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The Pros and Cons of a Sam's Club Membership

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Linsay ThomasGuest Blogger
September 28, 2016 · 10.5k Views


You’re content with shopping at your local grocery store, but lately you’ve had some doubts. You may have heard your friends, neighbors and family members raving about the great deals they found at their local Sam’s Club. But all you can think about is the membership fee. Is it really worth it to pay to shop somewhere?

Buying groceries at warehouse clubs isn’t for everyone. Maybe you don’t live near one. Perhaps you don’t need five pounds of cheese at one time. Maybe you don’t have room for 100 rolls of toilet paper. Perhaps you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum. You can get everything you need in one store. You might be able to save some big money buying in bulk.

If you’re on the fence about joining Sam’s Club, you’re not alone. There are a lot of things to take into consideration because you don’t want to pay for a membership and not use it. That’s why we compiled this list of pros and cons so you can decide if you should spring for that Sam’s Club membership or just keep shopping at your favorite store.

 Sam's Club offer rare membership discounts that comes with free food vouchers and more! Check back on our Sam's Club page for in-store discounts, membership price drops and other weekly deals!


pros of sams club

  1. For the most part, the prices are generally lower. There are some things you can find cheaper elsewhere, but most items are about 20% cheaper than a grocery store.
  2. There are many high-quality items that are inexpensive. Sam’s Club’s store brand, Members Mark, is a high-quality brand that ranks as high as name bands.
  3. You can find specialty items that you can’t find at your local grocery store.
  4. You can save big on high-ticket items such as laptops and TVs.
  5. Sam’s Club is good for buying items you use regularly in bulk. Staples such as toilet paper, laundry detergent and rice can be found for great deals.
  6. Many locations have gas stations where you can fill up for cheap.
  7. Sam’s Club offers many other services besides groceries. You can get discounts on movie tickets. You can get new tires for your car, refill your prescriptions at the pharmacy, get new glasses, get a health screening and even book a vacation.
  8. Most customers are satisfied with their overall shopping experience. A 2012 survey showed that 81% of Sam’s Club members rated the service as good or excellent.
  9. Sam’s Club has an excellent return policy. If you’re not satisfied with an item you bought, you can return it at any time, as long as you have the receipt. The only exception is electronics, which must be returned within 90 days.
  10. If you shop on the weekends, you’ll often find free samples of food awaiting you throughout the store. You’re not obligated to buy anything, so come with an empty stomach.
  11. Sam's Club has a Scan & Go app which means you can shop, scan your items and pay via the app. No need to wait in line to pay for your stuff!


cons of sams club

  1. The biggest issue with shopping at Sam’s Club is the annual membership fee. You have to pay $45 just to shop there, so you’ll have to do the math to make sure it’ll be worth it to you. You’ll have to use it as your primary store in order to get your money back.
  2. When you shop at Sam’s Club, you have to buy in bulk. You can’t just pick up a pack of gum; you have to get 20 of them. This may not be an issue if you have the storage space and can use the product before it goes bad. But five pounds of cheese, 20 pounds of apples and a 30-pound bag of rice just isn’t feasible for most families. If you run a restaurant, that’s one thing, but if you have a small family, your food will likely go to waste before you eat it all.
  3. Sam’s Club doesn’t accept coupons, so the price you see is what you’re paying. If you really want to use that coupon for $2 off Tide, you’ll have to shop at Walmart instead.
  4. Not everything is a good deal. Warehouse stores like Sam’s Club don’t typically have sales. That means that if your local grocery store is having a sale and you can use a coupon, you could pay a lot less than you would at Sam’s Club.
  5. Location can be a factor if you’re thinking about a membership. Sam’s Club is not like Starbucks – you won’t find one on every corner. They’re pretty spread out, so it wouldn’t be surprising if your closest one was at least an hour away. In most cases, they’re at least 30 minutes away. Would you really go that far to go shopping when you probably have dozens of store that are much closer to you?
  6. There’s not a lot of variety when it comes to brands. As mentioned before, Sam’s Club has its own brand. You might find a name brand here and there, but your choices are limited.
  7. Employees are scarce. Warehouse stores keep prices low by saving money on employee wages. If you need help finding anything, good luck finding someone who can assist you.
  8. Lack of parking is also a disadvantage. There never seems to be enough parking. If you drive around for 30 minutes, you might get lucky. Your best bet may be to park a mile away and hike to the store. Then do the same hike back to your car when you’re done. That sounds like an exhausting shopping trip!

Related Reads
5 Ways To Shop Sam's Club Without A Membership
Who Has the Best Prices: Costco, BJ's, or Sam's Club?
12 Costco Items That Will Make Your $55 Membership Worth It

There are many good reasons to buy a Sam’s Club membership, and there are many reasons why you shouldn’t buy one. The decision to buy a membership will ultimately be based on your shopping habits and preferences. If anything, try Sam's Club one day pass and see if it's worth the membership fee!  Don’t be swayed by friends and family. That’s great if shopping there works for them, but everyone is different, and you must decide if it’s right for you and your family.


linsaythomas profile picture
Linsay Thomas is a seasoned writer and editor who has written thousands of articles about topics such as saving money, healthcare, law, pets and education. She hails from California, where she lives with her husband, two children and a menagerie of pets. When she's not writing, she enjoys sports, breeding chocolate Labs and visiting the beach.
TLWisnerOct 03, 2016
The employees are scare comment is why I dropped my Sam's membership as soon as a Costco was opened locally. The Sam's employees were scare and rude, such as not allowing you to go into the store because they were going to close in 20 minutes. Costco is quite the opposite - employees are helpful and available - possibly because Costco treats their employees much better than does Sams / WalMart? Just my own experience.
Costco also has more then enough parking available, unlike Sams.
anju007Sep 30, 2016
i like shopping at BJ's than at Sam's

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