Do Wholesale Grocery Stores Really Save You Money?

You know all about Sam’s Club and Costco and the big wholesale retailers, but do they really save you money? 

When you drop your hard earned $50 for a membership with these stores, are you getting the best bang for your buck? 

Short answer: Yes. 

However, and that’s a big HOWEVER, you need to be smart about how you shop at these stores. So let’s look at a few ways you can make sure you’re getting the most out of your membership. 

Make your money back. This shouldn’t be too hard. If you shop a few times a year, you should easily be able save the amount you paid for your annual membership fee. 

Go easy on perishables. When you find yourself in these massive stores, it’s easy to quickly stock up on everything because “It’s such a good deal!” But that good deal will easily go bad when 3 of the 5 gallons of milk you bought start looking more like containers of cottage cheese. 

Don’t shop “just because.” Another way of saying it—you might be tempted to use your membership early and often. And, that’s okay, but don’t overspend simply because you’re a member and you feel the need to use that membership. 

Be careful about impulse purchases. These stores are designed for the impulse buyer. The 25-can box of chicken soup sounds like a great idea, but if you linger too long in the canned goods aisle you might find yourself with enough chili to feed an army for a month. 

Enjoy the free samples but…go easy on buying them. The grilled chicken kabob might be delicious but that doesn’t mean you have to buy a month’s supply of kabobs. Samples are great for helping decide if you’ll actually enjoy what you were already planning to buy, but don’t let them lead you into buying something you don’t really need.  

Consider buying the big-ticket items. Warehouse stores generally have better deals on the big stuff—like televisions, rugs, and even some furniture. If you’re in the market for a big-ticket item, and it makes sense as part of your EveryDollar budget, then do a little research and compare prices. You might find a great deal at the warehouse store. 

Shop for your family. The more little ones running around, the more it makes sense for you to shop at a warehouse store. Buying in bulk (non-perishables like paper towels and cleaning supplies) will save you quite a bit in the long run. If you’re single, you can still save money by going to warehouse stores—but you might not see quite the same benefit. 

Make a plan, and be intentional when shopping in warehouse stores. If you’ll do that and follow the advice above, your membership will be well worth it.

Now go out and save!   

One surefire way to keep your spending in check at warehouse stores is to determine how much you want to spend ahead of time and track your shopping trips throughout the month. Set up a free budget with EveryDollar, and take control of your spending!