Is stocking up frugal or foolish?

Sam’s Club and other discounters have turned the impulse to stock up into a business model.  The majority of items for sale at these warehouse-like stores are bulk, and club members buy with the hope that they’re saving money over the long run.

The flipside, of course, is overbuying stuff you don’t need or use just because the price looked good. Who of us haven’t asked ourselves:

Are these impulses foolish? They don’t feel foolish, but sometimes I’m not as smart as I should be about these decisions. Would buying these extra iPods or boots just be a sort of hoarding? Would I be bringing more clutter into the house? I don’t know. All I know is that I don’t feel guilty for considering these options — so long as I can afford them.

via When Does It Make Sense to Stock Up? ∞ Get Rich Slowly.

Everybody who shops discount groceries knows that deals don’t last long on the shelves. If you think about stocking up on a good deal too long, it could be gone the next time you come back.

Comments from the Get Rich Slowly blog offer some good advice about stocking up:

  • Electronics are always bad options because technology improvements will almost always make the next model better.
  • Products that cost less than $20 each are good candidates but they have to be at a killer price.
  • Be cautious about products that degrade over time.
  • Be especially careful with food products that are stocked up, because they need to be rotated regularly.
  • Anything that you are confident you could resell at the same price you paid (or more) is worth stocking up on.
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