Johnston

Great article. Another good bulk buy I have found useful is laundry items such as detergent, fabric softener, and dryer sheets. Which bulk buy have you found the most useful out of the ones listed?

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