Can You Save With A Warehouse Club Membership?
People are always looking for ways to save money. Some love to cut coupons; others hop from store to store buying just the advertised specials. But there are some people who are convinced that the warehouse clubs like Sam’s and Costco are the ultimate way to save money. If you have been thinking about shopping at the big box membership store, make sure you check out these three tips to help you decide if you can actually save money with a warehouse club membership.
Do a Test Run
Most warehouse clubs will offer a visitor pass. You can usually go to the membership desk and ask for a one day shopping pass. Often this pass will let you shop and will sometimes even waive the upcharge that typically occurs when non members purchase items in the warehouse store. I suggest you call the store before you show up to confirm that they offer this guest shopping pass. Another way to check out the store before you purchase a membership is to go with a friend. They are usually allowed to bring in a guest. This will give you the opportunity to evaluate the products and prices before you spring for a membership.
Check the Unit Price
There are some items in warehouse club stores that will definitely not translate to savings even if you’re buying in bulk. If you are a small family and don’t eat a lot of ketchup, it may not make sense to buy the 3 pack value size bottles of ketchup. But if you have a large family and eat ketchup with every meal, you may end up saving money with the oversized bottles. The best way to decide if an item is a good price is to look at the unit price. Most warehouse clubs will post the unit price per ounce or packaged item. If you aren’t sure if the price is a good deal, then wait and come back with more information.
Snap a Picture
Now that you know the unit price, you will want to compare that price to your local grocery store. Since most people carry a smart phone, now’s the time to use it! Pull out your phone and snap a picture of the price so you can clearly see what the item is, the size of the product and the unit price. Then when you get to your local grocery, you can compare to see if the warehouse product is a savings. Shopping at a warehouse club can be a great way to save money on many products. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that buying in bulk is always the best strategy. Do your homework so you will be an informed shopper.
There’s also another factor to consider. If you like to use coupons find out what the store’s coupon policy is. There are some warehouse club stores that will not accept any manufacturer’s coupons, but will mail out a variety of store coupons to members each month. Other warehouse club stores will accept manufacturer’s coupons and allow you to stack them with their own store coupons to maximize savings. So make sure to ask before purchasing a membership.
Do you shop at warehouse clubs? Do you find that it helps you save money? I’d love to hear from you!