There are lots of great deals lurking inside Sam’s Club, but it takes a savvy bargain hunter to spot them. If you don’t know what you’re looking for it’s easy to overspend. Here are some tips and tricks for getting the most out of your Sam’s Club membership and avoiding the most common pitfalls of shopping at warehouse stores:
Look for Ones
Being aware of Sam’s Club pricing strategy and codes is the best way to spot some great bargains. Most of my best sale finds at Sam’s Club end in a $xx.81, but I’ve heard reports of pricing ending in $xx.91 as well. Basically, anything ending in a 1 is something that’s been marked down from its original price.
To Join or Not to Join
Sam’s Club memberships start at $40 annually. If you only shop at Sam’s Club occasionally, you may be better off taking advantage of their one-day shopping pass. Just be aware that a 10% up-charge is added to all purchases. Or, go in on a membership with a shopping buddy. Not only can you split the cost of a membership, you can split the large bulk-sized products they have available.
Look for Seasonal Items
Some of the best deals are not available there on a regular basis. At my Sam’s Club store, seasonal items can be found in the back in front of the food/refrigerated section. In January, fitness equipment is in stock. In the spring, look for plants, gardening and patio items. November/December brings a large selection of toys in the seasonal department.
Hit the Snack Bar
Don’t expect health food here, but you can expect some tasty snack items at wonderful prices. Their hot dog combo includes a Nathan’s hot dog and soda for just $1.70. They also feature pretzels, pizza, and Edy’s ice cream sundaes. Plus, you don’t need a membership card to eat at the snack bar.
Avoid Making Impulse Purchases
Impulse buys will kill your budget, and you can take this to another level at warehouse stores like Sam’s Club. Some of the best deals are often on things you didn’t realize you needed, or even wanted, before you set foot in the store. If you just can’t stick to a list while at Sam’s Club, try setting a budget for your shopping trip and then only bring that amount of cash into the store.
Do the Math
Some people automatically assume that buying in bulk will save money, but that’s often not the case. Often you’ll save more by shopping at your regular grocery store. Keeping a price book with information on the 50-100 products you buy most often will help you determine whether warehouse store buys at Sam’s Club are good deals or not. Use the calculator function on your smart phone to compute cost per unit.
Beware of the Big Bottle
Purchasing in bulk can make you more prone to consume in bulk. Research has shown that people consume in greater amounts when the product is available in ample supply. For example, if you have a big bottle of shampoo you’re likely to use more of it than if you were using a sample-sized container. When you get products home, break them down into smaller containers if at all possible so you’re not tempted to be wasteful.
What Mommysavers Are Saying
Join our discussion forum to see what members are saying about Sam’s Club. Topics include:
- Sams Club v. Costco
- BJs, Sam’s Club or Costco: Which One Is Best?
- Have you ‘reviewed’ your wholesale club spending lately?
- Does shopping at Sam’s club save money?
- What have you bought at Sam’s Club lately?
What are your tips for shopping at Sam’s Club? Let us know by adding your comments below!