How to Save Money at Warehouse Stores

by Tracy · 1 comment

Warehouse stores like Costco, Sam’s Club and BJs aren’t a guaranteed way to save money. In fact, many people find that they spend much more than they would otherwise because they get reeled in by all of the good buys and way overshoot their budget.

It takes discipline and planning to save money at a warehouse store and make the annual fee worth your while. You don’t have to be feeding an army to save buying in bulk, though, and there are plenty of savings to be had even for small families and individuals. The trick is to go in with a budget and resist the temptation to buy things you don’t need.

Where the Deals Are

You’ll find that the best deals in warehouse stores are for staple goods like rice, baking supplies, some dairy items and plain frozen produce. You can find good deals on some convenience foods, but often, you would be able to beat the price at a regular grocery store by combining coupons with sales.

You won’t find the lowest possible prices on meat, poultry and fish, however the quality is usually better than what you can find at most supermarkets. You can also save big by buying large cuts of meat and breaking them down at home. For example, Costco sells a whole pork loin at a reasonable price per pound that includes directions on the package for breaking it down into two good sized roasts and several pork chops.

Many parents find that they can save money buying diapers, wipes and formula at warehouse stores. Most only carry one or two brands however, so you are out of luck if your baby only tolerates other brands of diapers, wipes and formula. If that is the only reason you are considering a warehouse membership, check to see if you can get similar prices at a big box store such as Target or Walmart or buy ordering online from Amazon.

You can find good savings on household goods, electronics and other items, but keep in mind that it’s easy to impulse buy. If you don’t need it at the time and it’s not in your budget, you aren’t really saving anything.

If you live or work near a warehouse store with a gas station, you can save a lot of money by filling up there but check to see if any local grocery stores offer rewards programs that can lower the price of gas even more. I shop at a local chain that offers 5 cents off per gallon for every $25 I spent. Since I have a large family, I routinely save 80 cents a gallon and as a bonus the gas station is much more convenient.

Will I Benefit from a Warehouse Membership?

The only way to determine this is by visiting one and taking notes on how much you can save on items you routinely buy. All warehouse stores will give you a guest pass to look around and see what’s on offer.

If there are only a few items you’ll buy a few times a year, you might be better off asking a friend or family member that has a membership if you can go shopping with them every now and then rather than pay for a full year’s membership. You can also sometimes get a 1 day buying pass that will allow you to shop in the store while paying a small up-charge.

Warehouse stores often have very good deal on higher end grocery items such as imported cheese, prime cuts of meat and prepared foods. If you tend to buy a lot of these kinds of items, warehouse stores can be a great savings to you.

Check out your local warehouse store, but don’t assume that it will necessarily be a huge source of savings for you. Many people find that shopping at a regular grocery store and using coupons gives them much better savings.

Bonus Tip:

Did you know that you can save money with Netflix? Even if you don't plan on using the service, you should at least sign up for the Netflix free trial here to get some free movies for a month.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Debbie October 26, 2011 at 4:27 pm

Don’t forget warehouse Coffee savings! Coffee in the 3 lbs size most of the time can be had for about the same cost you’d pay for 1.5 to 2lbs in a regular grocery store. Prior to 2007 it was more like 3lbs being the same cost as 1 lb elsewhere. With an average of 3lbs of coffee per month or so in our household that saves us quite a bit and on top of other food savings and food storage methods these things make a membership more than worth it for us!

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