If for no other reason, warehouse stores are fun to go to on a Sunday afternoon and have lunch. As a teen I loved moving from aisle to aisle and tasting all of the interesting treats available at sample stations. There are two main warehouse stores with which I'm familiar--Costco and Sam's Club. Both have yearly membership fees. Both offer everything from tires and dog food to eclairs and Gouda.
Price per unit
At warehouse stores, it is easy to look at a case of an item priced at $10 and automatically think that it is a good deal. This is the reason I encourage you to bring a calculator to warehouse stores. Do the math and see if the price per unit is really a good deal or not.
- You can go to these types of stores and buy most of what you need for your household for a month. When we lived in a small town about an hour away from Memphis, we would drive in to visit my grandparents and make a stop at Sam's while in town.
- If you are a caterer, party planner, or frequent entertainer, these stores offer you many shortcuts and pre-made items. They carry serving pieces and disposable products, which are sometimes priced less per unit than they would be at another store with a coupon.
- If you work full time and do not enjoy cooking, they have great pre-made foods that are a little more exciting than what is offered at the grocery store.
- These stores have been the cheapest place I have found to buy dog food.
- Once you get in the store, you are much more likely to add other things to your cart that you may not need. "While we are here, we might as well get..."
- Storage can be a problem for people who live in smaller homes and apartments.
- If you are single, you may not go through a case of tuna fish in a year. Consider expiration dates and your needs when buying bulk items.
- Their hard surfaces and bright lights can be unpleasant for children or folks with chronic pain or sensory issues. The size of the store and amount of time it takes to walk through it can be difficult for people with limited mobility and can be hard for children to stay patient for the duration of the trip.
Ideas for shopping at warehouse
- Share a membership. Ask a friend if you could go with him/her to the warehouse store in return for a home cooked meal or other nicety. Families can sometimes get discounted rates to stores.
- Write a list of things you need and stick with the list.
- Go during off peak hours.
- Pack snacks and toys for the kids.
- Wear comfortable shoes.
- Bring your own bags or remember to pick up extra boxes at the front of the store to make transporting your goods to home easier.
- Calculate price per unit on items. Think about how much the same item costs at the grocery when considering if it is a good deal or not.
- Some of the best buys will be on items like dried beans, olive oil, vinegar, and sugar.