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Savvy shoppers know one of the best ways to determine whether something is a deal is to look at the unit price. That is, look at how much an item costs per ounce or sheet or pill.
The best unit prices often come from buying in bulk. You don’t need to belong to a warehouse club to buy in bulk either. Look for family sizes in your supermarket or stock up when you see a great sale.
It doesn’t make sense to buy everything in bulk, but the following items can — and should — be purchased in large quantities for maximum savings and convenience.
1. Nonperishable foods
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Refrigerated foods have a short shelf life, but some nonperishable foods can last for years or even decades. These include canned foods, certain grains and dried beans, among others we detail in “11 Foods That Can Keep for Years.”
However, while items like rice and flour have a long shelf life, they must be stored properly to avoid having bugs or other pests infiltrate their packaging. If you have space in a large freezer, putting uncooked grains there will do the trick.
2. Cleaning products
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Cleaning products will expire — eventually. But for most types of cleaners, you have about one to two years before they start losing their effectiveness. That means buying them in bulk should be no problem so long as you clean regularly.
One exception is bleach. You should not buy bleach in bulk because its shelf life is only about six months, as we note in “10 Things You Should Never Do With Bleach.”
3. Ice melt
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Those living in northern climates can safely stock up on ice melt or rock salt for the winter months. Just be sure to store it in a way that ensures moisture and sunlight can’t get into the packaging.
Buying ice melt in bulk comes with the bonus of never having to go to the store after a storm and finding it sold out.
4. Prescription drugs
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As they say, your mileage may vary here. Depending on your insurer, you may be able to get a 90-day supply of medication either at your local pharmacy or via a mail-order service. The copay for these refills may be lower than it would be for three 30-day refills.
Even if you don’t have insurance, or if you opt to pay the non-insurance price instead of your copay, you can get a 90-day supply of many generic drugs for less …….