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Stretching Your Dollar at a Warehouse Club Store

We have all heard the jokes about warehouse stores. Heck, we probably know someone who has lived them out. It shows in the dangerous way they drive. Be gentle, because it isn’t their fault. They swerve like that because they can’t see around 500 rolls of toilet paper. A warehouse store is something you have considered, even if you haven’t pulled the trigger just yet. Or, you are a current member at just such a place. Either way, Money Examiners wants you to succeed at warehousing. So, we put together some ideas, (at least one counterintuitive) for saving money and getting the most out of your membership.

First of all, define our terms. By “warehouse store” we’re talking about three big fish in the pond. They would be Costco, Sam’s Club, and B.J’s. Costco is the largest, Sam’s Club is also nationwide, while B.J’s extends from the eastern seaboard to Ohio. Our ideas apply to all three stores.

1. Nothing Beats a Snack After Shopping: Warehouse club stores have uncarpeted cement floors on which to walk. Your dogs are going to bark because they just carried you for miles around the store. Treat them to a long sit-down and yourself to the best deal. At Costco and Sam’s Club, it is the hot dog and a soda deal for $1.50. At B.J’s it is the excellent prices at the Dunkin’ Donuts kiosk.


2. Shop With a List! So important when shopping at a club store. Without a list, you’re going to have a two-month supply of something you craved for ten seconds.

3. Adults Only: Of course that isn’t club store policy. They love the little ones! But, it is so much easier to stay within the parameters of your list without little opinions repeated in your ear every eight seconds. “Mom, Mom, MomMomMom.” Find someone to watch the owner of that voice, and your money may last to the next paycheck.

4. Prices with Funny Endings: Anything that ends in something other than 99 cents is a special discount from the manufacturer to the club store. These are especially good buys.

5. Shop Store Brands: You may have tried this technique at a regular grocery store, but been disappointed. It will work for you at Costco (Kirkland Brands), Sam’s Club (Simply Right) and BJ’s (Richelieu Foods, Berkley-Jensen, and Wellsley Farms.)

6. Notice the Asterisk: If your favorite item has an asterisk on the tag, it is being discontinued. You had better stock up on these!

7. The Flyer is No Help, and it May Hurt: The flyer you are given at the door Does NOT contain coupons, because you are always given the best price at checkout. Don’t let the flyer whisper at you until you buy what you don ‘t need.

8. Eyewear is a Great Buy: Bring your prescription into any of the big three warehouse stores. You’ll find fashionable eyewear, and the price will surprise you.

9. Printer Ink at Unbeatable Prices: Bring your refillable ink cartridge to a warehouse store and save about 50%. You’re keeping your portion of tons of plastic cartridges out of the landfill, as well.

10. Shop During Rush Hour: We told you at least one of these would be counterintuitive. But, trust us. More cars on the road mean shorter lines at checkout. The lines at the sample tables are shorter during rush hour outside, too.

11. Fill up First: Everyone gets gas on the way out. The frozen food in the back of your car asks, Why?”

Those are our ideas. Good luck and, for Heaven’s sake, have a hot dog.