15 Items You Should Buy at Club Stores Buying Guide


Buying in bulk can be risky if you’re not careful. There are too many items that you could easily lose out on because of a higher cost or just simple waste. Club stores however, are not a bad thing. In fact, there are a few items that are almost always cheaper at Sam’s or Costco than you can get even with the typical sale.

These 15 things are almost always on that “cheaper than the grocery store” list. Make sure that you add them to your list the next time you’re hitting the warehouse floor.

Prescription Medications – Believe it or not, that diabetes medication that you take is considerably cheaper at your local club store. While you might need to up your membership level to really save (usually a cost of $20 or so), you’ll save significantly over the cost of your regular pharmacy. Flu shots and other vaccines are usually much cheaper here too.

Soda – While it’s not recommended to drink a lot of soda, buying in bulk here is much cheaper per ounce (usually) than at the store. You’ll be buying more of course, but you’ll save overall. 

Booze – If you’re trying to get your party on, head to Sam’s or Costco. You can save as much as 25% on your drinks by purchasing them at a club store. Even better? In some states you don’t even need to have a membership to buy it. 

Pasta – Unless you’re using a coupon and getting it free, buying your pasta in bulk is a great idea. Pasta will generally last around a year even with no preservation methods so there’s little worry about waste, plus the cost per ounce is usually pretty good compared to regular stores…as much as 20% less.

Beans – Along the same lines as pasta, if your family eats a lot of beans, head to your local club store. Beans last forever and three days even left in their regular packaging and buying in bulk can save you up to 32%.

White Rice – While it may only be around $1.00/lb at your local Walmart, head over to your local Sam’s and you’ll only pay around $0.70 per lb. Add that up over the course of your grocery shopping and you have a pretty significant savings.

Spices and Seasonings – Use garlic in almost every meal? Pick it up in bulk the next time you shop. You’ll pay less per ounce buying your spices and seasonings in large quantities than you will if you pick up a smaller bottle. A quick word of caution on this though is that spices have a shelf life that is pretty set in stone. Be sure you’re going to use it all before it goes bad before you buy them in bulk.

Gas– gas is usually cheaper at Costco and Sam’s. 

Trash Bags – Personally, I think trash bags are too expensive in any store (for the most part), but picking them up in bulk can save you a bit. Buy them in bulk when you can and you’ll be able to save over picking them up in smaller boxes…for regular prices.

Gift Cards – It might surprise you, but a lot of warehouse stores sell gift cards in bulk. Basically, you buy them in large packs and save on the overall costs by picking them up like this. If you are a gift card giver, this is a perfect solution for you.

Movie Tickets – Along the same lines as gift cards, movie tickets tend to be a much better buy in bulk. If you regularly head to the movies for date nights, you’ll save big over the course of a year by buying your tickets in bulk. These ticket packs usually have long expiration dates too so that you’ll have plenty of time to use them.

Light Bulbs – Have you purchased light bulbs lately? In case you haven’t, they’re getting more and more expensive each year. By picking them up in bulk, you’ll do two things; protect yourself from paying a higher price next time and you’ll never be in the dark.

Oats or Oatmeal – Oats have a really, really long shelf life and just like beans and rice, they’re cheaper in bulk. If you bake a lot, go for the whole oats bags and if not? Opt for oatmeal.

Pet Food or treats – This is one case where buying in bulk is almost always cheaper. By picking up Fido’s food in a larger bag, you’ll pay less per ounce or pound than you would buying the smaller bags. The same can be said for treats. Where a smaller box of dog bones will run you $2-$3 at Walmart for less than 1lb box, you can pick up a 14lb box at Sam’s for around $10. Do the math on that and you’ll see that you’re scoring big savings. 

Bottled Water – Bottled water in general is a waste of money, however if you must buy it, buy it at a club store. You’ll pay less per bottle and less per ounce than if you bought it at a regular grocery store sale. To save even more, pick up a reusable water bottle and skip disposables altogether.

Did you know there are things that you shouldn’t be buying at club stores?  Check out what you should never purchase at club stores.

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  • Laura says:

    White rice is often on sale at F4L, a 20 lb bag for less than 10.00. That makes it less than .50 a bog. With a coupon and an even better sale, I’ve gotten it as low as .35 / lb there.
    Bottle water, although I rarely buy it, is often 1.99 (+CRV) per 24 pk in the summer at SB and some other places.
    I like to keep sodas on hand for my the many kids and kids-in-law that come over, so I’m always watching the soda sales. I do better with the sales than I did at with my previous club/warehouse on that.
    Buying beans in bulk is cheaper, but that can be bought in bulk at Smart and Final(among other places), without having to pay the club membership.
    One really needs to know prices on everything.

  • EES says:

    The nice thing about the discounted gift cards is you can still use them with a coupon or Kids Eat Free promotion. We buy cards for a local place. I get 2 $25 cards for $40. Then we go on kids eat free day. You can use the gift card toward tip also so the 3 of us can eat with 1 $25 gift card so $20 after the discounted gift card out the door (including tax and tip) A great deal for eating out!

  • Tracyfl says:

    I have memberships at both Sam’s Club and Costco. I have found that gift cards at Sam’s Club are discounted much more than Costco. I gave people gift cards this Christmas and comparison shopped. Sam’s Club had gift cards for up to 30% off, Costco was only about 10%.
    Also I find better buys an soda at stores like Target, rather than the club stores

  • marlene says:

    great advice was at costco and sams last night make it a biweekly thing. a 35 pack of water was $2.70 at costco great price but to save a couple buck we usually spend at least $100 only downside and gas is sometimes 40 cents cheaper last nigth $3.07 where i live it was $3.49

  • Laura says:

    Gas by us on Monday was 3.09. That was Ralphs, at which we most often get it less .20/gallon (sometimes .40).
    I’m curious about what gift cards are sold at Sams and Costco, and how consistent the prices, or disounts rather, are on them. I carefully shop gift cards. I have found that we can sometimes do better at buying Target gift cards than using our Target card, for example. At Christmas time, Smart and Final had a great Gift card deal – I think it was 17 or 20%, but only on certain cards; but cards we really wanted. Albertsons has had some gift card deals, but I’ve never done them, because they either weren’t on cards I needed, or I could do as well or better elsewhere. Towards the end of each month, I carefully check my fuel points at Ralphs and Vons. At Ralphs, we often buy just enough gift cards (of something we need, Lowes is a frequent one) to bring it just up to the fuel point level we need.

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