More is more: Bulk buying in the economic downturn

Bulk buying has taken off in a big way across the country as a means of mitigating food and business prices. Although environmental values generally support a Spartan approach to living (less is more), when it comes to bulk buying groceries, the ‘more is more’ method is eco-friendly and much cheaper.

Bulk food stores (often co-ops) contain food bins where shoppers can take their own containers and fill them with all manner of grains, pasta, cereals, rice, spice - or other dry goods - for a pittance. The UK is a bit behind the US here, because our supermarkets don’t contain any food bins at all.

But why are you able to save money on bulk-bought food? The business term is ‘economies of scale’ and it works for both businesses and individuals alike.

Economies Of Scale

No matter where you shop, suppliers will give you a discounted price for large orders, meaning you get more commodities for your buck. If you run a business and are looking to grow through economies of scale, you may even be able to ensure cheaper shipping costs for larger and more regular orders, as this means more custom for your shipping company – they’ll want to keep your business on board.

The average cost per unit will vastly reduce, leaving you a wider profit margin (businesses) or more tucker for your money (individuals). Economies of scale can be applied to almost anything that you wish to buy in large quantities, especially if it’s expensive.

Individuals may not have the money to invest in large amounts of food, but they could save on their grocery bill by teaming up with neighbours or family members and sharing the nosh. Often this is how cooperatives begin: groups of people get together and sell bulk bought produce to locals at cheaper prices than the supermarkets.

Bulk Buying Beauty Products

Any stylist knows that salons go through tonnes of beauty supplies every week. Here’s a perfect opportunity to save the business wads of cash through economies of scale. Products and treatments can be exceptionally expensive – especially the designer brands – so slash costs by purchasing and storing boxes of your most popular supplies.

Bulk Buying For Individuals

Some products individuals should consider bulk buying are… basically anything that lasts. If you have a handy area (like a washroom or garage) where you can store your bulk bought purchases, try picking up vast quantities of: alcohol (unless you have a party-happy teenager in your house), cereal, dried beans, pasta, toilet paper, office supplies, toothbrushes, non-perishables (such as canned food), vitamins and nappies.

Although you can make massive savings, try not to mistakenly buy a load of produce that you won’t get through for years. As the sell-by date rears its ugly head, you’ll be cursing the day that you considered bulk buying jars of mayonnaise. Only go wholesale with items you constantly get through.



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