I've been thinking about getting a Sam's Club membership but can't decide if it's actually worth it or not. I'm a vet student, live alone but my boyfriend often eats at my apartment and I pretty much buy for two (as does he...we split things fairly evenly). Has anyone with a membership found the savings to be worth the $40 membership for just two people? I really don't think I need huge bulk amounts of every item but saving some money on meat, etc sure would be nice with 90/10 ground beef going for about $4/lb around here. Do you actually save money in the long run or do you just end up buying large quantities for roughly the same price as Wal-Mart?
Just in my experience, I think it's a great deal if you have large amounts of hungry teenage boys to feed.
For a couple? Not so much. If I were you I'd start doing more in the way of watching sale flyers and clipping coupons. If you buy meat when it's on sale (For example, whole foods recently put their organic chicken breasts on sale for $2.99lb, just for one day on the weekend) you can easily freeze it for later.
I go a couple times a year. I do the annual trip for the bale of toilet paper and paper towels, but I go the rest of the year for small things for cheap! I got my netbook there for less than $300, I buy my dog beds (huge ones for $18, $60+ at Sprawl-Mart), other pet stuff, occasional treats, books, movies, etc. Good stuff, I like it!
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We had a membership for a year and let it lapse since we did not buy in large quantities. For the amount we bought, we soon realized that we could often find better deals at Walmart, Target, or even many of the supermarkets.
The inherent vice of Capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries. Winston Churchill
Depends on what you like and how much you eat. If you eat like a bird....one crouton and a glass of water and your "full"....probably NOT the place for you. Meats.....if you have one of those vaccuum sealer things, you can buy in bulk and freeze. apples/carrots, yo ucan get the "big" bags of those cheaper than most places...gallon of milk is usually cheaper there than in regular stores (I LOVE milk!!).
They also have "ready made" dinners like lasagna, chicken piccata, etc. that you pop in the oven. Those packages come in 2's sometimes so you can cook up one pack for the 2 of you and save the other for another time. Or, cook it all and then tupperware the leftovers for lunch or what-not.
dry goods/canned goods/etc. things that are good to keep "extra" of. They also have some half decent clothes and stuff.
Oh, if you use stuff like metamucil instead of sand clear for your horse, you can get the BIG containers of that there.....WITHOUT poeple looking at you like you eat way too much cheese in regular stores when you put 5 bottles on the counter!
Sometimes those stores have a "free" day where you can go check it out without a membership. find out if theyre having any of those.....or, ask your friends if they have a membership to go shopping with them to see if theres enough stuff you can use to make it worth it.
Costco shopper...I buy lots of other things besides food. Mostly household products of one sort or another. I buy Frontline Plus, cat litter, vitamins, pain relief, different personal care items, BEER, etc. For the most part, this stuff is way cheaper than anywhere else. You do have to buy in bulk, so if your living space is limited, it might not work for you.
We definately save mucho big bucks over the cost of the membership.
We don't go often...I hate the mass people, traffic, waiting for a parking space, waiting 20 minutes in the check-out line, etc. However, if we run out of the butter-toffee peanuts, all bets are off.
I think you can visit one time as a guest to look around. Maybe take your normal shopping list with you and compare prices. See if it will work for you?
Worth it for gas in my town, especially. Saving about 10 cents a gallon every trip adds up, but it has to be in a convenient location like it is for me for that to add up.
I've found that it's worth it for me for various reasons, but as others have said, it depends on the size of your household and your storage facilities. For alcohol (which I realize you don't need a membership to purchase), beef, household dry goods, bacon and gas alone, it's totally worth it. I also take advantage of the cheap eye exams and contacts.
We have a LOT of dogs (foster them) so we get things like paper towels, dog beds, huuuuuuge boxes of milkbones for bedtime snacks,.. for the dogs. it's amazing how quickly we can go through a gigantic box of those treats.
While we're there we get sports drinks, sodas, breakfast bars/cereals, toilet paper, all sorts of over the counter meds, personal hygiene items, etc. We usually don't stray from our normal stuff, but will get the occassional other item, like around Christmas they have Keurig K-cups in the 80 pack for a great deal, so I get one box of those.
It's really good for the gas, too. I also just got 4 new tires for $400, which I was happy about.
A big caveat to my story is that MrB's card is in his parents' account, so they split the membership. I haven't a CLUE what his parent's get there, or if it's worth it to them but for us, it is.
Yup, the nearest CostCo to me is about a 2 hour drive away. Sam's is only a few blocks up the street. It doesn't look like there's a gas station associated with our Sam's Club but that alone would make the membership worth it to us. We both drive a lot and one of our vehicles is a diesel that does a fair amount of hauling. I'll have to call and see if they offer a free one time pass or anything to check it out a little and do some math. Thanks!
I wish we had a Costco here, but all we have is Sam's Club. I don't go there because I can get very similar deals by shopping Walmart or Publix on sale items for staples such as paper goods, and it's just me not a family. One tip is before you buy the huge amount of some item (at any store not just the low cost ones) make sure it is cheaper than buying the individual or smaller amounts-it isn't always a savings, and then you have to store a bunch of stuff you won't use for a while. I also would have to buy a lot of stuff to make up for the membership fee at Sam's. Remember though they do have great prices on appliances, cars, eye glasses and even small business health insurance packages-so price the big stuff around before you buy.
Publix has gas stations in some locations also, and I think other retailers are doing this also with a few cents off per gallon.
I may be the lone dissenter but I prefer Sam's over Costco. They are both open about their business models -- Costco is not a cost leader, they offer higher quality goods at comparable prices as you would get lower quality ones at other stores. That is fine if you want the higher quality products at the same prices, but if you are fine with the same products but want to save money, Sam's is your better bargain. Their business model is to be the low-cost leader and it shows in their prices.
I cut my grocery bill in half shopping at Sam's and only buying staples in bulk that I would buy anyway, just less often. The cost savings on things like kitty litter, toothpaste, granola bars, cereal, Coffeemate etc. are substantial, much better than Costco and much better than Walmart/Target/etc unless you are an extreme couponer I suppose, I clip when I see something I regularly buy but not religiously.
I also use Sam's for larger purchases occasionally and get substantial savings there, if they have what I am looking for for a better price than I can get otherwise. The selection is limited though so often they do not have exactly what I want for larger purchases. Did get a wonderful area rug there recently that is amazing for the price.