Being a thrifty shopper is not only smart, but a necessity in today’s economy. Saving a few pennies here and there can really make a difference when it comes to protecting your budget. We’ve heard “cheaper is not always better,” in terms of quality, but doesn’t it make sense to buy 30 rolls of toilet paper to save $3.14? After all, it will be used …eventually.

“A penny saved is a penny earnedbut maybe not when it comes to finding a place to store those 30 rolls of toilet paper. Clutter happens when there’s too much. When storage space is an issue, you might need to reevaluate your thought process when buying in bulk. Consider these things in addition to the price tag before shopping.

  • Consider expiration dates. Will you use up the product before it goes out of date? If you end up throwing it away, was the price difference worth it?
  • Storage space. Is there ample room to store the excess of paper towels, cereal and cleaning supplies?
  • Store duplicates in another area. Have a home for the two cans of green beans in the pantry and then have another space (like shelves in the basement or garage) to store the other 10 cans.
  • Share with a friend. One option is to split the purchase with someone—you each get eight rolls of paper towels and divide the cost. Not as much storage is needed, yet the cost savings are the same.
  • Donate the excess. Keep for yourself what you’ll use and then donate the rest to local shelters. You get the benefit of the lower price plus a tax deduction for what you donate.
  • Make sure you can handle it. One client kept her 50-pound bag of dog food in her truck (and scooped it out from there) because she couldn’t move it once she got it home. Is this practical for your lifestyle?
  • Think of the investment. While the cost per slice, roll, or bottle may be good, does your budget allow you to spend money on items that will take you a year to use?
  • Brands differ. Before buying two large “almost too heavy to lift” mouthwashes, do you like it? What happens when you decide it isn’t as good as you thought it would be? Still a good deal or a waste of money?

When organizing and finding a home for all of your “stuff,” it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of bulk items in regards to space available. Sometimes we feel we have no room in our kitchens, but when you look in your cabinets and find three giant bottles of ketchup, there probably isn’t room for anything else. When space is an issue, the solution may be to purchase the eight-pack of toilet paper versus the industrial bundle. Size matters. It’s that simple.