Warehouse stores can save you a lot of money, but the cost can really add up at checkout. Be sure you are buying the products and services that will actually save you money. This is a guide to getting the most out of your warehouse membership, such as Costco or Sam's Club.
I think we will be joining Costco soon since a friend just shared this cost saving information with me. Most people know that prescription drugs are much cheaper there and you don't have to have a membership to access this service. Just tell them at the door that you are going to the pharmacy.
Did you also know that your membership entitles you to get your tires checked for free including putting air in them? Full service gas stations are becoming more and more scarce. In some locations, if you can find one that has air, there is a charge for using the air hose. According to my friend, he recently picked up a nail in a tire causing a slow leak in it. He pulled into the Costco tire center to see if they could check and fix the tire. Here is the best part of all - the cost was zero, Nothing, Nada! He did the same thing recently and pulled into a tire store and it cost him $22.50.
That kind of savings will go far in paying for a membership. If this happens to you, hopefully you'll have your membership and can take advantage of these free services in addition to your shopping savings.
By Sandy from Elon, NC
I don't have Costco membership but a neighbor does. I go with him a little less than once a month.
It offers, hands down, the best price available for certain food items--milk, rice, eggs, chicken, walnuts, pecans is what I buy.
The thing is that those prices for those items are consistently the best I have found.
For produce and other meats, most local grocers offerings, even on a week-to-week basis, are priced lower.
Looking for an automobile is an intriguing proposition but the currently buyers market makes that mostly just an option,
Overall, particularly considering the gasoline price savings, membership fees will certainly pay for themselves. In addition, it seems Costco offers a rebate--2%(?)--to its members payable by it to them annually.
All in all, it seems to be a can't lose proposition.
We do more than 75 percent of our grocery shopping at Costco for just my husband and me, as they have wonderful buyers and everything they sell is top quality. We did our weekly shopping there yesterday and bought an 18 ounce container of blackberries for $3.99, 12 ounces of raspberries for $3.49, and a fourteen count package of large Gala apples for $6.29. Our local grocery stores fruits and vegetables are more expensive and usually tasteless in comparison to what we buy at Costco.
There's something else that's very important at Costco. If you pay for your order with their photo-id American Express card, you get at least 1% back. Gas pays 4%. Our reward for using the card last year came to over $185.00, which we applied to a new set of already-discounted Michelin tires. We use the card when we buy gas at other stations, and to charge internet purchases. If a low-budget family like ours can benefit that much, think what someone with a so-called "average" income could do.
I absolutely love Costco. I have been shopping there for years. By buying in bulk I shaved at least $65 off my monthly shopping bill.
And I only buy items like shampoo, conditioner, etc when they offer the coupon savings a few times a year. I also have the Business Membership so I get a rebate on all my shopping throughout the year. It usually pays for the annual membership and then some. I have friends that don't want to pay the annual membership so they will either go with me or give me their shopping list. It just adds to my rebate.
By joining with other family members and friends we can pool our like needs and share. I do not have the space to store a case of tp or paper towels, but I buy and share the cost per case with others in my group that need this item.
Are you a member of B.J.'S, Costco or Sams Club? If so, try to do your shopping at about 11:30 AM. In the food section, they give out samples of all kinds of interesting new products.
On a recent road trip to Los Angeles, we mapped out beforehand where there were Costcos near the freeway. That way we could refuel our van and ourselves at the same time.
Use your Costco or AAA memberships for discounts on movie tickets. Both offer discounts to members. Check your benefits packages, and you may find that cheap tickets are a perk to having a membership!
Get a co-op group together. Even if it is just one person. Splitting things is a lot more thrifty. Also, it is best if you know your prices. Wholesale is not always cheaper. (01/18/2006)
Go with a list and stick to it RIGIDLY! If you don't, odds on you'll end up spending more money than you want. Also, check the per ounce or per unit price. Sometimes you are getting a "steal of a deal" but other times you are overpaying for an item you could find cheaper at your favorite grocery store. Also, don't forget that you are paying a fee for the privilege of shopping there - add that amount into your total cost as well, even if the yearly fee is only $35 (like here). (01/19/2006)
Know your prices of things you buy at other stores first. If you use coupons at other stores, Sam's isn't always cheaper. Among the things I don't buy at Sam's; Tide, toilet paper, paper towels, some canned goods, foam plates-- with coupons stores are cheaper.
Things I buy at Sam's club; Downey, Clorox 2, Cascade, Cat food, Planters nuts,Hershey's syrup, spices, bakery muffins, cheese, Uncle Ben's rice, Sweet & Low, Ziploc bags, most frozen food,everyday silverware (36 in container), everyday or work jeans, batteries, salsa and nacho chips.
I also keep all my sales slips in my purse, even from years ago, looking over these helps me make a list and to check prices of things that have gone up in price. Sam's really saves me money, but you must have a list and only plan on a few necessities extra.
GOOD LUCK (01/19/2006)
If the only thing I bought at my wholesale club was 1 gallon of milk a week, I would still be saving $.40 on each gallon even if I figured in the cost of my membership onto that gallon of milk. All other savings I had over the year would be "gravy". Some prices fluctuate quite a bit so it is good to have an "eye" for the best unit price, or keep a book of those for reference on staples and weekly purchases. Splitting your membership fee with a friend would save you money and allow them to share the savings with you. Even if they only had you buy milk for them once a week, they would still save money over buying at the local grocery.
BJ's Wholesale has a website that has coupons on it that you can print out. They are member only coupons but sometimes they have coupons to save on your entire order or just regular items. They accept other coupons as well, which can really save you money. But of course as always with the warehouse stores know your prices of items so you know if you are getting a deal or not. (01/20/2006)
I buy my meats at my local wholesale club (Sams). I can buy a six lb tray of 90% lean hamburger for about $1.99 a lb. This is cheaper than my local stores. I bring home the tray, and then cut it into six 1 lb chunks, then freezer wrap them and store them. Sometimes I make 1/2 lb chunks instead, and then use them for things like tacos which don't require as much meat. Also, I buy the pork tenderloin for about $15, I then split into two good size roasts and about six pork steaks. Also, I purchase the Tyson frozen chicken tenderloins in the bag. They are smaller, and you can bake them without defrosting for 30 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees F. With some nuked baked potatoes and a salad, you have a meal. Hope this helps. (01/25/2006)
I love Sam's and Costco. I have memberships at both! I buy everything there. Milk, birthday cakes, wines, meats, veggie burgers, french fries, canned chicken, canned tuna, frozen veggies, orange juice, butter, toilet paper, paper towels, bath bar soap, liquid soap, aspirin, cashews, you name it. It's also a nice, cheap place to take the family out to dinner, LOL. You can't beat the dog/pop for next to nothing! We have two houses, one up north, so I just split everything and have both homes stocked.
I also purchase socks, capris, jeans, shirts, books, whatever I need. I don't like to shop so stocking up once a month suits me just fine!! My time is worth more than coupon clipping and running all over town with gas $3/gallon to save a dime.
I loved going to Sam's, Costco, and BJ's. We've never had a problem with anyone being rude. We found the prices at BJ's to be a little better, and as one writer said if all we did was get milk it would have been worth the membership. May I make a suggestion to the readers who had people be rude to you at your different Sam's? Call those warehouses and ask for the corporate offices phone number and address. Either write or call and complain to the corporate office. Tell them the problem, most company's do not want to lose customers and will generally do whatever to make a customer happy. We have complained before to corporate offices of different companies and it always works. (04/22/2006)
I worked at a Sam's Club for fourteen years. It's been five years since I left. I used to buy quite a bit when I worked there (no membership fee for me) and I used to think I would always shop there. Since I dont work there anymore, it is amazing to me how much I don't need to shop there anymore. I save more money by shopping at Aldi's and following sales. My mom has a membership so when she goes I have her get me the Eggo waffles, my husbands razors, and other things that I KNOW are the best price.
By Cindy S.