What's Your Favorite Item to Buy in Bulk and Why?

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Actually there is little that we buy in bulk.
I remember when you could buy candy by the pound.
Even Produce is packaged… so…

Paper Towels, Napkins and TP at Costco is as close to bulk as we get.

Paper plates and plastic cups. So we don’t have to wash so many dishes! My wife calls them the Apocalypse plates!


Buying in bulk may be a cost-saving method or a necessity.

While I love saving money I also have to stockpile things just in case. Being sitting ducks in the middle of the Pacific we are a target for hurricanes. Kauai was devastated by hurricane Iniki which hit during the last day of filming of Jurassic Park (Sept 11, 1992). How Hurricane Iniki impacted 'Jurassic Park' 30 years ago (In contrast, we have never had a hurricane hit my side of my island in recorded history).

Because we are the most remote chain of islands in the world we rely upon shipping for the majority of our food and supplies. The mere mention of a storm, shipping slowdown or strike at a port sends shivers down our spines. When COVID caused toilet paper shortages, we were very worried. Our stock of food and supplies is very small. We don’t have large warehouses for storage. COSTCO and supermarkets generally have a few days worth of stock. It is not uncommon for them to be out of things and when asked when they might get the item the reply is generally (well, it is on the boat and we don’t know how long it may sit at the port here before heading our way). Most Hawaiian islands have a food supply of 5 to 8 days of food and it could take 19 days to open a port after a storm. Luckily the Big Island being rural has more farms and produce available to us. However, if a hurricane damaged our ports we would have a harder time getting produce to other islands. I assume we would use inter-island flights because we can only travel inter-island by plane or boat.

So you stock up. During COVID when our shelves were very empty I even bought a case of Spam just in case. I don’t eat Spam but had it for an emergency ration :slight_smile: We are just beginning to get restocked in store brand pasta products. Until recently even name-brand pasta was limited to macaroni and spaghetti. Many of us have extra refrigerators or freezers to keep things in stock.

Staples that have a long shelf life also are bought in bulk. I have canned soups, pasta and even OTC medicines. When you can buy things at a great discount, you don’t mind stocking up to avoid having to shop for it and finding it may be out of stock. Although there is a supermarket a few miles from me, their prices encourage me to drive the 20 miles to town often enough. With our high gas prices I try to limit those trips.

I use generic antacid and when Walmart was out for months I ended up buying an 8 pack of my own from an online store. Many non-food items are purchased online. I just bought 2 computer mice online because local prices were higher.

Speaking of bulk items… here is an example. My local Vet was charging me $45 for 180 pills for the dog. This was a monthly purchase (6 pills a day, every day). Costco did not have a supplier so I went online to try to save a couple dollars. I found out that this was not a prescription medicine as I had thought. I bought a bottle of 1,000 tablets for $30. Even after paying $15 shipping (because this was a small order), I still dropped the price by a major percentage!

While not really considered as a bulk purchase, I drink lactose-reduced/free milk. I get it at Costco as a 3-pack of 1/2 gallon cartons. use one but have the other two in the freezer. Because it is ultra pasteurized it lasts much longer than regular milk.

So much of what I buy is either bulk from Costco (we don’t have any other warehouse clubs on my island) or I buy the rest as generic or store brands from places like Safeway or Walmart. When you find a deal, you stock up because you never know if you can get it again soon or at all again.

As a final thought, I also try to buy in bulk because of trash. We have transfer stations here and a few large dumps. We try not to bury much as it is costly to dig rock and bury trash and our islands are small. Much of our trash was sent offshore and I think cardboard went to japan. We eliminated plastic bags at grocery stores and carry out places. We have been using a lot of recyclable straws, takeout containers and so on.

I prefer to buy seafood there. I can eat it all the time, but recently I’ve read this article Is Shrimp Good For Weight Loss: Losing Pounds Without Giving Up The Good Stuff - BetterMe and discover about a lot of its advantages. So, now I try to eat it once a week.

Food on sale that we can freeze and eat later. It helps us stretch our food money. We figure out which foods we can “resurrect” well with our microwave and/or air fryer.

#1. Wheat… because it makes the best flour for bread and it’s shelf life is over 25 years.

#2. Sugar… because it’s used for lots of things and has a long shelf life

#3. batteries… because I hate to run out of them,

I buy these items in bulk: paper towels, toilet paper, shower or bath gel, certain toiletries that are normally more expensive, bottled water, dish detergent, laundry detergent, compostable bags, dish sponges. All of these have a long shelf life and will not spoil unlike food items that eventually need to be refrigerated.

We buy 25 lb bags of AP flour at Costco. It’s fine enough for most cakes and we add about a teaspoon of gluten per cup of flour for most bread recipes. Great savings over buying the 2 and 5 lb bags in the grocery store.

Not something I’d ever purchas in bulk, but i saw a 25lb bag of carrots at a regular grocery store last week…

Peanut M&Ms. The reason should be obvious :slight_smile:


I homebrew beer and buy my malted grains in 10# bags from an online supplier who ships free on orders over $60. Buying supplies this way as opposed to kits allows me to brew ales that come in at or near 25¢/per 12 oz. bottle. And they taste better to us than anything but the most expensive commercial products.

Nobody mentioned it but forever stamps… personally I don’t use many but I guess that is a bulk purchase. I made the mistake of deciding to get a pack for future use and did not look closely at them. When I got home I found they were Christmas elves. I decided t otrde them for a series a bit more useful throughout the year.

Paper plates and plastic cups! My wife calls them “Apocalypse Plates”!

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I usually stock up on bottled water, also other things like toilet paper and paper towels. You don’t want to run out of those things. If my favorite moisturizers are on sale, I would buy more of those and keep them on hand. I also buy shower body wash in bulk when it’s on sale.

My mom and dad buy the cosco cat food we normally get 2 bags at a time of it, I like buying english muffins because you get 18 in a pack and it’s way cheaper then buying 6 at a time

I started doing Pilates professionally and realized how few quality products there are on the market and the great demand for this sport, so I decided to buy yoga mats at cheap prices and sell them in stores, there is also a lot of equipment that is needed for Pilates , I hope to expand its range of products

We frequently purchase large jars/bags of frequently used dried herbs and spices on Amazon. For many items, it’s possible to get 5-10 times or more of the product, for about twice or three times the price of the tiny supermarket containers.

I have made it a point for years to buy toilet paper at Costco whenever there was a sale. Covid came and with it boredom. I cleaned the garage. Much to my embarrassment, I found more than a dozen of the huge, giant packs of TP. I had neighbors coming to buy from me. Am finally out and hitting the most recent sale in my area of TP. ONE pack.

My problem is there are no Costco’s, BJs or Sam’s clubs within 50 miles from me. What I might save gets eaten up in gas. So, to save, I do Amazon subscriptions when possible.