Grocery shopping in bulk can save renters lots of money. It can also get you more toilet paper than you thought you’d ever need (you’ll use it … trust us). The larger quantity of an item you purchase, the lower the price per unit, which can save you some serious dough.

[Should I Buy in Bulk?]

Here are a few tips for when you plan to buy in bulk:

Make a Plan

Warehouse grocery stores can be intimidating, so have a plan of action. Make a list of what you plan to buy. Try to write down almost everything you need and leave room in your budget for those spur-of-the-moment purchases.

Only Purchase What You Need

Even if something is a good deal, it doesn’t mean you have to purchase it. Yes, we know theres a great deal on that 20-pack of creamed corn, but it if your family doesn’t eat it then the money will be wasted. Instead of eating creamed corn every day for a week, stick to staples like regular corn, which can be used in many dishes from salad to soup.

[Meal Planning: Choosing the Right Ingredients]

Think Long Term

If there is a great price on something, think of the product in the long term. Something nonperishable like toilet paper is a perfect item to buy. If you have a family full of carb-lovers, buy those extra loaves of bread if you can use it all before it goes bad. Just think about your life and how long it takes you and everyone else in your household to consume goods and try to not buy things that will go to waste.

Calculate the Savings

Go ahead, bring a calculator and notepad with you to the warehouse store. Get the price per unit of an item and cross reference it with the price at a regular store. This helps you learn if the discount is really a good one.

Avoid Overspending

Throughout your shopping trip, you should be doing a mental (or calculator) count of what you are purchasing. Make sure nothing goes over your spending limit. If you have gone over your budget, swap something out or simply put an item back. I know that 40-pack of pop-tarts looked good at the time, but come on … let’s stick to what we need.

Check Out The Online Counterpart

Before you head to a warehouse grocery store, check out its online counterpart. See what items it has and cross-price comparison. Additionally, you’ll be able to see if the store offers online ordering and delivery, which may be a great way to save on goods AND gas.

See What’s Offered at Grocery Stores

Don’t forget to browse around regular grocery chains to see what bulk items are offered. Some stores have bulk bins of dry ingredients like coffee beans and legumes.