11 answers

Sams Vs. Costco - Sterling Heights,MI

I am looking for opinions on which is better - Sams or Costco.

I am also curious, how do you know if it is a better price to buy it at a wholesale vs. the grocery store. I noticed some items actually cost more at Sams than at the grocery store and the only way to determine that is to go to each store, make a huge list of all the prices and then do complicated math to compare the prices (since the quantities are different at each store). Surely there is an easier way to know which items to buy at Sams and which to buy at the grocery store.

Thank you for your input.

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I agree with Aida. I have had both memberships but tossed the Sam's a long time ago because of my moral beliefs. I think CostCo is a better company overall and deserves my business (I think there's a PBS special you can watch about the company and its founder). Additionally, their products rate very high in many reports.

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As far as pricing, you just have to know your prices. I've read that it doesn't save anything to buy paper products there, but I haven't really done the math myself.

I was a Sam's club member for 3 or 4 years even though Costco was closer to me. I switched last time the membership was up and I have to say I think Costco has much better meat. I can really tell the difference (even in the hamburger).

I am a Sam's club member and occasionally go to Costco with a friend I think Sam's has a much bigger selection of food where as Costco has their brand (Kirkland)and a regular brand to choose from Costco has more household/seasonal items and Sam's is more food based I like Sam's better and I think Sam's is cheaper Even their membership is cheaper

We have the Costco membership, but in all honesty I feel if you watch the sales or use the coupons for other stores (Target/Kroger/ Meijer, Etc..); then you actually make out better in the long run.

Also - unless you have the items to compare in front of you - not many can distinguish the difference in pricing vs. quantity. This is where some are not aware of the savings or not.

Don't forget, you are paying for this membership too - that is also money spent and accumulated that could be used for other items. (Even if it is annually.)

Oh - as for the 'off brands' like Kirkland, I think they are just fine. Never had an issue with what we have purchased from there.

If you are trying to save money on groceries why not take a look at ALDI? They have a few stores in Metro Detroit and most stuff is MUCH cheaper than the grocery store and not in huge industrial sizes like Sams. Originally from Germany, they have been in business for years overseas and most of their stuff is really good quality - my sister swears by their daipers. Look up your closest store and weekly deals online - good luck.

You should be able to request a day pass at both to give you a chance to check them both out. I had a Sam's card for years but for the past 5 have had a Costco(much closer) They are both good. One thing I liked about Sam's more was they opened way earlier than Costco, but I like Costco's meat better. Initially you may need to figure prices but after a few times you will have an idea of regular items to buy there. I make a trip 1-2 times a month. I ask for my membership as our couple Xmas gift from my in-laws, so no cost to me:)

I like Costco because they treat their employees more fairly, pay them higher wages and offer even non-union employees health insurance. Also, I heard in the New York Times, I think, that Costco tests all their meat at their facilities on top of federal testing done for meat distributors. That's why Tyson doesn't sell to them. They seem to operate more ethically and morally -- certainly more Christian-like. Sam's Club is owned by Wal-Mart, famous for treating employees poorly.

I agree with Aida. I have had both memberships but tossed the Sam's a long time ago because of my moral beliefs. I think CostCo is a better company overall and deserves my business (I think there's a PBS special you can watch about the company and its founder). Additionally, their products rate very high in many reports.

We frequented both for many years and I would say neither is "better" just different. We stuck with Costco in the end because it was closer and had cheaper gas prices. I don't think the gas prices are that good anymore.

Sam's benefits: opens MUCH earlier, 7am. I hate waiting for Costco to open at 10am. When you have little kids, you're up anyway! (and need to be home by naptime!)
Smaller quantities. I don't need 1000 paper plates, 500 is fine haha. Some fruits from Costco will go bad by the time you eat them, so you are really paying for waste.

Costco benefits: IMO better quality of food and more diversity/selection.

As for the pricing, no complicated math necessary. Sams, Costco and all grocery stores have a "unit price" listed on the price tags on the shelves. You just compare that. You do have to go to all the stores and write those unit prices down, but no math. Instead of comparing the price AND size of all the juices, the unit price lets you know how much the juice costs "per ounce" so you never have to factor in the quantity.

Hope I helped! I know we went thru this years ago. Check out GFS too, great prices though a smaller store. But no membership fee!

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