With their tempting prices and extensive product selections, it’s easy to become distracted when shopping in bulk at wholesale stores like Costco, Sam’s Club, or BJ’s. Buying in bulk has long been considered a practical way to save on household expenses. However, exercising discretion in what you choose to buy in bulk is important.

To make the most of your savings on bulk purchases, here are 12 household essentials you should never buy in bulk.


pasta and bread
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Bread has a relatively short shelf life, remaining fresh for just a few days. While it is possible to store some bread and baked goods in the freezer to extend its lifespan, the reality is they never quite retain their original taste and texture after thawing. So unless you plan to use a large amount of bread for a gathering or large household, it’s wise to opt for smaller portions and purchase only what you’re confident you’ll consume in the upcoming week.


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Milk can easily spoil – in as little as a few days after it has been opened. And if you’ve ever had the unfortunate experience of tasting spoiled milk, you likely want to steer clear of large milk containers.

Cooking Oil

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Purchasing cooking oil in bulk may seem like a good idea, but it’s worth noting that it typically has a shelf life of just six months. Unless you’re frying food daily, you might find using up a gallon of vegetable or canola oil a bit challenging.


vegetables celery apple cucumber
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Unless you have a large family or plan to entertain friends, buying fresh produce in bulk is not the best option since the majority of produce items tend to lose their freshness within a week, and some can even spoil in just a few days.


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If you don’t use eggs frequently, be cautious about buying them in bulk. Eggs usually have a ‘best before’ date of a few weeks from the purchase date. While it might seem cheaper to get a large quantity, it’s better to avoid buying them in bulk to avoid spoiling.

Skincare Products

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Contrary to what many think, beauty products aren’t designed to last indefinitely. Cosmetics like eyeshadow, foundation, lipstick, and mascara gradually deteriorate over time and can become a breeding ground for bacteria. Bacteria can begin to grow in beauty products as soon as they’re opened or used. To minimize waste, it’s a good idea to choose smaller sizes that you’ll be able to use up relatively quickly.

Spices and Dried Herbs

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Most spices have a ‘best by’ date – for good reason. Once they reach this date, spices and dried herbs lose their potency, so they likely won’t have the same flavor and taste you remember. While that 16-ounce spice container might seem like a great deal, it may not deliver the same fresh taste and flavor after sitting in your cabinet for a year or two.


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Regardless of how delicious cheese may be, unless you plan to share it or consume it daily for an extended period, it’s wise to pass on the oversized pack.


ketchup and condiments
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Condiments like mustard or ketchup tend to remain fresh for approximately six months once opened, whereas products like mayonnaise and certain jams typically retain their freshness for just about a month or two after opening. It’s best to avoid buying these items in bulk. 

Brown Rice

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Brown rice has a shorter shelf life compared to white rice and can go rancid more quickly. It’s best to purchase only what you can use up within a couple of months and replenish as needed.


flour in bag
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Unless you do a ton of baking, getting a 50-pound bag of flour isn’t the most practical choice. Flour tends to absorb moisture and can go rancid.

Ground Coffee

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When it comes to enjoying ground coffee, freshness is key. While coffee doesn’t exactly spoil, aged coffee grounds tend to lose their rich flavor and delightful aroma. For optimal results, it’s advisable to consume coffee grounds within a few weeks to a few months after they’ve been roasted and opened. Unless you’re an avid coffee drinker, it’s best to pass on the large bag of coffee from the bulk aisle.

14 Incredible Ways to Repurpose Used Coffee Grounds

coffee grounds in spoon
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Most people toss out used coffee grounds after making their morning cup of coffee, but what you might not know is that these grounds can actually be useful in many ways. Here are some ways that you can repurpose coffee grounds.

14 Incredible Ways to Repurpose Used Coffee Grounds

12 Things Savvy Shoppers Always Buy in Bulk

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Buying in bulk is a practical way to reduce household expenses and stick to a budget. The key to maximizing your savings on bulk purchases is understanding what items are worth stockpiling. Here are some household essentials that savvy shoppers often buy in bulk.

12 Things Savvy Shoppers Always Buy in Bulk

20 Surprising Items in Your Kitchen that Need to Hit the Trash Immediately

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The kitchen holds a special place in our homes, serving as a hub for cooking, meals, and gatherings. However, even though it’s the center of our daily lives, it’s easy for clutter, disarray, and items that have outstayed their welcome to accumulate in this space. Check out the 12 items in your kitchen that should be thrown away immediately.

12 Surprising Items in Your Kitchen that Need to Hit the Trash Immediately

Don’t Trash Those Old Books. Here’s 10 Responsible Ways to Get Rid of Them

assortment of books
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Books have the power to transport us, stimulate our minds, and offer meaningful insights.  While books hold value and significance in our lives, for many book lovers, letting go of cherished books can be a sentimental journey. If you’re a book lover facing a stack of books to part with, there’s an environmentally responsible way to handle it. Here are ten responsible and eco-friendly ways to recycle and repurpose your old reading materials, giving new life to the pages and minimizing paper waste.

Don’t Trash Those Old Books. Here’s 10 Responsible Ways to Get Rid of Them

15 Tips on How to Declutter Your Home

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Although clutter can accumulate quickly and easily between you and your life, decluttering can spark immense joy and accomplishment. Here are 15 tips to help you tackle the task of decluttering your home.

15 Tips to Help You Declutter Your Home

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Tamara White is the creator and founder of The Thrifty Apartment, a home decor and DIY blog that focuses on affordable and budget-friendly home decorating ideas and projects. Tamara documents her home improvement journey, love of thrifting, tips for space optimization, and creating beautiful spaces.

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