A couple of weeks ago, I went with my mom to Sam’s. She does a lot of shopping there, and I was skeptical about how much I could really save. So I made myself a list of things I normally buy (and that I could possibly buy in bulk) and what I normally pay at the grocery.
The membership fee is $45 annually. I do not like going to two stores in a week’s time, and Sam’s is not close to our house. So ideally I’d like to see over $100 savings before I think it is worth it for the extra time it takes and space to store everything.
They didn’t have all the brands we normally buy, and I know that changes from time to time as well, so I don’t think I could buy everything there. Some things, like popcorn, toilet paper, and peanut butter were not very different in price. So it definitely did not justify buying and storing a large quantity of it. Also, we buy a lot of produce, but it’s more about variety. I’m afraid a bulky quantity will go bad before we can eat it all. I need to come with a better plan for using it before I purchase produce in bulk. And I didn’t have meat prices so I didn’t shop for anything in that department.
And it has to be said that there’s a lot of distraction at Sam’s. Clothing, books, candy and baked goods, electronics, etc that can make it easier to stray from the list and deflate any savings that you would actually receive.
All in all, here’s the list of things that I would normally buy if I had a membership:
Spinach – I got three times as much spinach for only $5. We buy it at least twice a month for smoothies. I divided it up in freezer bags before it wilted. That would save us $50 or so a year.
Coffee – You can get K-cups for as low as .40 each and I’ve normally paid .46-.50. It doesn’t sound like much, but when you drink 2 or 3 cups a day, that starts to add up. That’s probably another $50 in savings.
Cheese – We normally buy a cheese block and cut up for sandwiches and crackers in lunches, and shred for eggs and pasta. Like the spinach, you can get 3 times as much cheese for what you normally pay at the grocery. So again, another $50 of savings.
Dry pasta – It was $7 for 6 lbs. It beats the normal store prices but often they run specials, so I’m not counting this savings. However, it’s easier to buy here and know I’m getting a good price instead of waiting for a store special.
Cheerios – This is the only cereal we eat and never seem to tire of, and Sams has it about half the normal grocery store price. I would estimate about $25 or more savings from this.
I went ahead and signed up for a 60-day membership to keep searching for deals. I would recommend making the list first, and know what you normally pay so that you spend wisely. And stick to the list instead of browse, especially if you don’t need clothing, books, and bulk candy/snacks because you can be easily distracted by this. Costco is actually closer to our house, so I might give it a try as well before I commit to a membership.
Do you use a warehouse club membership? Why did you choose it?