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March 04, 2015

Avoid buying these things in bulk

Bigger is not always better

Personal Finance Shopping
03022015_Costco Rick Bowmer/AP

Buying in bulk is not always the most practical way to save money.

Sure, buying in bulk can sometimes save you money, but those giant packages of everyday items at Costco or BJ's are not always the best deal.

It is important to compare the per-unit prices because you’ll often find that smaller packages cost less per unit than supersize containers.

So before you purchase that 3-gallon tub of mayonnaise, consider Kiplinger's list of items you should avoid buying in bulk.

For example, while canned vegetables may seem like a practical bulk buy, the larger cans of vegetables are not always the cheapest. Supermarkets typically mark down the smaller cans. 

Another popular - but maybe not so practical - bulk purchase is that of paper goods like toilet paper. But you may be better off stocking up on these products during supermarket sales rather than at the warehouse club.

For example, a 30-roll pack of Charmin Ultra Soft toilet paper costs $19.98 at Sam’s Club, or about 67 cents per roll. However, 12-roll packages of the same Charmin toilet paper recently were on sale at a Kroger we checked for $5.99, or about 50 cents per roll. That’s a per-roll savings of 25% at the supermarket.

Also among the list of items to avoid buying in bulk are cereal, liquid bleach/detergent, skincare products and spices.

See the full list.