Money Moment: The Ins and Outs of Warehouse Club Shopping
August 8, 2017 @ 5:35 pm CDT
By Dr. Jennifer Hunter
Dr. Jennifer Hunter
Welcome to episode 13 of Money Moment, with your host, Dr. Jennifer Hunter.
Warehouse club shopping can be a great way to save money, especially if you have multiple family members living at home. However, you must also use caution. It is easy to overspend when you are surrounded by numerous products and free samples. If you decide to commit to a warehouse club membership, today’s podcast discuses tips to maximize your warehouse club benefits, while being mindful of your budget.
Most warehouse clubs require you to purchase a yearly membership. Be sure to shop around the warehouse clubs in your area to ensure that you are getting the best deal. Warehouse clubs often offer free tours or one-day memberships to allow you to experience the store before committing to a membership. When you are shopping around compare the products that each club carries, the membership prices and the special perks that each store may offer to you. Be certain to ask if they have a military discount available for the membership rate. Each family member is unique, so be sure to keep your family’s needs in mind.
Make a list and stick to it
You will be amazed at how many products your local warehouse club offers. Many clubs stock products including televisions, bedding, outdoor furniture, and more. Be sure that you shop with a list in hand to avoid going over budget or coming home with unneeded products.
Compare unit prices
Unit pricing is key, when warehouse club shopping. Pay attention to the unit price of the product you are interested in buying. Buying in bulk is not always the best deal. Compare the pricing of bulk products to individually packaged products to make certain that you are not spending more than you need to.
Purchase the store brands
Warehouse club stores offer store brand products much like your local grocery store. Generally speaking, the store brand products are high quality and will offer you the greatest savings. You will find many food and beauty products at great prices too.
Consider buying bulk meat
Warehouse club stores offer great savings on meat and poultry purchases. Investing in a vacuum sealer will allow you to buy large packages of meat and poultry without worrying about waste. Break the larger packages of meat into smaller servings appropriate for your family and then freeze them.
Avoid the middle aisles
Similar to your local grocery store, it is best to shop the perimeter of the store. Products carried in the middle aisles of club stores are less likely to save you money. The best deals that you will find will be on products such as milk, eggs and sliced bread.
Share your purchases
Consider sharing the cost of your membership with family and friends. You can all take advantage of the savings, while splitting the purchases and costs.
Look for seasonal savings
Warehouse clubs offer amazing savings at the end of every holiday season. Keep an eye out for these deals in your club’s weekly flyers.
Buy cheaper gas
Take advantage of warehouse club gas. Have you ever driven by your local warehouse club and noticed the significantly cheaper gas prices? Cheaper gas is a perk that you should consider whether you are simply driving by or making a weekly or monthly shopping trip.
Warehouse club shopping can be intimidating at first but in many ways, it is like shopping at your local grocery store. You can be successful using many of the same budgeting strategies. However, keep in mind that purchasing in larger quantities requires greater upfront cost and a dedicated space at home to store your purchases. With the right planning, you will be pleasantly surprised by the savings.
Please join us for our next episode, Back to School Savings Tips.
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This material is based upon work supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Office of Military Family Readiness Policy, U.S. Department of Defense under Award Number 2019-48770-30366.