Buying in bulk: How to do it right‍

1-2 mins
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The price of groceries is skyrocketing and all South Africans are feeling the pinch. In January, the food inflation rate was 13.4% – the highest it’s been since 2009. It’s more important than ever to plan how you shop for food and to monitor your spending.

All of us have certain items that show up regularly on the shopping list, like toiletries and pantry staples. You can boost your smart-shopping game (and save!) by identifying your weekly or monthly repeat items and considering their bulk cost. 

But buying in bulk is not always as straightforward as it seems. Here’s what you need to know so you can do it right.

Unit price 

When items are sold in bulk, the price per unit is often lower than if the same item was sold individually. Most items sold in bulk will have the total cost and the unit cost on the price label – even online. Compare the unit cost in bulk to what you’d pay if you just bought one item off the shelf.


Buying in bulk can save you money, but only if you're buying the right quantity. If you buy too much milk, for example, you risk it turning to cheese before you can use it all. You also have to consider your storage space – where are you going to fit that 5kg bag of White Star? That said, you can always make some more space in a kitchen cupboard by selling that blender you never use, or getting rid of that weird cutlery set your auntie gave you in 2013. Marketplace, ka-ching! 

Expiration date

This is crucial, especially for perishable items like food. Check the date and make sure you’ll have enough time to eat all the food you’ve bought in bulk. Otherwise, it will go into the bin or the compost heap and you’ll end up wasting money. 


Buying in bulk doesn't always guarantee quality. If you're buying food, for example, you may find that the quality of the food decreases as the quantity increases.


Not all items are available in bulk, and some items may only be available in bulk at certain times of the year. This can limit your options and make it harder to save.

Comparison shopping

Shop around to determine whether buying in bulk is the best option for you – a quick price check online is often all you need. Don't assume that because an item is sold in bulk it's the best deal!

Do your homework 

Calculating how bulk buying can save you money is much easier if you’re well-acquainted with your budget for groceries and household essentials. Link all your accounts to 22seven so that you can see all your money in one place. Use the budget tool to monitor your grocery spending and to help you stay on track month-to-month. Give it a try! You’ll have grocery shopping sorted in no time.