Posts Tagged ‘warehouse’

I’ve seen it hundreds of times, as I walk through the parking lot, mostly filled with unusually large breeds of vehicles, at my local Sam’s Club. Couples in much smaller cars, usually with their “Family Stickers” limited to them, one kid and a very small dog, drive by with apprehension in their eyes, heading to Publix, or Kroger, or another smaller sized supermarket, because they feel like they are getting a better deal. And maybe for some items, particularly items you don’t find in large sizes normally (ethnic foods, etc) it could be, but growing up in a medium to large sized family, with my dad owning his own business, we found ways to make the bulk discount stores work well for us. Does shopping at a huge “membership-required” store scare you off from their pretty significant deals? Do you think your family is too small to garner any benefit from buying in bulk?

For my family of three (two adults, one toddler, and one very teeny dog) I use Sam’s Club for paper and plastic products, meats, frozen veggies, cereal and snackables for baby, and even my favorite vitamins. The caveat is that I also spend a lot on quart/gallon sized Ziploc Freezer bags, and everything I buy must be long-term shelf stable, or must freeze well. I buy beef, chicken, pork, and even fish, either already frozen or ready to cook, and split everything up into portion sizes of one or two or three, put a small piece of wax paper between each piece of meat, and put the portions into freezer bags. That way, when I leave for the day’s errands in the morning I can pull out a baggie of chicken or beef or fish for that night, and put in the microwave or refrigerator for later.

Paper items, toilet paper particularly, is one of the best “secret deals” at the bigger warehouse stores. You can get a months worth of toilet paper, (the comfy kind) for between $12-$18. Same goes for paper towels, napkins, paper plates. I think that’s why they always hide it in the back of the stores by the stock room. If your spending $12 dollars for the biggest pack at your grocery that only gets your through the next two weeks, you’ve saved plenty.

The warehouse stores also offer great benefits for your car, your eyes, your health, and even your electronics budget, giving you significant discounts for quality name brand products like tires, TVs, cameras, cell phones, eyeglasses/contacts and even jewelry.

Memberships are usually the biggest point of contention for most shoppers, but the individual costs are between $35-$100 annually, much less than what you will save in the course of the year. They have four standard memberships, for businesses and individuals, and they now have a college student membership as well (great for savings on laundry soap!). They also have a nifty new feature, the Click ‘n’ Pull, where you can go to the Sam’s Club website, pick out your order online before 5PM on any day, and it will be ready for you the next day at your local store to pick up! You don’t even have to wander the aisles anymore! I haven’t tried the Click ‘n’ Pull yet, but I’m definitely looking forward to it next month. Click here to get a cool preview of how it works.

Sam’s Clubs closest competition in my local market is Costco, which offers many of the same benefits, (plus I enjoy their tasty snack food samples when I go on sample days), but outside of the food market, their closest competitor is BJ’s, for retail electronics, which I only recently moved close to one, and have not yet experienced.

Are you a bulk buyin’ Mama? Do you prefer one store over the others? Tell us your methods, and requirements for shopping in the different stores, bulk vs regular grocers, and feel free to give good coupon & money saving tips to help us all out in this crazy economy. Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Happy Cooking!