See How Broke Kenyans SAVE Money Buying in Bulk at Affordable Wholesalers

Last Updated on 17 February 2022 by Gertrude

You’re broke, a low-income earner and need to save money buying some things that you run out of often is a smart money decision.

There are affordable and cheap wholesale distributors all over Kenya that sell in bulk to retailers and individuals.

If you are like me hating on going to shopping malls/ supermarkets or where you shop, you know buying in bulk helps save time and money.

Why buy a 25 shillings tube of toothpaste when you can buy a dozen at 190 or less and you don’t have to think of toothpaste the whole year?

Bulk buying is smart buying only when you buy things you need and when money is low.

Buying in bulk helps you save on transport and waste.

When running on a tight budget it’s even more important to buy in bulk to help you save money.

Goods sold wholesale are always cheaper hence helping you save money. 

Does bulk shopping save money, you ask?

When you’re broke and wondering how to save money, it’s best to buy cash rather than on credit from the corner stores.

We all know how those corner store owners love to gossip about customers than buy on credit.

I bought wholesale or in bulk when running my mandazi business.

And I learnt a few things from buying in bulk, I saved a lot of money which made me a ton of money in my mandazi business. 

This article will open your eyes to the first step to wise spending when your income is low.

You will also learn what to buy and what not to buy in bulk.

Buying in bulk doesn’t mean skipping on your favourite meals like meat.

In another exciting article, I will teach you how I preserved perishable meals like meat and vegetables without a fridge because I bought them in bulk for fear of running out and I didn’t have a refrigerator.

What are the Benefits of Buying in Bulk?

Reduce waste 

The waste arising from the packaging of groceries gets reduced.

Plus buying in bulk means not having too much every trash day depending on how much fresh produce you consume each week. 

Reduce transport 

When you’re broke, having money for transport daily to go shopping isn’t there.

Buying bulk helps you reduce the headache of going to and from the grocery shop. 

Cheaper / cost effective 

Buying in bulk only becomes cost-effective or cheaper when you buy things you need.

This also means knowing how to use what you buy and encouraging your kids not to overuse it because it’s in abundance. 

Buy what you need – you get creative 

Having a limited budget, you don’t get extras to spend on things like soda, beer or cigarettes.

You keep within your budget helping to force you to become creative with your purchases. 

Saves time 

I hate going to shop every day, I’m that lazy so I’d rather buy things in bulk rather than visit the local shop or kibanda all the time. 

You also find yourself saving time because some shops are too crowded or the time you spend going to the shop could be used for something like cleaning or organising or relaxing. 

Profitable 

Yes, it is profitable to buy in bulk.

Have you ever lived the life of spending money daily?

Like buying a 10 shillings cooking oil, 10 shillings sukuma wiki, toothpaste ya 25, mafuta taa ya 5 and you buy these things every day?

How does it feel spending time going to and from the grocery store?

You end up having debt in people’s shops.

But if you budget your earnings, whether 2500 or less a month by buying those things that disturb you in bulk, you end up saving or having a profitable pocket. 

Lessons I Learnt and Learn Bulk Shopping

The lessons I learned about bulk buying include:

  1. I became quick in simple Mathematics.

We may hate school but the 1+1 and 1-1 they taught becomes beneficial when buying in bulk.

Why? You learn to calculate the cost per litre or kilogram of items you need.

For example, if a 10-litre Elianto cooking oil costs 3950 shillings and a 5 litres Elianto costs 2950, do buy the 10-litre oil makes sense?

You spend more on the 10-litre cooking oil now but save a lot later. For example, 2950 by 2 isn’t cost-effective at all.

This calculation also goes for soap or anything on your shopping list.

I learnt, the bigger the item, the cheaper it is. So I end up picking the bigger item. Just bring the Maths action into play quickly.

Now, if I purchase a 20-litre cooking oil today, it lasts me a whole year, not kidding. I use lots of cooking oil when preparing chips for my kids. 

2. You become a window shopper and know what wholesale shop sells what and how prices compare

3. Don’t bulk shop to try. 

Bulk shopping requires you to know about a product before buying it.

You cannot go buy Elianto cooking oil in bulk without ever using it.

Buying in bulk doesn’t mean buying things because they’re sold in bulk then later for wasting. 

4. Do a chama where you give each other or share some of the products to avoid rotting or getting mould. 

I don’t have any chamas so whatever I buy in bulk, I ensure it doesn’t expire or rot or I have enough storage space.

Chamas where you give food to each other is the best ones when it comes to saving on items you bought but realise you don’t need.

It takes a lot of trial and error to buy in bulk. 

5. Do read instructions for storage. 

I bought a 10kg bag of rice because it’s the staple food in our house.

The hot weather we live in in Mombasa doesn’t allow for food to get stored in sacks or even in clear plastic buckets.

The rice started having worms and we had to sift through that rice.

We saved the rice but what we could think of while eating is, we have eaten lots of protein worms and how can we avoid that?

Don’t buy anything in bulk without knowing or asking how to store it properly without wasting or throwing away.

6. Don’t buy what you don’t need 

Bulk shopping means spending a lot of money upfront, don’t visit that wholesale shop without a list.

Go in there and shop for what you need. If you’re at the store and salivate for something not on your list and you need it, note it down for next time.

Or don’t write it then and there, if you remember it after a few days, then, it’s something you need.

If you don’t, that’s just our human greed leading you, leave it. 

7. Don’t buy perishables 

I buy pasteurised (milk in ‘carton’ like packaging lasts longer than pasteurised milk in the plastic PVC paper) milk in bulk, meat and chicken in bulk and sometimes sausages if I am going to bake pizza.

I also buy eggs in bulk and if my mum has chickens, she sells her eggs to me at wholesale price. 

If you’re buying perishables or food that rots easily, ensure you have storage ideas or you don’t mind freezing to preserve your food.

I don’t freeze or refrigerate eggs at all.

I don’t buy sausages but once in a while because I hate spending time deep-frying things plus we love to eat as healthy as possible.

And because my kids don’t ask about sausages, these days, I afford to go grocer shopping with them, they don’t ask. 

8. Bulk buying helps you become appreciative of what you have and learn to use your items without wasting

9. I stop thinking about what I don’t have and focus on what I have

After a shopping spree and spending money on what you need, you feel a sense of relief and your worry stops.

The moment I freed my mind of things, I felt an inner peace and my ideas on how to make more money kept getting clearer.

Business Benefits for Buying in Bulk

Saves money 

Cheap products for customers 

Selling out 

Does Buying in Bulk Save Money? The Pros

You get more 

Buying in bulk every time means getting more. Getting more means saving yourself money for something else. 

Never run out 

Yes, I can buy toothpaste for a whole year, soap for the whole year and meat supply for the whole year.

I never run out of food.

But since coming into money, I shop every month for food.

God is awesomely good, right? 

Go green 

Since you buy in bulk, it means not visiting the store or having a lot of food waste, that’s awesome for the environment. 

Prepared for emergencies 

Do you know how happy a single parent is when they are prepared for eventualities like food shortage?

This is another reason why I started buying in bulk, so that my kid and I, nowadays, kids and I don’t borrow anyone anything.

I thank God for how far He has brought us where we don’t worry about food anymore.

Buying in bulk helps you have peace of mind.

After sleeping hungry for a week, I can tell you, there’s nothing that kills faster than living in a house with a child and no food. 

Cons of Bulk Buying When Broke

No variety 

The downside of buying in bulk is never getting a variety.

If you want variety then it means going the retail route.

For example, in wholesale, they don’t sell the 20-litre Elianto cooking oil, but they sell 1-litre Elianto dozen for a cheaper price.

You either get 12 litres or buy the ‘’brick’ cooking oil which I don’t love.

Solid cooking oil is even cheaper.

The choice in bulk shopping is limited depending on where you buy. 

Storage becomes an issue

If you are like me, the size of the house mattered no matter how broke I was.

I know, bad business decisions, hahaha.

But, if you buy in bulk ensure you have storage space.

If you don’t your goods will get mouldy or won’t last you long.

Buy in bulk if you know how to store your products. 

Big means overuse 

Sometimes when I have in excess, it becomes easier to overuse.

For example, I may end up using a lot of toothpaste whereas if I bought in small sizes, I use a little.

I stopped buying toothpaste in bulk because it fell in the overuse category.

Get disciplined and teach your kids to be disciplined on how they use what you buy. 

You may never buy sale by date items 

Since discovering the wholesale division in Gilani’s supermarket in Nakuru, I went crazy in there.

It’s easy to get taken over you forget to check the expiry date of a lot of items.

Even though you discover something new, ensure you check the expiry dates for products you buy.

You don’t want to spend time throwing your items out, that’s a pain. I stopped food-wasting ever since I left my parent’s house. 

You spend a lot of money upfront 

Yes, though I spent a lot of money upfront, it saved me whole more money each year.

I only stepped out of the house to buy vegetables and even that was once a week or once every two weeks.

Get prepared to spend money but save your time later on.  

What are the Great Products to Buy in Bulk?

Sugar 

Salt 

Oatmeal 

Cereals 

Cheese 

Meats that last longer like chicken, pork and steak 

Olive oil 

Alcohol, I don’t advise you to spend your money on non-helpful foods/drinks 

Deodorant 

Light bulbs 

Vanilla extract 

Razors 

Nuts 

Pasta 

Bottle water 

Honey 

Condoms 

Mason jars – I get mason jars by using coconut oil 

Bath sponge 

Toilet paper 

Paper towel – I use kitchen towels

Toothpaste 

Socks 

Underwear 

Shower gels 

Soap

Shampoo 

Pads 

Lotions 

Handwash liquid 

Vaseline 

Band-aids – accidents happen all the time 

Rice 

Dry beans 

Canned goods – I don’t love canned food because some have additives and they aren’t tasty. Do you eat canned foods? 

Diapers – instead of buying diapers because my second child went through diapers like her milk, I started sewing cloth diapers and selling them. 

Cooking oil 

Beverages – I buy sodas in bulk because they’re my guilty pleasure. Nowadays I drink more water. 

Napkins – I sew reused table napkins 

Laundry detergent 

Pet food – as we got more money, we got a pet. We buy a whole sack of food but since our pet kept getting older, we started giving her home food. She got fatter and happier. 

Storage products 

Vitamins 

Batteries 

Pencils/pens/books/office supplies  – I write and wrote a lot with pen and pencil and book, my sister laughs at me that I constantly sit for KCSE, so we buy lots of books, pencils and other stationeries. 

Dishwashing soap

Tips for Buying in Bulk to Help Save Money

Shopping list 

Always carry your shopping list, your shopping list is your guide that helps you not wander away from your budget. 

Focus on what you run out the most 

I hate eating food without meat. Since most of our food is rice and pasta, we buy lots of rice and pasta then lots of meat. 

Buy from a budget shop/wholesale shop 

Yes, buying wholesale in Nakuru means queuing inside Gilanis Supermarket or Kanini Enterprises to buy products at a cheaper price.  Don’t buy from Naivas when you want to buy wholesale. 

What are the Products to Never Buy in Bulk?

Milk 

Eggs 

Meat depends on how you intend on storing your meat. I deep freeze my meat depending on how I portion them. 

Fresh produce, I mostly buy tomatoes, spinach from the nearby kibanda. 

Snacks. I buy lots of snacks for my kids and tell them to use them wisely. 

Ketchup 

Mayo and Mustard, I instead buy lots of tomatoes and make our own ketchup by following instructions from YouTube. 

Spices – my youngest child doesn’t love spice in her food, so, these days, we eat our food how it is. And for some reason, my stomach doesn’t love spices anymore. 

Related Resources of Benefits of Buying in Bulk

Start a Warehouse Business 

How to Save Money on Groceries and Cut Family Expenses But Eat Healthily 

Frugal Living Ideas to Try This Year in Kenya 

Eating Healthy on a Budget When Broke as a Single Mum in Kenya 

How to Preserve Food Without a Fridge for Broke Kenyans [Ideas Saving You Money]

How to Save Money on Electricity Every Month in Kenya

FAQs on Benefits of Shopping in Bulk

  1. Why should consumers buy in bulk? 

Buying in bulk helps you save money. 

2. Is buying in bulk better for the environment? 

YES, buying in bulk is good for the environment. 

3. At what point does buy in bulk stop being wise spending? 

Bulk buying stops becoming wise spending when

Buying more than you need or having a scarcity mentality.

Scarcity mentality means buying things you don’t want but buying for the sake of it as if they’re running away.

I know how scarcity mentality affects one especially if you grew up in a family where your parents get you everything then suddenly you sleep hungry for a week!

You may get thrown into a scarcity mentality space. 

If you don’t have storage space, don’t buy in bulk. 

Rise cost of products due to demand

Sometimes, some products like cooking oil, rice flour keep spiking in price which can be discouraging for you when buying in bulk. It feels like you save only 10 or 5 shillings. 

Sometimes some bulk items aren’t always on sale

But if you live in Nakuru, wholesale items are always on sale. 

4. What does it mean to buy in bulk? 

Dictionary.com defines bulk shopping as the purchase at one time and at a reduced price of a large quantity of a particular product. 

5. How many is bulk? 

Bulk is large quantities of one product at a time. 

I started buying bulk when I was broke.

I figured I could save money and time for going to the supermarket.

Also, I wanted to concentrate on working from home instead of walking to town which was more than 5 kilometres.

I had to save every penny.

Sometimes, I feel like I shopped wholesale because of the scarcity mentality.

Because I slept hungry once, it felt like hunger would happen anytime soon.

My income wasn’t stable yet so I got scared every time when something wasn’t enough.

Surely hunger or lack of something can drive you to do something you never thought about.

I prefer to shop once or twice a month for food (meat, tomatoes, spinach, mixed vegetables). enough for two weeks/whole month depending on how hungry we are.

I rarely go to vibanda (corner store).

Shopping in bulk helps me save time on transport and money.

I still buy the big items like cooking oil, pasta, rice and other items in bulk.

Before I couldn’t afford a refrigerator because I wanted to save money on electricity so I used to buy meat as a luxury item.

But as I got more money in freelance writing, I never wanted to pay more for electricity I adapted some natural preservation methods.

It took time but I still was able to preserve meat and some vegetables and still get them in fresh conditions.

It was at the early inventions of internet usage in the country but I still read a lot of blogs to understand how preservation worked. 

I will discuss how to save electricity and food money in the following blog posts.

Have you ever been broke and wondered how to have enough food to take you through the month or a week?

If you love buying in bulk or want to start saving money, comment below why buying in bulk appeals to you and why you started buying in bulk. 

What other money-saving tip would you love for me to talk about apart from buying in bulk?

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