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Depending on what kind of buyer you are, you might have a well-stocked kitchen pantry with Costco-sized refills of the things you, your roommates, or your family typically need month to month.
If you’re like the rest of us, though, you know all too well what it’s like to realize you’re out of paper towels only after the spill or shampoo while in the shower.
For whatever reason — an appreciation of suspense, a distaste for routine, or an unwillingness to part with more money than we absolutely need to — an overwhelming amount of us don’t buy the things we habitually need in advance.
Some of us simply can’t afford to buy more than we absolutely need, and end up missing out on savings in the long term. And some of us don’t have the space to buy everything in bulk. But if you’re going to need new razor cartridges, shaving cream, Advil, or laundry detergent on a semi-frequent basis, it makes sense for peace of mind, convenience, and your savings to take those re-ups off your monthly plate.
You’ve got enough unpredictable things to adapt to in life, why not take care of the chores you can already anticipate? Why, from a logistical standpoint, would you use your mental energy on the same things month to month, year to year?
Shopping ahead means you can do it at leisure, or even pick things up on sale if you want to be hyper-efficient.
Things like razor replacements are also much cheaper when you buy them online rather than in a store (which are notoriously priced by location). In fact, services like Amazon’s Subscribe & Save actually reward you for thinking ahead. You can save a couple dollars on an item’s already cheap online price just by setting up recurring shipments of things you already know you’ll need. Plus, it saves you a trip to the store.
For me, the irrational concern is always: But what if I want something different? In that case, though, it’s really easy to cancel.
Just buy them now. Buy the batteries, the paper towels, the hand soap replacement, the bottle opener, and the bobby pins. Throw them in your cart and stop wasting your time and save yourself the unnecessary anxiety. Otherwise, you might wind up walking around trying to recount that mental list of things you need until you forget or you learn to live around it. Do away with the suspense and see a Stephen King movie with the money you save, instead.
Chances are you might read through here and realize you’re actually out of one of these right now:
You may or may not have little aches and pains every day, but when any pain hits, it’s the most inconvenient time for you to haul out to buy pain killers and then wait for relief. Grabbing a few now to stock in a well-known place in your home will save you time, money, and unnecessary inconvenience and pain.
Advil Pain Reliever/Fever Reducer, 40-Count, $6.49
Perhaps the #1 thing your roommates will stave off on buying because they’re convinced they got it the last time. If you don’t have a dishwasher, you don’t want to resort to cluttering up your sink space with plates and bowls, so you’ll have to head out for this in a limited (and perhaps inconvenient) time frame.
Dawn Dish Soap, Non-Concentrated Dishwashing Liquid, 25 Fl Oz, $2.41
Like paper towels, these seem to be the sly culprits of household shortages, likely because you begin with so many rolled around each other. Once you get low, it pays to just pick up a new box immediately. You’re definitely going to need them, and ordering ahead of time will save you a 9 p.m. run to a gas station with wet hair to grab some. Or using a makeshift plastic bag in one corner of the kitchen.
Hefty Strong Large Trash Bags, 30 Gallon, 56 Count, $12.99
Nothing is more demoralizing in the morning than scraping the bottom of your coffee container and not getting enough to make a full cup. Plus, you’ll likely spend about the same on a coffee from Starbucks in the morning to replace this one as you would on a big container of ground coffee. It might feel cost-effective to wait until the last second, but it’s actually not.
Folgers Classic Roast Ground Coffee, $6.99
You don’t want your canine eating human food or going hungry, so save yourself an inconvenient trip to the store and paying way too much for a bag of dog food at the gas station and stock up when you see you’re getting anywhere near low. This one might be a good candidate for Subscribe & Save.
Taste of the Wild, Canine Formula, $48.99
These things last forever, but when you’re trying to roll the bottom of the toothpaste to get the very last out of the tube, it’s time to ditch it, grab the extra you keep in the cabinet, and move on with your life.
Colgate Total Whitening Toothpaste, 2 Count, $4.96
One thing you don’t want to fork over money for last-minute, at the mercy of whatever store is closest to your destination, and one thing you will certainly be willing to pay too much for at the right moment.
Gillette Endurance Antiperspirant, $7.10
Mistakes and accidents happen, and you’ll want to be prepared when they do. Even if you just get blisters from walking to work, you can cut down on a lot of pain and inconvenience for yourself for a long time (280 are in here) for a little over $10. You won’t regret it.
Band-Aid Brand Comfort-Flex Adhesive Bandages, 280 Count, $11.17
It’s somehow the one thing that you always assume will be in your fridge and almost never actually is. Pick up a canister of it so the next time you make pasta on a whim there’s no apprehension opening the fridge door.
Kraft Grated Parmesan Cheese, 24 oz, $11.87
Nail polish remover
Everybody needs it (before work, before an interview, before simply switching up a color), and virtually no one has it within reach. Instead of having to resort to other (less helpful, fast, or appealing) methods, why not grab a bottle and never think about it again for the next two years? Those are big bottles.