This past weekend I found out the Sam’s Club was having an open house weekend. We’ve never been warehouse club shoppers and we always hear people singing the praises of places like Sam’s Club, Costco and BJ’s Wholesale. We’re only a two person household so we figured that buying in bulk might not be the most cost effective method for us as food would go bad before we had a chance to eat it all.
Since the open house weekend let non-members shop without the 10% surcharge we figured we’d stop in and see what all the fuss was about and if becoming a member would be worth it to us. Sam’s Club even said they’d have a ton of free samples this past weekend!
Our First Impression of Sam’s Club and Warehouse Shopping
When we first walked in the store we were shocked by how large and clean looking the store was. We were greeted by their giant electronics display with a ton of huge TV’s but we weren’t about to make such a large impulse buy. We browsed all of the aisles and were happy with how wide they were and how well everything was organized and stocked. Of course, it is a warehouse store so it makes sense to have these features.
What We Bought
We ended up buying some raw chicken tenderloins, frozen fish, broccoli, and some fresh fruit. The chicken was just a hair cheaper than Wal-Mart, which is where we normally shop, but it seems to be a bit better in the quality department. The fish was much cheaper and the brocolli was just a little bit cheaper (but they actually kept it stocked, unlike Wal-Mart lately).
In total we spent about $65 and I’d say we might have saved… $5 or $6 dollars compared to Wal-Mart. I feel the difference is probably in the quality of the food that we bought rather than the prices of the specific food items we bought. I’m guessing there are other non-food items that I could save on as well.
The Problem with Sam’s Club Type Stores for Us
I think we could recoup the $40 membership if we were very careful and bought only a specific few items. It wouldn’t save us a ton of money, but it would save us a few bucks. However, I can guarantee you that in the end it’d end up costing us more. What am I talking about if the food is the same price or cheaper? How could it cost us more?
First, I guarantee that no matter how hard we try, if we shopped at Sam’s Club on a regular basis we’d end up throwing out more food than we currently do. We’d have good intentions of using the 3 bottle pack of ketchup before they all expire but would likely only use one, if that. Then we’d be out the cost of the other two bottles! We’d never buy that much ketchup, but it is just an easy example.
We’d also end up buying fancier (and more expensive) foods than we normally do. We’d fall into the fallacy that it’s cheaper than if we bought it somewhere else so it must be a deal… right? I doubt we’d do it regularly, but I can see us giving in once and a while and with the quantities you have to buy in Sam’s Club, chances are it’d be a hefty purchase.
What Are Your Experiences with Warehouse Clubs?
What are your experiences with places like Sam’s Club and Costco? Are you a member? Would it be worth it if you were just a couple rather than a family? What items do you save the most money on and which items aren’t really a better buy at all? I’m interested to hear your experiences!