9 Purchases You Should Never Buy in Bulk

Don’t fall into the “more is better” trap. These items have a shorter shelf life than you think, so it doesn’t pay to go big.

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spice rack
via amazon.com


The container might claim the herbs and spices inside don’t expire for one to four years, but that assumes you store them correctly. Moisture and heat from your oven could reach spices stored above the stove, and paprika and chili powder do best in the fridge.

While you won’t get sick from old spices, they could start losing flavor after a year. Buy smaller containers and replace them once the quality declines. Check out these 10 foods you’ve been storing wrong this whole time.

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Believe it or not, liquid bleach has an expiration date. Once open, it only takes about six months for it to become less effective.

Powdered products, though, are a different story. If you keep them in a cool, dry spot, they’ll stay good indefinitely. Opt for one of those, or get a small bottle of generic brand liquid bleach for the best value. Learn these mistakes you keep making when cleaning with bleach.

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Even though they’re stored in the fridge and tend to be loaded with preservatives, condiments won’t last forever. Once you open a jar or bottle, it’s a matter of months until it goes bad. Mayonnaise, for instance, should only be left in the fridge two months after opening, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Ketchup can last closer to six months.

Leave the value-sized bottles at the store and pick up a smaller size for your family.

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The Left Hand Of A Young Female Person Holds A Container With Skincare Cream Over Colored Clean Background
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Skincare Products

Every time you stick your fingers in a tub of skin cream, you introduce germs and increase your risk of contamination. Plus, a lot of skincare products begin losing effectiveness within three to six months. Stock up on the items you go through fast, but go for small pots over big tubs for the products you might not use up.

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Evan Lorne/Shutterstock

Whole Wheat Flour

Flour is a go-to thickening agent for sauces and soups because it attracts water. But that also means it will attract moisture from the air, making it turn musty.

While all-purpose flour can last up to a year, whole wheat and nut flours could go bad in just a couple of months because they contain oils. When these oils degrade, the flour will start to smell funky.

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A dozen eggs at the grocery store will probably cost less per egg than a larger pack from a warehouse club. And unless you’re cooking for a crowd, you probably won’t use up a 36-pack before the three- to five-week expiration date hits, so you’ll end up tossing the extras.

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Aldi employee stocking produce
Courtesy ALDI


Naturally, you should never buy more fruits and vegetables than you’ll use before they spoil. But there’s another reason not to bulk buy: Warehouse clubs tend to keep their prices steady throughout the year, while supermarkets usually slash prices when foods are in season. Here are more food storage guidelines you didn’t know about.

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Coffee skin scrub for spa
Voraorn Ratanakorn / Shutterstock


While ground coffee won’t hurt you even three to five months after its sell-by date, old grinds lose their fresh taste and pleasant aroma. For a mug your barista would approve of, go for small bags that were roasted within a couple of weeks. If you’re looking to buy instant coffee, though, might as well buy a bigger container.

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grocery aisle of cereal


While you can get good deals on cold cereal at warehouse stores, you can often find even better options at grocery stores. If you wait until it goes on sale at the supermarket, you’ll probably save money from a bulk box. Next, read about these 13 things to stop buying that’ll save you tons of cash.

Sources: eatbydate.com, eatthis.com, kiplinger.com, moneycrashers.com, wholegrainscouncil.org

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest