Sam’s Club is a great place to shop to stay on budget. That being said, there are things that you should just never buy there. While they offer an overall lower price for goods, there are things that can actually be found cheaper elsewhere and there are things that you just should not buy in bulk. Give me a couple minutes and let me clue you in on what to avoid at the big box club.
Milk at Sam’s is not sold in bulk but generally in one gallon containers just like at the grocery stores. The problem is that milk is often a loss leader. Loss leaders are products that grocery stores sell at a discount to lure you in to buy other items. This means that there is no discount if any to buying milk at a warehouse club like Sam’s. In fact, you might end up paying a few cents more a gallon.
Unless you own a restaurant, fruit in bulk just does not make since or save you money. It might seem great to buy 5 pounds of bananas on the cheap but they are going to go bad before you can use them. Our best intentions are to buy a of fruit and get the kids off of sugar but it just doesn’t happen. You buy that 3 pound container of strawberry’s, eat a pound and then get bored and let the rest turn to mush.
It is much more economical to buy limited quantities of fresh produce bit by bit so that it does not go to waste. If you have one near you, Sprout’s is my favorite place to shop. Cheap produce, actually cheaper than Sam’s, that you do not have to buy in mass quantities. If you do not have a Sprout’s, any farmers market will do.
By this I mean fresh cuts of meat like boneless skinless chicken, steak, pork, etc. Processed meat like hot dogs and sausage is a great deal at Sam’s. Fresh meat, not so much, it is a buying mistake.
While the price for fresh meat is fair at Sam’s and the quality is very good, it can be found cheaper at your local grocery store. Like milk, meat is a loss leader and grocery stores will place a new one on sale every week.
Take advantage of weekly sales to stock up on meat and then freeze it. You will save an easy 25 percent over the already low Sam’s Club price by shopping these loss leaders.
Beer & Wine
Once again, Sam’s does a reasonable job of keeping prices down on beer and wine. Having said that, they fall short of what warehouse beer and wine stores can sell the product for.
There ae many stores that specialize in beer and wine and they have a better selection and better prices. A couple that come to mind are Spec’s and Goody Goody although there are many more.
Beer and wine at Sam’s is more of a convenience than anything. They have a minimal selection but the prices are decent so if you don’t feel like making another stop, pick some up. You are not going to get the deal of the year though, just know that.
Back to the loss leader thing again, this is something that is always cheaply priced at grocery stores and in more appropriate sizes. Most families are going to let a 36 or 48 pack of eggs spoil before they can use them.
Since there is no price savings in buying the eggs in bulk, you are far better off getting them from your local grocery store.Buy them a dozen at a time or even in 18 packs. In either case, it is a more reasonable amojtn and you will have a better chance of using the before they spoil.
This might be a persona choice thing here but I like the store brand loafs. If you catch them on the right day, they are nice and fresh and about a buck a piece. You can not get that at Sam’s. You have to buy name brand and you have to buy them two at a time. I can do better buying the store brand one at a time. No worries about it going stale and it is cheaper to boot.
It seems like this would be the place to buy tires but nope. In general, you can find much better deals at places like NTB and Discount Tire. They move more tires through a store and can get you a better price overall. What might cost me 400 dollars at NTB might cost me 100 dollars more at Sam’s.
In addition, they usually have great package deals and the road hazard is more useful. It is, at least in my area, a lot easier to get to an NTB for a flat tire covered under a road hazard warranty than it is to get to a Sam’s Club.
Tina’s Last Work
This article is in no way meant to be a slam on Sam’s Club. I have a membership and plan to be a member for years to come. There are just some things that should not be purchased there if you are looking for the best deal. I will continue to purchase my dry goods, laundry soap, paper products, spices, condiments, frozen foods and a number of other great items from Sam’s and save, an easy 200 dollars a month. You just need to be smart and recognize that they will not have everything for the cheapest price and that some things just should not be bought in bulk.