Is a warehouse club membership worth the price?

October 18, 2013 by
Filed under: Shopping 

costcoAs the Green Bay area welcomes Costco, we thought it was time to discuss warehouse club memberships in general.  Is the cost of a yearly membership worth it?

What do you plan to buy?

Many people pay for a yearly warehouse membership for their business but also use the membership for personal use.  If you’re only going to use the warehouse membership for personal use, do you really think you’ll save that much money over the course of the year?   Only you can answer that.

Many people go into a warehouse club without a list of items they are going to buy and end up walking out with all sorts of stuff because it’s “such a good deal.”  Are you one of those people?


Do you know your unit prices?

There is a general misconception that if you buy large quantities you’ll get a better price. So it’s important that you go in knowing the unit price for items you might be considering.

For example, a good deal on peanut butter in the grocery store might be $1.89 or $.10 per ounce.  Does that translate to the bigger size you’ll find in a warehouse store? Or is it the same price (or more) per ounce, just in a larger size?  Some times items can be cheaper at the grocery store if you combine sales and/or coupons.

In my informal research two years ago (click here), I found that Sam’s Club prices were in the middle of the pack in terms of overall pricing of popular grocery items.  Those prices did not factor in the cost of the membership.

Will you use it all (groceries) before it expires?

If the prices are good or better at a warehouse club but you have to buy grocery items in larger quantities, will you use it all before the item goes bad?  If you buy large quantities and can’t use it all before the expiration, you’re basically throwing money away.

What perks are offered with membership?

Some warehouses provide cash back bonuses.  Some take coupons.  Others offer earlier shopping hours for business members.  Clubs may also give discounts on prescriptions, eyeglasses, or gasoline.  Are those perks available at stores without a membership fee?

Those are just some of the considerations you should make before buying any warehouse club membership.

What other things do you consider before joining a members-only store like Costco or Sam’s Club?

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One Comment on Is a warehouse club membership worth the price?

  1. Pat Stenson on Fri, 15th Nov 2013 12:29 am
  2. Will I be able to browse the store before I have to buy my card?

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