I’ve never been much of a Costco or Sam’s Club fan, but my parents love it. They love it so much, they get extra excited when I visit them, because they make me go to Costco with them. They say they like having “someone strong” to help them carry the heavy groceries. I guess I should be flattered that my puny muscles are useful?
That said, I do love a lot of things from Costco. Lightbulbs, Nutella, alcohol. There’s a lot to love in Costco, but it’s easy to buy too much and have it go to waste (not the alcohol. Alcohol never goes to waste!) But how do you know what’s going to be a worthwhile buy (Nutella) or a total bust?
Here are the top 7 things you should never buy in bulk – some I’ve learned through trial and horrific, horrific error. Learn from my mistakes and never buy these 7 items in bulk!
This will likely go bad before you’re able to use it all. After all, how much cooking oil do you use, and do you use the same cooking oil every single time? If you are using that much cooking oil, you may have a heart problem and should probably get that checked out. Or you’re an independent KFC, in which case, carry on.
Some oil can last a few years, but not once it’s open. So unless you’re going to be cooking up a ton of fried chicken, skip the cooking oil.
Similar to cooking oil, are you really going to go through 2-4 jars of ketchup before the expiration date? Maybe, but what about taste and freshness? While mayo can last a long time, it’s just not worth it to buy several jars of condiments under the assumption you’re going to eat them before they lose their taste (or expire!)
Nuts and Seeds
One thing you should definitely never buy in bulk? Nuts and seeds! Once open, nuts can lose their taste relatively quickly, so unless you’re taking them camping or to the ballpark, buy your nuts and seeds at your local grocery store and not in bulk.
Grains, Flour, Sugar
I learned the hard way you should not purchase grains, flour or sugar in bulk. Trust me when I say opened flour, not stored in the freezer, turns into a horror show pretty quickly.
You could avoid this by storing your bulk grains, flour and/or sugar in the freezer, but eventually things will lose their freshness. Plus, you’ve lost valuable freezer space so, unless you have an extra freezer laying around, skip these items in bulk.
Another bulk item purchased that I learned the hard way, never buy spices in bulk. As much as you think you love garlic or cinnamon, there’s no humanly way for you to eat bulk spices before they expire or lose their flavor. It’s sad (and expensive) to throw away good spices, so just buy them in their smaller jars at your local grocery store.
I never actually knew bleach had an expiration date, but that explains why my bleach isn’t effective – it’s just not meant to work as well after more than a year in storage. Unless you’re… well, let’s not get any ideas. Just buy bleach from your regular store.
Yes, the person from sunny Phoenix, AZ is telling you not to bulk-purchase sunscreen. Am I crazy?! No, just realistic. Even most people in Phoenix aren’t able to go through a whole tube of sunscreen in a summer, let alone a bulk-sized version of sunscreen.
Exceptions: you’re a lifeguard or your family is outside a lot and you all share the same type of sunscreen.
But honestly, you’re better off purchasing a smaller bottle of sunscreen for yourself and different bottles for your family depending on allergies, age, or sensitivity. With sunscreen, one size rarely fits all – which is why it doesn’t make sense to purchase sunscreen in bulk!
While doing research for this article, I found a few articles that had even more things you “shouldn’t” buy in bulk, but I disagreed with a lot of them. Who’s to say you don’t eat frozen items a lot? I LOVE frozen stuff, I buy it in bulk, and I eat it usually within 2 months. Bulk straws? Don’t get me started – I LOVE straws and I hope I’m buried with straws to take to the afterlife (just kidding – checking who’s still reading! :))
It’s ultimately up to you to decide what’s worth it to buy in bulk and what you personally should never buy in bulk. Do you agree or disagree with this list, and are there things you’d never buy in bulk that I missed?
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