With the rising cost of groceries, many shoppers are looking for ways to save money at the checkout.
Some say that buying in bulk may be the solution, but experts caution that it may not always be the best option.
Trish Rogers is buying more, to try to save money.
“I try to plan ahead, and honestly, it saves money in the long run and fewer trips to the grocery store,” Rogers says.
She got a great deal on cat litter by buying multiple jugs. One jug was $8.99, but she bought two for $12.00.
“If you’re going to be using the product often, I think it’s worth it to buy it,” says Rogers. “Because you can save two or three dollars.”
However, for some shoppers, they aren’t interested in the “buy more, save more” tactics and say people end up overspending.
“They come into the grocery store hungry and they leave full, too full. Because they buy more than they need,” shopper James Greig says.
Karina Delle Palme, another shopper, adds, “Whatever I need for tonight, I won’t need for tomorrow, and I eat it tonight, and then I go back the next day. Just because I feel like I save a little bit more money in that regard than it would say buying it in bulk.”
Grocery stores have been offering these types of bulk deals for years.
For example, this week, Metro offers two bags of Lays chips for $7, saving shoppers $1.98.
At Walmart, three boxes of Ritz crackers go for $7, saving shoppers $1.34.
At the Real Canadian Superstore, buying two or more loaves of bread brings the price down to $3.00 each, whereas one loaf alone is $3.29.
At Loblaws, you can get two bottles of Palmolive dish soap for $5.50, saving shoppers $1.48 (regular price $3.49 each).
Sylvain Charlebois, director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University and a professor of food distribution, cautions that bulk buying may not be the best solution for everyone.
“Getting people to buy too much food could actually end up costing you more for two reasons. You may actually be paying more, but also you’ll be wasting more as well.”
Those food waste dollars can add up. It’s the largest cost to most households.
Buying things you can freeze, canned food, or non-perishables like toilet paper is the safest way to save money on bulk items to avoid throwing away money.
“Most stuff I freeze, so it’s ready. Like Loblaws lasagna, just throw it in the freezer. So it’s good forever,” says Bob Cassidy.
Chris Blouin, another shopper, adds, “I usually keep everything that I buy and use it for whenever I need it. And try to use everything and try not to waste as much as possible.”
For Trish Rogers, she says she will take bulk deals whenever she can.
“I tend to do it on products that don’t spoil quickly,” Rogers said. “And of course, it saves money in the long run.”