How to Maximize The Value of a Warehouse Club


Many people own warehouse club memberships. They use them for many reasons, such as saving money on things they buy in bulk or just getting all those amazing samples free of charge on the weekends. Of course, that’s not really why people get warehouse club memberships, but it does help. The concept behind a warehouse club such as Sams Club or Costco is simple; you pay a small fee for a year-long membership and you get to go to the store whenever you want to buy things in bulk and save a lot of money on things you need. Of course, that’s not always true. Unless you are specifically shopping with a purpose, not everything you purchase here is worth the price. Some items merely look less expensive than they are elsewhere, and that’s why you have to know how to maximize the value of a warehouse club membership. After all, you’re spending $40 a year to join, you might as well make up for that cost and then some, right?

Split Your Membership

I’m not going to lie to you; this is what I do. My best friend and I split our Sams Club membership each year. This means I pay $20 and she pays $20. She uses her membership all the time, but I am guilty of only using mine once since we got it 7 months ago. Upon shopping there, I came to the conclusion that it’s not so much of a savings that I can’t just run to my local Publix and shop faster. However, that’s because I have four kids, two at home with me, two in school, a full-time work-from-home job and Sams is 45 minutes away and Publix is 10. The savings works for me this way. Split your membership and you’ll get more out of it.

Check the Extras

Did you know that some warehouse clubs offer other perks you might not know about? You can book travel through many of them at a discounted rate that will save you significantly. You can save a serious amount of money if you use your club membership to do this. Costco offers a travel program, Sams offers a discount on new cars through specific dealerships that participate with this program. Check these benefits to decide which warehouse membership will suit you more, and then use it for those reasons.

Use the Gap Route

This is a bit tricky to explain, so here it goes. Do not renew your membership every time it expires. Wait until you need to renew it again. For example, most people go to these stores a few times a year to stock up on things they need. Make sure one of those trips coincides with the end of your membership and don’t renew. Stock up on everything you need and wait until you need to go again to renew your membership. If you go two times a year, or every 6 months, then your membership is only something you need to renew every 18 months instead of 12 months. This means instead of renewing 10 times in 10 years, you’ll only renew 6 times, and you’ll save yourself $160. That’s a good way to save a little.

Don’t Shop Low Prices

So you see that you can get more mustard for less money if you buy the extra super large container, and that’s awesome. If you plan on using all of it at the world’s biggest backyard BBQ later this year, it’s awesome. If you don’t, it’s not. If you are like me, you have mustard in a small container in your fridge you bought years and years and years ago and it probably expired that long ago because you never use it. Be realistic; just because something is cheap does not mean you have to buy it. Sometimes it’s cheaper not to buy it, get it?

Split Your Purchases

Do you have friends that love the same things as you? If so, buy those bulk items and then split them in half. It’s a good way to get more for your money. You play less, get half back from your friends and still have room in your house to live instead of storing things you’ve purchased in bulk. For instance, if you really want to buy those granola bars in bulk because they’re so much less expensive, ask a friend if they’d like to split with you and give them the flavors you don’t want if those are the ones they want. It’s a great way to maximize the value of that membership.

Buy Your Booze Here

Not that we condone alcohol (drinking moderation is perfectly fine) but we do suggest that if you like beer, wine or liquor, you buy it here. It’s usually a lot less expensive to shop for these items at warehouse clubs, which means you will save significantly when you take the time to shop here for these items. Even if you don’t drink often enough to make these purchases here worth it, you might have an event that will. A wedding coming up that you’re providing cocktails for, perhaps? A housewarming party or a holiday party? You can use your membership here to purchase these beverages at low prices to make that membership worth it.

Buy Gas Here

Most warehouse clubs offer gas stations as well, and the gas prices are typically less expensive here for members. We’re not saying that the gas here is always less expensive, but most of the time it is. Sometimes it might only be a cent or two cheaper than buying gas elsewhere, but sometimes it’s as much as $.10 less, and sometimes even more than that. That’s a dollar saving for every 10 gallons you purchase. If you have a 20-gallon tank, you could save $2 per tank here. If you buy 5 tanks of gas a month, you will save $10 a month. That equals $120 a year in gas savings. Doesn’t seem like much up front, but it really is a lot.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images


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