Saturday, June 15, 2024

I’m a Shopping Expert: 8 Items You Should Never Buy in Bulk at Sam’s Club

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Ah, Sam’s Club. You can save some serious cash on bulk staples — but not everything is meant to be supersized.

If you’re looking to get the most bang out of your bulk bucks, GOBankingRates spoke with shopping experts to find out what to steer clear of when stocking up at one of your favorite superstores. 

Here are the items shopping experts never buy in bulk at Sam’s Club.

Perishable Produce

Vipin Porwal, founder and consumer expert at Smarty, warned: “Unless you’re buying fresh produce for an upcoming party, buying fresh fruits and veggies in bulk is generally a losing proposition for most people. While some cost savings can be significant, and many will want to do their best to try and consume what they buy, fresh produce has a short shelf life and presents additional health risks to keep these items around too long.”

Yeah, those bargain berries and family-pack apples may look tempting, but just make sure you’re going to eat them before they turn into mush.

Bathroom Items With Expiration Dates

According to Renee McBride, a personal finance author at Net Pay Advance, “Unless you have a big family or use these products daily, you’re unlikely to finish them before they expire. Sunscreen, in particular, becomes ineffective after its expiration date, increasing your risk of sunburn, sun damage and skin cancer. So, unless you’re prepping for a toothpaste shortage, skip the bulk buys in this category!”

Slathering on expired sunscreen is basically just asking for a nasty burn. And do you really want to use that 3-year-old toothpaste?


McBride also warned against bingeing on bulk buys of condiments like mayo and ketchup.

“It’s hard to imagine using up almost a gallon before it expires,” she said. “When you throw out expired food, you’re essentially throwing away your money with it.”

Nobody wants a side of fuzzy mold with their fries. Stick to normal-sized bottles so that last quarter cup of ranch doesn’t go to waste.

Gift Card Multipacks (Non-Holiday Times)

“While I love the idea of spending less to get more, multipack gift cards often end up lost or forgotten,” McBride said. “People buy them thinking they’ll save money in the long run, but those cards then tend to sit unused. The holiday season is the only time you’re likely to remember to use or gift them.”

Unless you’re making Santa’s nice list this year, it’s probably not worth stocking up on those gift card multipacks. You’ll likely forget about them until they’re expired or lose them in those kicked-under-the-couch crevices.

Spices and Dried Herbs

These flavorful seasonings can lose their potency pretty quickly, especially in humid environments. Unless you’re a mega chef whipping up spice-filled feasts daily, those bulk bottles will be as bland as unsalted crackers by the time you get halfway through.

Baked Goods  

There’s nothing better than freshly baked bread. But baked goods have a super short shelf life; so, unless you’ve got a crowd to feed, it’s smarter to skip the baker’s dozen deals.

Non-Perishables You Don’t Use Often

Canned goods and paper products may seem like smart bulk buys since they don’t technically expire. But if you don’t use them regularly, you could end up with an overstuffed cabinet of random, dusty clutter. If you don’t have a giant family or a big garage that can fit hundreds of rolls of toilet paper, maybe stick to buying these in more reasonable quantities. 

Cleaning Supplies

While Sam’s Club-sized bottles of cleaners and soaps might seem ideal, some of those heavy-duty formulas can go bad over time. Unless you scrub down the house Cinderella-style everyday, you may not use up those huge jugs before they lose effectiveness.

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