The Best Things to Buy in Bulk

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Buying in bulk saves money and the plant (usually). Why is it green? Larger sized packages require less wrapping material per ounce than smaller sizes. As for the savings, Wal-Mart (STOCK QUOTE: WMT) boasts on its Web site that the average family of four can pocket $2,000 a year by opting for bulk purchases instead of smaller sizes. That is, of course, assuming nothing goes to waste.

Here are our favorite bulk purchases.

Gift Cards
For a limited time, you can find discounted gift cards at Costco (STOCK QUOTE: COST). For example, five $20 Starbucks (STOCK QUOTE: SBUX) cards, which normally cost $100, are $79.99 (a 20% savings). Two $25 Godiva Chocolate gift cards, a $50 value, are going for $39.99 (also 20% off).

Toothbrushes
Aside from changing brushes every three months, think of how many times an overnight guest forgets to bring a toothbrush, or when you go on a trip and leave your toothbrush at the hotel. A six-pack of Braun Oral B toothbrushes from Amazon.com (STOCK QUOTE: AMZN) sells for $13. Buying six of the same individual toothbrushes would cost close to $15.

Paper Goods
You can never have enough stationary, thank you notes and holiday cards. Crane Paper, an upscale stationary chain, recently ran a sale on bulk purchases, where if you bought 75 pieces of select stationary you got 25 pieces free. Also, one blank thank you card from CVS starts at around 99 cents, versus an 8-pack of blank cards for $5.99, a $3 savings. Target (STOCK QUOTE: TGT) and Wal-Mart also offer creative stationary designs at low prices.

Blank DVDs
Burn all your favorite movies and home videos. A 50-pack of DVD-R’s costs $30 at Staples (STOCK QUOTE: SPLS) or $0.60 each, while a 5-pack costs $11 or $2.20 each.

Cell Phone Minutes
If you’re a chatterbox, then the best possible advice when it comes to cell phone minutes is to round up when in doubt of how much you need. It almost always costs less to over-buy minutes ahead of time, than to go over in a given month. While the per-minute cost within a plan may be five to eight cents, the overage can cost up to 45 cents per minute.

Generic Vodka
Much like the Millionaire Next Door does, pour generic vodka into a Ketel One clear bottle and your guests will never notice the difference. A 1.75L of Popov Vodka costs $13.99 at ShopRite, while the same size of Ketel One runs closer to $40.

Lightbulbs
A single 14-watt mini spiral light bulb from Home Depot (STOCK QUOTE: HD) costs $4, while a pack of four costs $7. Enough said.

Catch Farnoosh and more of her money saving tips on TLC’s new show Real Simple. Real Life. Fridays at 8pm.

Catch more of Farnoosh’s advice on Real Simple. Real Life. on TLC, Friday nights at 8 p.m.

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