HOUSTON – When you commit to something important in your life, it is important to consider the advantages and disadvantages of this commitment.
While the decision to be a Costco or Sam’s Club member isn’t comparable to who you marry or where you plan to live, it can have a big impact on your budget, especially if it’s is used appropriately (or inappropriately) over time.
At KPRC 2, we take an in-depth look at wholesale shopping in Houston and beyond for insiders, starting with the huge stores where most wholesale shoppers flock to for the best deals available: Costco and Sam’s Club. Be sure to come back to Click2Houston.com and live for the full series, packed with useful information, offers and benefits you may not know about to help you make better decisions. Also that added benefit – connect with other shoppers with a keen eye on savings.
Now let’s look at some of the benefits and potential detractors of signing up for a subscription-style store.
You won’t have to worry about whether you have toilet paper, batteries or trash bags. If you go the Costco or Sam’s Club route, you’re buying for the long haul. If you’re a busy person, that means you don’t have to think about buying things as often, which for many people is reason enough to buy the subscription.
If you’ve gone shopping at regular stores or paid your grocery bill on an app, you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you look at most price tags at bulk stores. For example, you might be wondering how it’s done. (We did that too, but more on that in our ongoing series! Be sure to stay tuned for an overview of each store’s business model and history for insight into how these transactions are completed.)
But at first glance, you’ll probably see that most unit prices of everything you buy are remarkably lower than other brick-and-mortar stores that sell in smaller quantities.
You may find this to be most common when shopping in the manager’s clearance and promotions areas. We’ll break down the best ways to get the best savings at these stores through this series, so be sure to check out our shopping tips stories. These are great guides from a number of wholesale buying experts on how to combine savings methods to get the absolute best deals – some that don’t even require a membership card. Seriously.
Like many stores, Costco and Sam’s Club have loyal store brands who celebrate their quality and price.
Some shoppers swear that some of the store’s brand products – Kirkland Brand / Member’s Mark – are literally the same products as the mainstream brands, made in the same factories as the store brands.
Although we have not independently confirmed reports like this, there are many online rankings that rank bulk store brands alongside name brands that can cost significantly more per unit. The Kirkland brand, for example, ranks among the brand names in lists and tests of dishwashers and laundry detergents.
Either way, the store brands and their prices are a definite draw to these member havens.
If you are ready to marry a membership, this can be a very good thing. You are engaged. You invested money in it.
Start owning the membership and all its benefits. You can download the app, start visiting the club’s website and start receiving its newsletter in your email to make sure you receive premium offers. There are plenty of ways to make sure you’re getting the best deals and getting the most out of your membership. Stick with KPRC 2 for this full report.
Let’s face it: buying a three-pound brick of cream cheese isn’t for everyone. Neither is buying a pack of 45 toilet papers.
If you have space limitations, buying big may not suit your life. Trust us – we tried stashing that packet of toilet paper in a NYC apartment closet and it REALLY is. WAS NOT. PRETTY ONE. (Intentional capitalization. *CHILLS*)
Another consideration is how much you will actually consume. Before committing, consider how much you actually use, especially for perishables. Waste comes at a cost to the environment and to your wallet. As a consumer in these times of inflation, there’s nothing worse than throwing away what you planned save so much money. Be careful when shopping and be realistic about yourself and your household’s needs.
Are you really saving?
Despite popular opinion, not all bulk purchases at stores like Costco and Sam’s Club are actually savings over other stores, especially when you factor in your membership fees. Be sure to watch the Unit price if you make comparisons and remember that the membership fee (if you paid one – there are ways to avoid this).
Are you spending too much time in the “expensive” areas of Costco and Sam’s Club stores that may not have the best savings available? Do you buy things that you think you need or the ones you need Actually need? These are just a few of the things you should consider when determining if buying in bulk is right for you and your life.
Will you find yourself going to the grocery store or other stores to get the things you “miss”? It’s probably if you or your family have particular tastes. Although stores like Costco and Sam’s Club carry a number of name brands, the brand and product options are certainly more limited. You can see some of the key differences between the Costco and Sam’s Club lines here. However, if you’re up for it, there’s beauty in the limited selection and, as many have noted, clear quality in the limited selections.
Committing to a store with limited options can get boring, and the proximity of other grocery stores or retail stores could hamper your efforts to stay loyal to your membership, making the cost of membership pay off. It’s always a good idea to assess your finances and make sure membership remains a viable option for your life. If you haven’t paid for a subscription – and there are ways to avoid it – the issue is moot, but it’s still something to consider if you’ve decided to automatically register for membership renewal.
Savings is a big draw for many people. You might find the crowds at peak times of the day a bit overwhelming inside and outside the stores. Like most things, there are hacks to all of this, so stay tuned for our full shopping tips reports for Costco and Sam’s Club.
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