Packing up our house and simplifying our life in order to prepare for this next year of basically living out of a suitcase has been a good reminder for how little material things we need. Things that we like and make life easier are great, don’t get me wrong. But in terms of need, that list has narrowed significantly.
Which brings me to a topic that has long bothered me. And that topic is Costco. Or Sam’s. Or just buying things in bulk in general.
To my understanding, there are only two reasons to go to a “buy in bulk” place:
- You need to throw a party/gathering/social function for a large group of people.
- You have a very large family.
(I guess very large family could be extended to, “you have many house guests for an extended period of time”.)
Outside of being in a situation where the immediate demand for a certain (food) item is great, it does not make sense to buy in bulk because demand will always increase to fit the supply. I don’t believe this is something we do on purpose necessarily, it just happens. I do this too. Oh, I’ll buy the giant thing of shampoo and then use a ton every time I wash my hair because I have a lot. And then I realize now that two of us have managed to survive with 2 little hotel shampoo bottles for two weeks somehow. The idea that one will “save money” by buying in bulk is a false promise because you’ll just use more to offset what savings you might have had.
If you buy more, you’ll use more. Otherwise, you’ll waste it. And then you definitely won’t be saving money.
So, go to Costco if you like to buy things or you use a lot of something, but don’t go to Costco to save money. If you really want to save money, use less.
I’m reminded of this fact when I travel, like when I see how others conserve items. Have you ever seen two girls split a napkin in half? The Costco solution would have been to just go buy 20,000 napkins in bulk for cheaper. But then I guarantee you, with knowledge of the lurking napkin goldmine, no one would have felt the need to split any napkins in half to use less.
Do you go to Costco or the like regularly? Do you see things differently?