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TheStreet Open House

10 Things You Should Always Buy in Bulk

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- Here's the thing about buying in bulk: If you want to do it, you have to be really committed to it.

You can buy a mega-pack of paper towels at the drugstore on occasion and otherwise just shop normally, but the best bulk deals are to be found at warehouse club stores that require annual membership fees. ( Costco (COST) and Sam's Club, for instance, will cost you $55 and $50 per year, respectively.)

So if you decide to take the plunge and sign up for the membership, you'll want to take full advantage of the best bulk-buying opportunities these stores have to offer. Here, then, are the things you should always aim to buy in bulk.

Meat
Normally perishable goods should be avoided at the bulk store, unless you're feeding one of those enormous families they make reality shows about. But one notable exception is meat, which tends to freeze well. If you eat meat on a regular basis, it makes sense to find it when it's on sale, buy a ton and put it in the freezer -- but be careful to seal and freeze it properly, and don't fool yourself into thinking it will last forever in there.

"I do buy meat if it fits into my meal plan for the month," says Toni House of Save Your Money, Save Your Family. "But secure it like you're supposed to: Once you're opening it up and resealing it, it only lasts about 60 days. If not, it will last six to nine months, but you have to completely take all the air out of it ... If you don't freeze it correctly, it's wasted."

Our tip? Open that package of chicken breasts, separate them into meal-size portions and store them individually in Ziploc bags. You can defrost them as you need them, without any need for resealing or refreezing.

Storage items
When you buy all that meat, you'll need something to store it in. The shopping experts at FatWallet.com point out that it's good to buy storage products such as foil, freezer bags and Tupperware (TUP) in bulk.

As with anything you buy in bulk, just consider your usage. If you use Tupperware sparingly and tend to wash and reuse it, you probably don't need to take up space in your kitchen with a dozen plastic containers. If, on the other hand, you freeze a lot of bulk meat, you'll get a lot of use out of buying a ton of freezer bags.

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