On the other hand, if you do have more than a tiny family, warehouse purchases don't even seem like buying in bulk - just family size! I have the Costco Executive membership that costs $110/year, but gives an annual rebate of 2% of purchases. I've never made back less than the cost of the membership. That's not even counting the cash back from using the Costco Amex card.
Don't forget that Costco and other clubs sell a lot more than just groceries. They have the cheapest gasoline in my area AND I get 3% back using the Amex card. That's about 12 cents off per gallon from what is already the best price around me.
Almost every time I check the price of a Costco item on Amazon, Costco comes out cheaper, even with the tax. On things like TVs, Costco automatically gives you a 2-year warranty for no extra charge.
They have a truly no-hassle return policy, which is really useful if I find myself disappointed with a purchase, even more than a year after I bought it. I've bought things that failed within the warranty period, but instead of going through the hassle and expense of returning the item to the manufacturer and waiting forever a repair or replacement, I just brought them back to Costco for a full refund, no questions asked. I never have to worry about being stuck with something that turned out to be a disappointment.
Certain things like paper products are generally never a good deal at any warehouse club, so I chase after sales at other stores for them.
If there are just a few things you would like to buy from time to time at a warehouse club, they all sell gift cards (only to members) that don't require a membership to use them. If you have a friend with a membership, pay them to pick up a gift card for you. There's no markup on the purchase of the card or on the goods purchased with it at Costco. Some other clubs may impose a surcharge on non-member purchases.
Oh, and one more thing - anyone can purchase from the Costco pharmacy without a membership. They have very good prices if you don't have prescription coverage.
fluffy (rep: 2.2k) posted Apr 13, 2012
Were meat not cheaper at Sams than anywhere else in the area, I might let my membership go. The rest of the stuff, I agree...the price difference just isn't all that great.
I really saw the benefit when I had 2 teenage boys eating every meal at home. Not so much anymore.
nthsll (rep: 12.4k) posted Apr 13, 2012
Thanks for the advice. I've been considering going the Sam's/Costco route for a while, but wasn't sure if it would be worth it. This helps.
I just have one question...where do you store all that toilet paper?? I always want to stock up when I find it on sale, but I only have so much under-the-sink space.
canis444 (rep: 263) posted Apr 13, 2012
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