Sunday, 21 April 2024

Never Overpay at Sam’s Club Again With These 3 Tips

by BD Banks

<div>Never Overpay at Sam's Club Again With These 3 Tips</div>

Image source: Upsplash/The Motley Fool

Under the right circumstances, a Sam’s Club membership can be great for the budget. The wholesale club has very competitive prices on most items, particularly its Member’s Mark store brand.

That said, it’s sometimes just as easy to waste money at Sam’s Club as it is to save money. Try these tips to avoid falling in that trap.

1. Comparison shop big-ticket items

When you’re used to deals in every aisle, it can lull you into a false sense of discount security. You may start to think everything in the club will be a deal.

This is a mistake.

It’s definitely not uncommon for other retailers to have sales and deals that put their prices in line with Sam’s Club. And some of those deals can actually beat out the wholesale club, especially on popular big-ticket items.

For example, if you’re in the market for an iPad Air, you can occasionally get a good deal at Sam’s Club. But right now? You’re not actually saving anything over buying it directly from Apple. (The best deal I can find at time of writing is actually from Best Buy.)

Always comparison shop a big-ticket item before buying it from Sam’s Club. You never know when you’ll find a better deal elsewhere.

2. Be selective about bulk buys

Although you can find deals on big-ticket items, the heart of most folks’ Sam’s Club savings strategy relies on bulk buys. In other words, you buy things in large quantities because the price per unit is much lower that way.

But what if you can’t actually use the bulk you buy? Throwing out two of your three gallons of cooking oil because it went rancid isn’t saving money anymore.

Unless you’re certain you can use something up before it expires, avoid buying it in bulk. Personally, I mostly stick to non-perishables that won’t have a countdown. It doesn’t matter if it takes us three months or three years to make it through that toilet paper, it’s not going to expire.

(Alright, the pedant in me has to acknowledge that paper goods will eventually break down, especially if not stored properly. But my initial point stands.)

3. Maximize membership perks

In the simplest terms, your Sam’s Club membership allows you to shop at Sam’s Club stores (and online). But that’s only one of the perks that come with even a regular Club membership — let alone a Plus membership.

For instance, most Sam’s Club locations will have a pharmacy, tire center, and optical center. You can get some solid deals on prescriptions, tune ups, and glasses, all without leaving the store. Sam’s Club also has a Travel & Entertainment portal where you can find discounts on everything from hotels to concert and attraction tickets.

If you’re a Plus member, you have extra perks, including free shipping and free store pickup. These are super time-savers. But the real highlight of your Plus membership is the 2% back in Sam’s Cash you get on in-club purchases. This can add up significantly over the course of a year:

Monthly Spend Annual Spend Annual 2% Sam’s Cash
$50 $600 $12
$100 $1,200 $24
$150 $1,800 $36
$200 $2,400 $48
$250 $3,000 $60
$300 $3,600 $72
$400 $4,800 $96
$500 $6,000 $120
Data source: Author’s calculations.

And the most recent way to save is through Scan & Go, the in-app checkout system (you scan your items as you shop then check out in the app). You can now get extra discounts on select items simply by using Scan & Go to shop and pay. Gotta love a feature that saves you time and money.

Getting your fee’s worth

The reason so many of us are willing to pay an annual fee to shop at Sam’s Club is that the savings end up being worth more than the fee. If that doesn’t turn out to be the case, it’s time to rethink your membership.

On the plus side, you won’t technically overpay for the membership itself. That’s because Sam’s Club will cancel and refund your membership if you’re not satisfied.

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The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.Brittney Myers has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Apple and Best Buy. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.