In recent years, there has been a proliferation of big-box stores that offer discounts on various items to consumers. Stores such as Sam’s Club and Costco offer discounts to people willing to buy items in bulk and save extra money. However, does having a membership at these stores really save you money or are you just burning through your hard-earned cash?
Big Portions, Big Savings
To bring savings to your wallet, chains such as Costco and Sam’s club often sell items such as cereal and other snacks in large quantities. For example, when you purchase breakfast cereals, you would need to buy two or more boxes packed into one.
You tend to get a lower per unit cost when you are willing to buy more quantity. Stores such as Sam’s Club are able to offer a lower price because of this.
For items that don’t spoil such as toilet tissue or facial creams, you can get some great deals. Combined with coupons, you could end up saving even more money. Costco hours are generous, and they offer their members coupon books and give a certain amount cash back for certain membership levels. In some cases, you can get up to 2% of your purchase back!
Another great perk shopping at these stores is the availability of free samples. When I went to Costco, I was surprised by the amount of free samples offered. This gives you the opportunity to try out products before buying them. In contrast, it is rare to see free samples at normal grocery stores.
Potential to Waste
Though there is potential for getting great deals, there is also potential for waste. If you have a small family, you may not be able to consume the food you purchase by the expiration date. You end up throwing away food and indirectly, money. The drawbacks of these stores is that even quickly perishing items such as fruits and vegetables are sold in much larger quantities.
Another drawback for stores such as Costco is the membership fees for the privilege of shopping. Before you decide on a membership, survey the store first and compare the prices of common items you purchase from the grocery store. Make sure you can save enough and shop often enough to cover membership costs.
Costs of being a member range anywhere from $35 to $120 depending on the area.
In my own experience, I have seen that places like Costco are constantly busy and have long lines at the checkout. It does not seem worth it to go for small errands.
Although large warehouse stores such as Sam’s Club and Costco can give great discounts, there is a possibility of wasting money because of the large quantities you need to purchase. Alternatively, you should also consider buying fruits and vegetables at the grocery store and non-perishables at the warehouse stores. That way, you will less waste to worry about and save money at the same time!