Inquiring minds want to know. Really, they need to know. Which bulk store has the lowest prices: BJ's, Costco, or Sam's Club? Which stops will allow them to save the most money when shopping? How can they get the most goods for the least amount of cash without having to shop around and pick up different items at different locations. This is an often-disputed claim – as to who has the best all-around deals – yet one that has so much importance behind it. That's also why, once and for all, we want to set the record straight. We put in the research, we compared the prices, and we finally have an answer as to which wholesale membership store's fees come in as the lowest.
First things first, memberships are expensive, but they're expensive for a reason. By buying in bulk, there are some huge abilities to save. Especially when used year-round. When comparing the overall savings that are available, the membership itself is actually quite low. That is, assuming it's properly utilized.
To join BJ's, it'll cost you an annual fee of $50. That's good for one person, but comes with a second card that's to be used for someone else in your home. (It's unclear if these cards can be transferred to a friend or family member with a different address.)
The same access comes in at $5 cheaper, for a total of $45 per year, at Sam's Club for a single membership.
While Costco's fees jumped up to $55, they also offer a free secondary card.
Although membership fees can be a major drawback for some us, if you're in no hurry to sign up as a member, keep an eye out for membership package deals from each wholesaler that can be found on Groupon or Livingsocial.
Now it's time to get down to the nitty gritty. By comparing sizes and prices, we were able to come up with real-life comparisons.
When stocking up on pantry staples, Sam's Club offered the cheapest prices on both rice and beans. Their 20-pound bag of rice is listed at $7.23, which is just $.36 per pound. Meanwhile, BJ's 25-pound bag goes for $9.89 and Costco's 25-pound bag is $9.49 – bigger packages, but with a higher price per weight. Beans came in with much similar results, with fees that are tens of cents cheaper than the other two's on all styles of beans.
However, Costco came out on top with quinoa, while BJ's offers the best deals on peanut butter and bread. And Sam's Club came out winning again with chips. So based on these many winning bulk options, you'll want to decide where to shop for the lowest prices for groceries you actually need.
Then, moving into the freezer section, Sam's won with frozen veggies and chicken. Sam's other victories: pain killers, soft toilet paper (BJ's took the lead with overall volume, but had a higher price for the thick stuff), trash bags, and diapers. While BJ's was the lowest on paper towels, baby wipes, refrigerators, and coffee makers.
In case you hadn't noticed, Costco didn't win at all – their prices are some of the highest when shopping in bulk. Their membership fees are also the highest. If you're on the fence of where you should shop for your warehouse needs, Costco likely isn't going to be your best choice. The prices are high and the rewards are miniscule compared to the other guys.
But between Sam's and BJ's who's best? BJ's had the best deals on big purchases, while Sam's offers lower day-to-day deals. Depending on what you're shopping for, you're bound to find better – yet equally great – deals with either brand name. Take your upcoming purchases into account, and opt for your next membership in return.
Finally, you should consider location. How close do you live to each of these warehouses? By the time you spend your time and gas, are you still saving as much as if you went with the other guys? Be sure to factor this in when drawing up prices for an accurate final fee.
Shopping from a warehouse retailer can be a great way to save on your household staples, as well as items you only purchase once in a blue moon. Remember to check prices and location to ensure you're getting the best deal – even when shopping from a "discount" location.
We've tracked down alternate online wholesalers that offers the same cheap bulk pricing and best of all, these e-tailers won't even charge you any membership fees. Learn more about major online wholesalers Boxed.com and Jet.com now!
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