23 answers

Does Shopping at SAMS Club "Really" save You Money??

If you answered yes to the question, would you mind telling me what items you buy that save you the most money?

My husband and I want to get a membership but after touring the store, it didn't seem the saving's were that different then shopping at Wal-mart. However I did notice that the Huggies & Pampers were relatively cheaper than Costco's for close to the same amount of diapes in the box.

Anyhow, would love to hear your opinions, thanks!!

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Featured Answers

i have a COSTCO membership and as long as you use restraint( and its soooo hard sometimes) you can save money buying in bulk. I buy things like Ketchup, detergent, dishwashing liquid, juice, cheese, eggs,and a few other things that are essentials around the house. and the kirkland brand( costco's brand) is really just the same as the name brand). the difference between sam's club and costco( i saw someone say they dell different things) is that costco is supposedly considered to cater to the "middle class" customer. that's why they won't sell Pampers because they are supposedly to good for the "middle class". but i pretty much shop where ever i can get a deal or something I NEED is on sale.

1 mom found this helpful

If the price of the membership is more than you ever buy in the store, you don't save anything. When I do buy anything, it's cake, rotisierre chicken, canned milk, diapers, soap...the everyday stuff that you know you will use.

1 mom found this helpful

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We don't have a Costco or BJ's just a Sam's Club. I found when I compared the per unit cost at Sams and Walmart, Walmart was still less expensive. On such items as toilet paper, paper towels, kleenex, boxed food items, cleaning supplies. The produce was often comparable in price but I like being able to select my individual produce not be forced to buy a bag full when sometimes pieces in the bags are bad. I would often find deals on meat, but then again I would have to buy large quantities and then freeze. Personal preference but we prefer buying our meat on a 'use' basis without having to freeze it. You can often find good deals on electronics, tv's, etc. but like the one poster said how often do you acutally buy the big ticket items like that? So the answer for me would be NO, it really didn't save us money!

2 moms found this helpful

Absolutely!

With 2 kids, a dog and a cat, we save a ton of money vs. shopping at WalMart, Target, Kroger, etc.

We have a membership that costs $80/year, we just got a check back for $78 for having a bonus rewards program that essentially pays back our membership costs (Costco).

We have memberships to both. Even though the inventory is essentially the same, the brands are much different. Some things we can find at one that we can't find at the other. Originally, my previous employer covered the costs of membership at both because office supplies were so much cheaper there vs. Staples, etc. But, we pay it now.

Diapers, formula (please no one tell me how I need to breast feed, my daughter had to be on formula so I could get chemo), fruit, meat, etc.

It takes a little while to figure out what you'll use and what you won't. We primarily use it for diapers, fruit (which is SO much cheaper than the grocery store), bottled water, kitty litter, toilet paper, paper towels, chicken/ground turkey (freeze portions until ready), cereal, snacks, OTC medications.

Costco did a side-by-side comparison of their warehouse products. In one cart was name brand items. The other was their Kirkland brand. The savings/cart was $250.

The fresh fruits/vegetables alone are worth it - you eat so much healthier when you have the quantities there and spent the same as you would at the grocery store.

2 moms found this helpful

my husband works for a food distributor and KNOWS food prices. We have a membership to sams mainly b/c of the meat prices. We had to formula feed and saved a lot there and we saved on diapers too.We have a 2yo now and buy fruit and veggies cheaper than the grocery store. If you use oxyclean it is much cheaper than other stores including walmart. We aren't big snackers but I do get snacks there when we want them. I buy a lot of paper products there too. I would say spend the $40?? And try it for a year. Can't beat their prices when you entertain. Hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful

i have a COSTCO membership and as long as you use restraint( and its soooo hard sometimes) you can save money buying in bulk. I buy things like Ketchup, detergent, dishwashing liquid, juice, cheese, eggs,and a few other things that are essentials around the house. and the kirkland brand( costco's brand) is really just the same as the name brand). the difference between sam's club and costco( i saw someone say they dell different things) is that costco is supposedly considered to cater to the "middle class" customer. that's why they won't sell Pampers because they are supposedly to good for the "middle class". but i pretty much shop where ever i can get a deal or something I NEED is on sale.

1 mom found this helpful

I don't think so, no. Til you pay for the membership, and then have to buy everything in bulk where it may take you a year or so to use up all the items, I can't see how it would. Besides that, the closest Sam's to us is 60+ miles away, so we'd be spending all that $ on gas to get there. I prefer just clipping my coupons and staying local. For your diapers...you may want to check out diapers.com and compare the prices there. My sister swears by that site.

1 mom found this helpful

We have had a Sam's and Costco membership both. I do have to say, I prefer Costco. I miss buying meats there. I have not renewed either one because I have found that for our family(2 adults, 6yo, 2 yo) it does not save us money. We do most of our grocery shopping at Wal-mart. That seems to be the absolute cheapest and if you use coupons at all, the savings are even better. I even do the coupon thing at CVS pharmacy. We have tried buying in bulk & I don't know if everyone gets burnt out on eating the same thing or what, but we end up having alot of items not eaten, wasted, or had to give away to someone else. I buy my diapers mainly at CVS if using Huggies because of the great coupons they give, plus you can get coupons straight from Huggies.com. Use both the CVS and manufacturer coupon & save big! I am not opposed to generic diapers, so I will use CVS brand or Wal-mart brand too when I don't have a coupon for Huggies. So, I would say, unless you have a pretty big family, you're not saving anything by buying at Sam's or Costco.

Another thing is that we do not have the storage for buying alot of bulk items. The meats & produce departments are what I found most worth the membership and the gift items around Christmas time(clothing, books, dvds, etc.). You might try it for a year and see how it goes.

1 mom found this helpful

If you shop there enough, then yes, I think it does save you money. I say that because there is like a $50 annual fee. So as long as you are going there enough to make up $50+ in savings!

Formula and wipes are for sure cheaper at Costco than in the regular grocery store or pharmacy. Meats are usually cheaper too!

My problem is that there are just somethings that I can't buy in bulk. I will never use 10 tomatoes in a week!

1 mom found this helpful

actually, the only reason I had a membership was for the savings and quantities I could get on diapers. Also staples like bread, lunchmeats, cheeses and some frozen food items (chicken, etc) were great to purchase. Condments as well.
The hard thing for me was really evaluating the "savings" because everything was in bulk so I spent considerably more each time, but had the food/items longer. I also found self control is a must! otherwise i'd pick up cases of coke, toothpaste, TP, etc. just to have it - not because we needed it. Definately worth a try. Especially around holidays because of the great gifts and books they have!

1 mom found this helpful

You will only save money if you buy select items with big savings like diapers/meats and do most of your shopping elsewhere. For all of those stores, there are savings to be had, and there are items that are not competitively-priced at all, or that you wouldn't normally buy. I had an old boss that was addicted to the place, but it never worked for me.

1 mom found this helpful

If the price of the membership is more than you ever buy in the store, you don't save anything. When I do buy anything, it's cake, rotisierre chicken, canned milk, diapers, soap...the everyday stuff that you know you will use.

1 mom found this helpful

I have been a bargin shopper all my life. My mom was born in 1922 and the depression made a big impression on her life. She could pinch a penny until Lincoln begged for mercy. She taught me.

I was responsible for buying food for a church dinner. I shopped Sams and Costco as well as the other grocery stores in town. Between Sams and Costco, I found Sam's was cheaper on 7 of nine items. Sams tied with Costco on one item and Costco was cheaper on one item. A Sams membership is less expensive than a Costco membership.

I bought everything I had to buy at the other grocery stores in town because when the items I needed were on sale, the other stores beat Sams and Costco. Its cheaper to buy milk, dairy products, and spices at Sams. SOMETIMES Sams is cheaper on paper products and some electronics. I went to Best Buy because they said they would beat any competitor's prices, but they wouldn't match or beat Sam's prices. I saved over $100 on a better computer than Best Buy. I saved $250 on a 47" hd TV at Sams vrs Best Buy.

BUT, How often are you going to buy an HD TV or a new Computer?

Some posters have said Costco has better quality than Sams. I think its purely psychological. If you can't taste the difference, why pay the difference. I've conducted taste tests before. People that were adamant about this or that brand couldn't pick out their brand over 65% of the time.

If you shop the sales, you don't need Sams or Costco. If you don't shop the sales, Sams is cheaper. Quality? I can't tell the difference and neither can anybody else in blind taste tests.

Good luck to you and yours.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi K.,

I don't shop at Sam's anymore but the reason I did was just what you mentioned. The diapers were cheaper and you always had to have those on hand. I never really saw any other cost savings there because everything was basically name brands I didn't want to use or things I didn't buy anyway. I'm a member of Costco now because I can get my eyeglasses SOOOO much cheaper there than anywhere else and they do a good job. I save about $300.00 on just mine every other year so it's well worth the membership. I also like some of their organic/or close to organic condiments. I don't do a lot of shopping there but every once in a while I find something that I need That's cheaper.

Regards,

M.

1 mom found this helpful

It will depend on your family. My children are grown now and it is just hubby and me and we do have a membership to Sam's. When we go to visit my son or daughter in adjoining states we can shop at a Sam's and drop the items off at their homes.

The best way to shop at a warehouse store is to go in with a list and stick to the list. Buy what you will use. Toilet paper and paper towels are less and we do have the space to store now (I used to buy a case of paper towels 48 rolls and it would fall out of open spaces throught the house a remote assignment). Prices are less on things like printer ink catridges and paper reams (750 instead of 500 sheets), coffee beans and tea bags, spices in bulk sizes. Cooking utensils, pots and pans can be cheaper than the high end store. Laundry and cleaning supplies in bulk or storage plastic zip bags can reduce your monthly grocery bill and we all need to store and clean homes or clothes. As said you can't beat the prices for having large family and holiday gatherings.

So all in all you can save it just depends on where you are in life as a young family or empty nester or somewhere in between. The other S.

PS The closest Sam's Club to me is 100 miles away and that is in 3 different directions (something about the plan to have a Sam's about 100 away from a sizeable populatiion in the Wal-Mart thinking). We usually visit Sam's about once a month as hubby has medical treatments in Lubbock so we stop and look. But then again driving 100 to 200 to see something is not unusual from where I live.

1 mom found this helpful

We don't shop Sam's club but that is because we are anti-Walmart.

We do shop Costco. I think the quality of Costco is higher. I go about once every other month and stock up with following:

Toilet Paper, Paper towels, dishwasher and dishwash detergent, clorox, baby wipes, diced tomatoes, chicken, a few other canned veggies, frozen broccoli, butter, DanActive, cheese to name a few.

I keep about a 6 month supply stocked up at my house. We've had Costco for years.

Good luck

1 mom found this helpful

Bulk IQF chicken. Bulk any meat IQF. Toilet paper (the house brand of their Charmin Ultra Strong is a great generic). Laundry needs. Sometimes you can find great clothing at a good price.

We have memberships at both Costco and Sam's so there's particular products at both stores that we purchase. We tend to Costco more often than Sam's, though. It seems the only thing we get anymore is laundry and toilet paper at Sam's.

1 mom found this helpful

For a smaller family, I cannot imagine the savings being that great. I'm a couponer, pretty good w/ knowing my prices, and figuring what is a good deal.

However, we are a larger family (8 kids still at home). But,there are alot of things that are more expensive at Sams verses what I can get at a traditional store, especially on sale w/ a possible coupon.

Generally, I don't buy diapers at Sams. Dog food is a good buy. Baking items such as flours, yeast, spices, cocoa, rice, olive oil etc are great buys at Sams. Sugar is about the same per pound for name brand, but a store brand would be cheaper.

Milk, cheese, frozen veggies, and some of the fresh produce are great buys. Fortunately, w/ my family size, there is really no waste.

I'm not familiar w/ Costco or Bj's, but you should be able to get a day pass to shop around, and price check before making a decison to purchase a membership. I've read Sams will be having 3 days in August where no membership is required.

The only things we really saved money on were formula and the Cascade Action Paks. I use Target diapers and they're still cheaper than Huggies would have been at Sam's. We let our membership lapse because we weren't buying much more than that and now we're done with formula.

Unless you have a TON of room for big bulk items everywhere... Not the savings that one would hope.

No, it just offers much more convenience when buying in large quantities. I have been able to compare lots of prices between Wal-Mart and Sams and most of the time Wal-Mart is same or better. For example, Downy Fabric Softener is $X at Wal-Mart and at Sams the bottle is twice the size as Wal-Mart but "per ounce" it is the same price. You save money in the long run due to not going to the store as often and using gasoline and your valuable time waiting in line. It is more for the convenience of buying in bulk.

We do food storage and have emergency things on hand. So, for us buying in bulk is often our choice. If you do want to investigate buying in bulk and how to do it appropriately for your family then look at your local library for books by Peggy Layton. She tells you how to track your families eating habits and grocery needs and how to plan a food storage that you will use.

I don't find it much cheaper on the things I routinely buy. The value for me is that I stock up. When I get income tax refund or a bonus at work or something, I stock up on certain things that I use all the time. Then I don't have to buy them every 2 weeks, so, it actually does bring my regular shopping budget down. Last January I bought spices, trash bags, vegetable oil and olive oil (much cheaper in bulk), rice, household cleaners, shampoos, batteries, bulk pantry and freezer items. I still haven't had to buy most of those things. There are some weeks when grocery money is tight, so i'm glad i don't have to buy trash bags that week. So my use for Sam's is buy in bulk when you have a little extra money to save money for when you don't.

Not the question that you asked, but do you have a BJs near you? I shop there and save a ton on meat and paper products. But the coupons are really great. Every month they send a whole booklet, and for many dollars off products too. So when my son was in diapers (yey, no more diapers!) I would use luvs. At BJs the big box was $29, but they'd send me a $5 coupon, so I'd get that big box for $24, which was the best deal we'd found. I grocery shop every week, and this system has made our monthly bill drop by 1/3 - two weeks at Trader Joes, 1 week at Stop n' Shop (regular grocery store), 1 week at BJs. Between the three, I get everything I need. Good luck.

I dont have a membership there but I do know if you have a friend interested too that you guys could put the card in one of your names and than split the membership cost. my mom does this with her sisters card

I had a Sam's membership but I allowed it to elapse because I wasn't finding that I was saving really all that much. We too shop at Wal-Mart except for their produce-I have found that it rots much sooner than say the produce I pick up at Publix. Also the meats are better at Publix as well but we rarely eat red meat so I usually will just pick up the ground turkey at Wal-mart when I am there. My husband works for Publix and said that Wal-mart's pricing is about 17% below anyone else's. I don't know if its true but he works for a totally different chain so why would he lie about something like that? Now Publix does have a lot of BOGO but for me to take advantage its got to be something we use on a regular basis.
If you want to join a wholesale club I have found that IF I were to join another one it would be B.J's and the reason why is because number one they take coupons AND they have more options as far as payment is concerned. They take credit cards if you are one prone to use a credit card for groceries-I personally am not but every once in awhile I will and its nice to have that option available if you need it. The only problem with BJ's for me is the distance!!! I am waiting for them to put one in my area and most likley only buy things like TP, milk, paper towels, etc. things that you use and need and can never have enough of!

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