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15 things you should never buy at a club store

things you should never buy at a club store

Warehouse stores, or club stores are huge for the budget savvy, but if you’re not careful, they can also be a huge money drain. Like it or not, there are just some things that you shouldn’t buy at these types of stores because you can generally find them cheaper elsewhere. Club stores can often charge more for items per unit or ounce and most people don’t notice. More packaging, more shelf space and everything else along those lines all lead to a higher cost for a lot of items. Aside from the outright cost increases, you can also stand to lose big money to waste when buying in bulk.  These 15 items should never be bought at a store like Sam’s Club or Costco…instead, look for deals elsewhere.

Condiments – Unless you have a huge family that really loves mayo- Buying a 3lb container of mayo will only result in waste. Not only will you be wasting the food, but you’ll end up wasting the money you spent as well.

Diapers and Wipes – Buying these in bulk is a good idea, however with coupons you can save a lot more per diaper than you will at a club store. If you’re not in the mood to use a coupon, even buying someplace like Amazon can save you over the club price. Use a membership like Amazon Mom and you’ll save even more. Even buying a generic brand at Walmart or Target will usually save you over a club membership price.

Detergents and cleaning supplies – Again, with coupons, you can usually find these for much cheaper per ounce than you’ll find in a club store. Not to mention the fact that cleaning supplies can lose their effectiveness after long periods of time so storing more than your family will reasonable use just isn’t a good idea.

Books, Music and DVD’s – Buying these entertainment items at a club store can cost you up to 20% more on average than if you used a site like Barnes & Noble, Amazon and especially a store like Half Priced Books.

Clothing and shoes – While it might be tempting to pick up that cute outfit for Little Susie the next time you’re at your club store of choice, don’t. Often, you’ll find that the quality of the item is significantly less than if you bought it at a regular store and by picking up a lower quality item, you’ve just about guaranteed that you’ll be spending money sooner to replace it.

Electronics – The next time you need a new computer, don’t head to Sam’s. Instead, use a site like Tiger Direct or Best Buy to get the best deal. The bundled aspect of the club stores price might seem like a great deal, but when you break it down, you’ll usually see that it isn’t.

Sunscreen – Sunscreen has a fairly short expiration date so again, unless you have a large family, it doesn’t make sense to purchase it in bulk. Instead, grab a bottle at Walmart or Walgreens with a coupon and call it a day. You’ll spend about the same amount of money, but you won’t be paying for quantity that you won’t use.

Paper towels or Toilet Paper  Instead of grabbing your household paper goods the next time you’re in Sam’s, watch your local sale ads. Generally you can grab them cheaper per unit than at the warehouse store. If you’re especially savvy, you can shop Walgreens or CVS and use ECB to get them “free” out of pocket.

Cereal – Warehouse stores are typically right on par with regular grocery stores for cereal prices. Instead of buying in bulk and risking waste, wait until your local stores have a sale and pair with coupons and rewards to save the most money.

Produce – Fresh fruits and veggies might be needed in your menu, but swing by the grocery store to grab it instead. Aside from buying more than you need, warehouse prices don’t change throughout the year…even when something is in season. Instead, the grocery store will lower the price as it comes in season, allowing you to pick it up cheaper.

Canned Goods – Unless you absolutely need a huge amount of canned pasta, picking them up in large sizes will cost you more than you think. Instead, wait until your grocery store puts them on sale and stock up on regular sized cans instead. There is one exception to this one; occasionally you’ll find the regular sized cans in value packs that are a good deal. For these, take the total cost of the package and divide by the number of cans. If your cost is less than what your regular store charges, pick it up. If it’s more, swing by the grocery on your way home.

Ice Cream – Ice cream has a really short freezer life, but most people don’t realize that. After a couple of weeks it starts to taste old and stale so picking it up in large packages isn’t a good idea. Cost wise, you’ll also pay more for it at a club store than you would if you waited for it to go on sale.

Office and School Supplies – Things like printer paper and other office supplies are inflated at club stores. For printer paper, sign up for something like Staples Rewards and use that to get yours cheap. For regular office supplies, wait for back to school sales and stock up on what you’ll need then. You’ll save in the long run by stocking up when they’re cheap.

Furniture – Along the same lines of electronics, picking up furniture at a warehouse store should be on your “no-no” list. To find the deal you want on the pieces you need, check thrift stores and even your local Facebook buy/sell groups instead. If you absolutely must have a brand new item, wait for the furniture stores to have a themed sale, like a President’s Day or Memorial Day sale to get the best savings on new.

Bleach – Did you know that bleach is only good for about 6 months? After that it loses most of its disinfecting properties and can even turn your clothes yellow instead of white. Unless you use bleach every day, buying the large bottle at club prices doesn’t make sense. Instead, pick up a smaller sized bottle that you’ll be able to use before it goes bad.

what do you think? Do you agree with my list?

  • Blythe says:

    I like Huggies Baby wipes, and try as I might, I can never seem to get stocked up enough using the drugstore game! Costco runs a coupon every 4 months or so for $5 off the big boxes, making the natural care huggies wipes under 2 cents per wipe (a stock up price for me!). However, the regular price is over 2 cents a wipe, so normally I will pass unless I’m desperate for wipes, lol :). I have never found diapers their at my price point (even when they are “On sale”), so I have to agree with you their!

  • marlene says:

    i always buy my wipes at costco when they have a coupon. i never find those on sale. im not couponing like i used to so i rather save $5 on a box of diapers the deal with all the drugstore ecb and stuff

  • tony says:

    i dont ever shop or buy from wherehouses often , but every once in a blue moon i do get some of these items.. and ive got to say sometimes it is just as good of a deal, if not better. for example i sometimes get the bagged of fresh express salad, 3 lbs for only 1.99, work out yoga pants for 7.99, new balance workout shoes for 29.99, bear claws boots for 39, coach handbag and gucci handgag for 89.99. also got shrimp ( 31-35ct) 9,99 for 2 lb bag, bagged fish fillets cheap, and other good stuff like my gps and lg flat screen over the past few years.

  • I don't shop @ Walmart says:

    I think electronics is priced very comparable and their warranty is untouchable. We purchase big screen TV there, speakers, laptop, tablet.

  • marlene says:

    i gotta say i dont agree. i think here in so cal they never stock up on things so there is never enough to even get rewards. i was couponing alot but have gave up on that i never find what is on sale especially at target so i dont even waste gas anymore. i talking about diapers and wipes.

  • Kelly A. says:

    I’m with you on same things on this list, but others, I disagree. While I agree not all produce at Costco/Sam’s is a good deal, I always find the best organic deals at these stores. Organic greens at Costco are $3.49, while they are $4.49 at foods co or $5 for EB Farms at Albertsons’s. I get 10#’s of organic carrots for $4.49 (yes, we eat and juice a lot of carrots.) I’ve also heard people say that one of the best deals at warehouse stores is spices. While they are a better deal than the grocery store, usually, I find that the absolute best price on these is in Winco’s bulk section.

  • Jess says:

    I disagree on some of these, but especially produce. I make pies and buy A LOT of blueberries. When they’re not in season, Costco will have them at $10/18 oz. But when they are, it goes down to as little as 4.99/18 oz. So they definitely will fluctuate price with season and often this is the best deal I can find on bulk produce.

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