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Buying grocery items in bulk seems like the smartest thing to do if you’re looking to save money. However, it’s not always cost effective to spend on more than you need, nor it is always safe to store food and other items for too long. Unless you have a giant family that runs through resources really fast, buying too much of the wrong item at one time can actually prove to be wasteful of both money and space. To avoid making a costly mistake, check out our list of things you shouldn’t be buying in bulk.
How Long Does Laundry Detergent Last
1. Cleaning Agents
As with skincare products, cleaning agents like laundry/dishwashing detergent and bleach lose their effectiveness over time — and this applies whether you’re purchasing liquid or powdered versions! Good Housekeeping reported that laundry detergent only lasts for six months to a year in a cool, dry place.
How Long Does Sunscreen Last
2. Skincare Products
Yes, you might use your skincare products rather quickly, especially if you’re using them everyday. However, opened creams and lotions as well as body washes and sunscreens lose their effectiveness over time. For example, a bottle of opened sunscreen (especially if you’ve taken it to the beach with you and it’s endured high heat) might only last three months in your bathroom cabinet. While it may be a steal price wise, it might not make sense to stock up for summers to come.
How Long Do Almonds Last
3. Nuts and Seeds
While nuts and seeds are some of the most nutrient-packed snacks you can find, it’s not wise to buy them in overwhelming quantities. Firstly, you’re only eating approximately 1/2 cup of nuts or seeds per serving, so how long will it take to really go through three-pound bag? The natural oils in nuts and seeds, just like in brown rice, cause them to turn rancid relatively quickly.
How Long Do Condiments Last
It might seem like buying items like ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise and salad dressings in bulk would be a good idea, but in reality, that’s not necessarily the case. These items can absolutely last for a while in storage, but it’s another story once they’ve been opened. According to the Food Keeper Consumer Guide to Food Quality and Safety, unopened ketchup will last a year in the pantry and six months after opened and refrigerated.
How Long Does Olive Oil Last
5. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
While many other vegetable cooking oils can last in storage for a while, olive oil isn’t one of them. According to the North American Olive Oil Association, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) should only be saved in a cool, dark place for about three months after opening. Considering that bulk EVOO is sold in three-liter quantities at bulk chains, it’s worth it to consider whether or not you can actually use it all so fast.
How Long Does Beer Last
Unlike wine, beer does not get better with age. While it may seem like a good idea to stock up on beer when you’re having a party or Super Bowl is coming up, be sure you don’t overbuy. Beer Connoisseur magazine reported that beers with less alcohol can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three months, while beers with a higher alcohol content can be stored between four and five months.
How Long Do Supplements Last
7. Supplements and Over-the-Counter Medications
We know you're dedicated to your new year's resolutions, and the temptation to buy all your supplements at your next trip to Costco is real. However, it’s not always wise to purchase supplements, as well as any other over-the-counter medications in bulk. For example, a probiotic supplement isn’t going to last very long if you think about it. There’s live bacteria in those capsules! Overexposure to heat and air can taint the quality of your supplements and medications, which would make them less effective. If you want to save money on these, you’re better off waiting until the smaller quantities go on sale at your local drugstore.
How Long Do Spices Last
For the most part, spices can last quite long in the spice rack. However, most people don’t know that spices do get stale and lose their fresh taste after about six months. For things that you use all the time like table salt and pepper, it’s OK to buy in bulk because you’re likely to run out quicker. For other spices that you only use for a select few recipes, it’s better not to buy large quantities that you’ll end up having to throw away.
How Long Does Coffee Last
If you really love your morning cup of joe, don’t sell it short by using coffee beans or grinds that have been stored and exposed to air, robbing them of their taste. Some experts even claim that the best cup of coffee comes from beans that have been harvested two weeks before brewing. That might be a stretch, but the fresher your coffee, the better.
How Long Does Brown Rice Last
10. Whole Grains
If you’re on the health-food train and are tempted to go out and buy your quinoa and brown rice in bulk, you might want to think again. Because whole grains still have their oil composition (which is removed from more processed grains such as white rice), they are likely to turn rancid more quickly and spoil. The longest you should be keeping whole grains in storage is six months, so make sure you’re only buying what you’ll use.