Every Day

Are Warehouse Clubs Worth The Money You Pay For Membership?

This is a question that I have been wrestling with for a long time. I wasn’t going to renew my membership a year ago and then I did. 

My membership is due to be renewed tomorrow. I have decided to not renew it. After keeping track of the mostly basic items that I bought like olive oil, rice, floss, liquid soap refills, etc., I have determined that I didn’t have enough savings to even equal the $55. membership fee I paid for the year.

There are so many good options for getting rock bottom prices in other stores and on Amazon that I don’t need the warehouse club anymore.

I can get meat cheaper through Zaycon Fresh, bulk sale buying from Niagara Produce, grocery store sales, and my local meat market.

Produce is cheaper at Aldi’s and Niagara Produce and I don’t have to buy it in such large quantities.

My Super Walmart carries a lot of bulk items at great prices. Krusteaz pancake mix is one that I buy there all the time in a huge bag. It stays nice and fresh for us because I transfer it to an airtight container.  

Best Buy and Amazon give B.J.’s a run for their money on electronics. B.J.’s would be great for tires but they do not offer the off size ones that we need.

They offer a very limited supply of vitamins. But we get ours either at Walmart or Puritan Pride.

Shampoo and conditioner is cheap at Walmart or with a coupon at a drugstore sale. My latest stockpile of those was built for free at drugstores. The same goes for deodorant and toothpaste. 
It used to be the best price for Hubby’s razor blade refills. But now so many places have refills like Daylogic at Rite Aid that fit Hubby’s Mach 3 razor. Dorco and other online shopping places beat those prices too.

They do carry discounted gift cards but there are many places on line where you can get discounted ones.  

I will miss my discounted stamps but I only save pennies on them and we use them rarely anymore.

They have a good book selection but my library is free.

Except for socks, I don’t buy clothing there. Socks I can buy cheap at Walmart or Target.

I finally realized that I don’t need the warehouse stores anymore.

How about you? Are you still shopping at the warehouse store? Are you actually saving money above what you pay for your membership. If you are not sure, track it.        

18 replies on “Are Warehouse Clubs Worth The Money You Pay For Membership?”

No. I think they cause you to overspend. It is better to find a friend who has the membership and get just the one bargain thing you need if you must shop there.

I have a Costco membership , but I only buy certain things that I know are cheaper then buying at a grocery with a coupon! The best thing about a Costco membership is they have their own credit card where you earn money back. Not just at Costco but everywhere!!! We put everything we can on the card and pay it in full every month. I just received my voucher for last year and we earned $763.00!! Considering the membership is $60.00, we made $703.00 for buying stuff we would buy anyways. We even pay a few bills on it. And don't let me forget, they always have the cheapest gas!!!

Hi Liz, this is Chris. Thank you so much for doing a post about this issue. I had the same problem last year when Costco decided to raise their membership price from $55 to $60. I wasn't sure whether to renew or not since we don't really get the $$ out of it, unless we need something like tires. I did decide to go ahead and renew it for now, b/c most of the time when I go, I go with my daughter, and it is an outing together. I am thinking when the time is right, maybe I will see if we can get the membership for her family as a Christmas present, and then I can go with her when she goes. We can safely afford the membership for now and I will re-evaluate every year. When we lived in our other city, my mother in law had gotten us a Sam's Club membership every year for Christmas through the hospital she worked at, and later retired from. The Sam's was in my usual area where I did grocery shopping and I got all my gas there and they were always .20/gal cheaper. About the time we moved, she told us she would not be able to get us a membership anymore, so we decided to join Costco to try it. It is not in an area where I am usually, so don't really get a lot of gas benefit like I did, and the Sam's that is close by does not have a gas station.

I will be interested to see what other people think about this issue and their reasoning about whether to keep their warehouse club membership. I have not seen this covered on some of the other blogs I read, so I am very grateful you covered it, and your reasons for not renewing make sense.

Hi Chris,

Thanks for sharing on this subject. For me, gas is cheaper at my grocery store with points or at another gas station where I get a discount.

Don't have one close enough to justify the trip. Plus, I am so cheap when I shop at other stores, the warehouse stores can't offer me any better deals.

We have an executive Costco membership & more than make up the difference. (For example, this year we received a $700 Costco cash card for being executive members with a purchase). We also find their travel deals to be better than anywhere else we can find for certain vacations.

That said, Costco is my primary grocery store. It's not cheaper on all items, but for consistent produce quality when feeding 4 people A LOT of produce, it makes sense. I can do a better job of evaluating things like meat & dairy, and different stores have regular weekly rotations that are cheaper. I typically don't have time to go to multiple stores, so go to Costco & then the produce stand for a few things that are harder to find at Costco.

We also buy gas there, and it is significantly cheaper than anywhere else. Other things we buy: kids clothing (socks, athletic pants, jeans, shirts). We buy 90% of our kids clothing at Costco, and it's a better deal than anywhere, unless you are buying used.

Wine is probably the other biggest deal for us. Our local Costco (we're in Northern California, so close to Napa) offers really high end wine for huge discounts. It's not all the time, and they are constantly rotating stock, but they will buy a few cases from local wineries & sell them at 50%+ off of the standard price.

But, for everything, there is a season. We're in the season in life where it makes sense & we get a lot of value out of the membership. I'm sure that will change when the boys are out of the house.

Hi Hawaii Planner,

It sounds like your membership is working well for you. Thanks for sharing. I used to love getting produce in bulk when I had children at home but not now that there is only two of us.

We used to shop at Sam’s, the only club around here and it’s an hour away.
Then we had 3 really horrible customer service problems and my husband pretty much refused to go back. So I gave my card to my brother and he used it until it expired.
Before Aldi, I did get the best price on produce and cheese and most baking things at Sam’s. Now I prefer Aldi as I can buy whatever quantity I like.

I would only go to bj's when they ran their special get 3 months free. They now changed to $5.00 for 3 months and want a credit card. We would get allergy meds at excellent price. Other wise just the two of us do better at aldis and walmart and sale items at giant. All in same shopping area. Have a good day Joyce

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