Created on: January 15, 2013 Last Updated: March 08, 2013
It goes without saying that you should probably not buy perishable items in bulk but you might be surprised to find out what is and isn't considered perishable. Generally, things that must be kept cold are considered perishable, think eggs, milk and so on, but there are things which do not need to be refrigerated that are, in fact, perishable.
While flour might seem like it never goes bad, it has a shelf life, depending on the type, of about between 2-8 months. So buying this in bulk would not be a good idea unless you're doing a lot of baking.
Along with flour, don't buy baking powder in bulk. If you're like most people, you have bouts of baking and it's not something you do year round. So buy small containers of baking powder and even then, you'll probably end up not using all of it before it expires.
Spices may not "go bad" but they will lose their punch if left sitting around for a long time. Spice distributors such as McCormick offer several methods to determine freshness including a “best by date”, so be sure to check for this before purchasing. In light of this, it is best to buy small jars of spices you don't use often. Most people use salt and pepper frequently but may not use nutmeg and mace very often. Buy what you use often in small batches, as well, so you get the best flavor out of them.
While white rice is probably a good buy in bulk, brown rice is not. Brown rice does not last nearly as long as white rice. According to the USA Rice Federation, "Store uncooked brown rice at room temperature up to 6 months, or refrigerate for longer shelf life." But if you have to refrigerate it, it's probably not a good buy unless you've got a very large refrigerator.
It's only good to buy paper towels and toilet paper in bulk if you have to room to store it. More than likely, you'll get a good buy on paper goods but you'll be annoyed if you don't have enough space to store it. Think about storage when it comes to buying in bulk.
While it might seem like a great deal to buy diapers in bulk, if your child goes through a sudden growth spurt, you may be stuck with a load of diapers that you can't use.
Buying in bulk only saves money if you actually use what you buy before it expires or goes bad. So think hard about buying in bulk because you could end up costing yourself more money in the long run.
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