So which items are worth the spend upfront for long-term savings? We did some research and compared the prices of items at local grocers and big box retailers and learned a few things.
While it's worthwhile to splurge at the produce and bakery sections of your local market (where freshness is key), some non-perishables and even dairy items are best bought in bulk.
Check out the slideshow above for nine items to always buy in bulk, and read on for details:
Kitchen staples: Certain more expensive items just taste better than their generic alternatives. Not the case when it comes to daily go-tos like milk and eggs. Quickly scan for an acceptable use-by date and check for cracks, then save.
Meat and poultry: Apart from the few days a month it can be found on special, meat is another favorite mark-up item of the grocery store manager. If your big-box store has a butcher section, and you have the freezer space, stock up on quality cuts there; they often sport the same sticker price seven days a week as your grocer’s final offer price.
Paper products: The long running joke of bulk buying is the mountain of paper towels and toilet rolls bundled at a fraction of the cost of a relatively modest supermarket six-pack. But as they say, there’s truth in humor, and unless you live in a miniscule Manhattan walk-up without any cabinet space, you’ll be better off with the extra bounty.
Batteries: Those small packets of AAs and AAAs at the grocery store check-out sport roughly a 50 percent markup when compared to a bulk purchase.
Medicine: Although we hope you won’t need a gross of cold and flu meds, the larger quantities deliver significant savings. Think about it—your grocer is counting on you to acquiesce to convenience when you’re feeling under the weather, and acquire meds and sustenance at the same time. Planning ahead, even for the not-fun-stuff, will always save you pennies.
Cleaning supplies: From disinfectant to detergent, and all the dirt-busters in between, cleaning supplies tend to be better buys at big-box stores. And if you feel your life cycles from spin to tumble dry almost constantly, take heed—laundry suds and softener can be up to 40 percent cheaper at your supermarket alternative. Just be wary of the gazillion gallon containers, as cleaning agents like bleach lose their effectiveness after six months.
Beverages: Soda selections at big box stores are almost always offered at a discounted price.
Spices: We recently compared the cost of cloves, nutmeg, sea salt and peppercorns at a superstore and a supermarket, and were shocked at the difference—our local grocer was charging upwards of double the cost quoted by the mega-mart.
Basic toiletries: Refilling the soap dispenser? How about shampoo? Don’t do so at the grocery store if you’d like to save a few dimes.
TELL US: Where do you buy in bulk locally?
More from Kitchen Daily:
How to Store Fresh Herbs
Ratatouille and Spring Vegetables
Sneaky Healthy: Mac 'n Cheese With Broccoli
This article is part of Mix It Up, an editorial series created in collaboration with AOL's Kitchen Daily and Huffington Post. It is dedicated to making the lives of mothers easier through articles, videos and slideshows focused on simple and creative solutions to everyday challenges. From healthy recipes to exciting ideas for a more balanced lifestyle, this section aims to become a resource for moms everywhere.