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Sam's Warehouse Club Membership: How to Make Sure It's Worth It?


In this post, we are going to take a look and review the benefits of having a Sam’s Club Membership. First, let’s take a look at much it cost to be a member.

Let’s look at the Sam’s Club Membership Tier Levels

You can enroll in Sam’s club as an individual or a business. There are two levels of memberships. The basic personal membership has a $40 annual membership fee and the “Advantage Plus Membership” has a $100 annual fee. Aside from being a warehouse club, using the Sam’s Club Discover Card can earn you “up to 1% rebates” for a basic Advantage member and “up to 2% rebates” if you are a Advantage Plus Member.

To entice folks to enroll, Sam’s Club has teamed up with various merchant partners to offer some of their services. For example, they have teamed up with Expedia.com for their travel portal (which is essentially an expedia.com disguised as Sam’s Club travel website). They also have an insurance portal where you can check rates and quotes. They have also partnered with First Data Corp to provide merchant processing services. My take on all this is to ignore them. If you are looking for a merchant processor for your business, you want to shop around for an ISO that provides the best cost and service level for your business.

How to Save and What is Cheaper At Sam’s Club

There are people on both sides of the fence concerning whether bulk and warehouse shopping like Sam’s Club, is actually worth the prices of the membership. Times are difficult for most people, regardless of the financial status, so finding ways to save any amount of money can make a big difference.

As with any kind of shopping, warehouse or not, you will need to keep a few things in mind in order to get the most “bang” for your buck. There are two requirements especially to making bulk shopping work for you.

  1. Research
  2. Discipline

Research Prices

When preparing to shop anywhere one should be aware of what the standing cost for the same product is elsewhere and compare. Otherwise, there is no way to know whether you’re saving any money and can also make a difference in which brands of products you purchase.

My family shops often at Sam’s Club, which is a discount bulk type store. Most of us can save by shopping there, but we must know our facts before going.  Typically, most of the canned veggies and soups are cheaper there.  The savings of ing them by the cases add up over time, and can be kept virtually forever in the pantry. Instead of ing canned beans every week when shopping, you can most likely purchase the case and only spend the money once or twice a month for a family of 4.  Ramen noodle soups are a cheap staple for many families, and at Sam’s  Club, they offer a box of 36 packages for around $6.00, which is around 17 cents per pack.

Another area of savings is the frozen veggie section.  Huge bags of veggies for a fraction of the price you would pay elsewhere.  Chicken and fish in bulk can also be a savings especially when none of the local grocers are offering a sale. True, you may need to separate and split up larger portions of frozen meat, but they end up being many meals over the long run.

Bulk paper products like toilet tissue and paper plates can be purchased for significantly less and are also a good at Sam’s Club as they are purchases you can always keep on hand. It’s also nice to not have to run to the store as frequently for these things, which saves money on extra store trips where you’ll inevitably find other things to purchase that you may not necessarily need.

The dry goods area can be a little spendy, so use caution when shopping for those items. Know your prices.

Discipline When Shopping

At Sam’s Club, there are taste test samples at the end of nearly every aisle. which can send a person to the closest cooler to get that great tasting tidbit and throw the budget way off. These are not usual great deals, especially if you end up ing something you don’t need or is not in your budget. At the same time though, the samples can be helpful if you are considering purchasing something and aren’t sure of the taste. Eventually, Sam’s Club will probably have a sample available for you to try out and make your final decision on the purchase.

The electronics can be great deals also, but if you don’t really need a new plasma television, you may want to pass on it. There are ongoing sales and specials on these items, so you’ll be able to pick one up when it fits better in the budget.

If you don’t research the prices beforehand or at least have a ballpark number, you may also encounter a product that is available in a mammoth size that looks great, like a jumbo cherry cheesecake or 4 dozen cinnamon rolls but is not beneficial to your budget. This is where it’s important to go into warehouse shopping with a little bit of discipline as well. If you stick to the necessities and the things that you know you can get a number of different meals out of, you’ll end up saving quite a bit more money than if you just walk in and grab everything that looks good.

You also have to keep in mind that large quantities of food need to either be able to be kept for long periods of time (like canned goods) or consumed before they go bad and are a waste of money. So, will you be able to eat the 10 lb Cherry Cheesecake before it spoils?

If you keep these two requirements in mind when shopping at Sam’s Club, research and discipline, you will be more likely to save money and make the membership worth its weight.

Credit Cards – One thing you have to note about Sam’s Club is that they only accept certain credit cards. For example, they accept Discover Card and MasterCard. They do not accept Visa or American Express though they do take Visa Debit Cards (just like Costco only accepts American Express!). Sam’s Club has an affinity card with Discover but frankly speaking, you can get the same rebate benefits with a regular Discover Card.

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