Even though buying bulk (Costco, Sam’s Club) may not always render you the lowest price, it will keep you stocked and away from the stores. The less time you spend in the stores each month/week, the better chance you have at keeping to budget.
I purchased a ridiculous amount of sponges at Costco last year. I could have waited for sales (Costco did have an in-house coupon on them) and purchase them in smaller amounts, but since we have no dishwasher and use sponges constantly, it seemed like the best idea. Maybe not the best bargain price, but having them in bulk means that I don’t have to worry about having to make a special run to Walmart (the closest store to us) because we’re out a sponge.
Like I said back in this post (Using Scissors to Save Money), I cut each sponge in half, which also maximizes my dollar.
The smaller size makes it easier for little hands to hold (dishes are one of the kid’s rotating chores). I’ve been doing this for so long that a full-sized sponges feels foreign in my hands. I prefer the smaller size.
Other items I try to stock: toilet paper, laundry detergent (I wait for sales on this), toothpaste, toothbrushes (can get for almost free), deodorant and other toiletries (sales and coupons)