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Does a Warehouse Membership Make Sense for Your Family?

Guest post from Mandi

It is almost time for me to renew our family’s Sam’s Club membership. We are in the middle of Dave Ramsey’s Baby Step 2, and so everything that can be cut is getting cut. Here are some questions I came up with to assess our current need for a warehouse membership card:

1. Do I really need to buy this?

I have started asking myself this question about all of my purchases, and it has made a big difference. When you shop at a warehouse store, are you buying items just because they are available and a “great deal”, or because you actually need them?

2. Can I get this for a similar, or ever a cheaper, price elsewhere?

This was the big question for me this year. The number one item our household purchases at Sam’s Club is gasoline. My husband drives just shy of 90 miles, round trip, for work. We have a Sam’s Club literally right around the corner from us that has a gas station. It averages a minimum of $0.10 less than any other nearby gas station, or approximately 3% cheaper. Since we always fill up at Sam’s Club, we are saving 3% of our gas budget, or $108 annually.

If it is diapers and wipes you buy most often, then you might be able to get a better deal on Amazon with Amazon Mom Deals. As with any item, you have to pick and choose your deals.

3. Could I get buy with one ‘stock-up’ trip per year?

Sam’s Club usually has a “free” weekend sometime in April and August where anyone can come in and shop. They do this to get you to sign-up for a membership. However, as Crystal has mentioned, you can use this as an opportunity to stock up for the year on things like yeast, chocolate chips, flour, and other items that truly are cheaper at a warehouse store.

4. Do I need to buy this item in this size?

True, that giant can of olives may be 10 cents cheaper per ounce than the can at the regular grocery store, but if you end up throwing away three-quarters of something, then you are not saving any money. {Note from Crystal: Make sure to follow the advice in this post to help you not waste items you buy in bulk.}

The key to saving money on warehouse club memberships is to be totally objective when you are evaluating your needs. Do the math – see if it makes sense on paper.

For us, it does make sense to keep our membership, at least for the time being since I know we save over $100 per year, and our membership cost $40. However, I am aware this may not always be the case, and if circumstances change, then I will reevaluate our needs.

Mandy White is a stay-at-home wife and mama to three wonderful children, and the most amazing man.  She loves to learn, and is constantly working on new domestic experiments, like canning, and freezer cooking.  Her favorite time of year is Fall – which doesn’t start in Arizona until November.

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  1. Jerilyn says

    I love my sam’s membership! Even better, it’s the complimentary card from my in-laws! So that’s an option for families out there to split with parents or siblings or children.

    I may not save a ton of money but sometimes it’s the convienence of shopping for me.

  2. says

    I share a Costco membership with a friend and I love it! We take turns and one of us goes once a month and buys everything for both families (we live about 65 miles away from civilization so it’s expensive to drive anywhere for groceries!). We save time and money this way, and Costco enables me to buy healthier food than I would otherwise because of their great prices!

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