Big box stores hit their boon during the novel coronavirus outbreak as people flocked to stock up on a lifetime supply of toilet paper and canned foods. But now experts are warning that there are certain items you should *never* buy at warehouse clubs, mainly because they’re just not worth your money. Without further ado:
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Warehouse clubs like Costco, Sam’s Club and BJ’s are a one-stop shop for everything from groceries and home supplies to electronics and even clothing. The quantities are bulk and the prices are discounted. So, if you have a long shopping list, it makes sense to go there and get everything, right?
Well, not so fast.
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While Kiplinger explains that items like toilet paper and certain pantry staples (and even wine!) are a great deal at Costco, there are some items on your list that you should never buy there. Aka, save them for your next trip to the grocery, dollar or big box store–or even order them online. What are they and why?
The first reason not to buy certain items is that you don’t need bulk quantities or you won’t use them before they go bad (duh). The next issue is quality; for some products, the quality that warehouse clubs offer just isn’t up to snuff. Lastly, you’re missing out on the opportunity to use weekly sales and coupons, promo codes, manufacturer coupons, sitewide sales and other incentives offered at competing stores. (Costco and Sam’s Club don’t accept manufacturer coupons!).
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There are three major categories of products to avoid: anything with a name brand (Kellogg’s cereal, Calvin Klein jeans), anything that will expire or go bad before you have the chance to use it (vitamins, over-the-counter medications, spices and even liquid detergents). Lastly, there are the products that you can just get a better deal on elsewhere (diapers, canned goods, toothpaste, razors, etc.)
If you only glean ONE thing from this story it’s that you should never buy bulk just to buy bulk.
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Experts warn that you would be shocked to learn how many items can go bad before the average family of four could even put a dent in them.
The one thing you should NEVER buy is something that you won’t be able to use before the expiration date. Financial experts warn that throwing out groceries is one of the worst things you can do on a monthly basis. With warehouse stores, you’re expanding that concept to other areas–personal care, household items and cleaners, pantry items, medications, and more. You might as well throw dollars bills in the trash!
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Here’s a small sampling of shelf lives for common products that you probably never knew existed:
SPF: Products containing SPF won’t be effective after about two years because SPF degrades over time.
Liquid detergent: Liquid cleaning products tend to lose their efficacy over time.
Over-the-counter medication: Unless you have a medical reason to use it everyday, you’re unlikely to get through that 750-count bottle of Advil before the expiration date.
Dietary supplements: Unless more than one family member is sharing the vitamins with you, they will likely expire before you finish the bottle.