The old axiom in business is that, if you want to make money, you have to spend. If you shop at warehouse stores however, you actually have to spend money in order to save money.
That’s the premise behind belonging to warehouse clubs like Costco Wholesale, Sam’s Club or BJ’s Wholesale Club, warehouse stores that are member wholly and charge the in order to allow members to save a lot of money on bulk purchases. These huge warehouse stores rationalize that their customers won’t mind spending a little extra money on an annual fee if they’re getting deeply discounted products and, according to First Research, a market analysis firm, that rationalization is paying off as warehouse clubs are today a nearly $400 billion industry.
Of course just like shopping at a regular supermarket, it pays to shop at a warehouse store with a little bit of forethought and planning. If you don’t, you might find that you just spent $150 on things that you really don’t need or that will “go bad” before you can actually use them. With that in mind, below are some basic rules from veteran warehouse club shoppers that should help you to not just save money but save a lot of money. Enjoy.
Rule 1: Always bring a list. Just like shopping in a regular supermarket, having a list when you shop at a warehouse club will keep you focused on what you need and help you avoid overspending. The fact is, with warehouse clubs you’re buying a large volume but paying a smaller price per unit, meaning that you’re still spending a significant amount of money up front. If you waste your money on things that you don’t usually buy you will certainly save money per product but spend a lot more than you would have at a regular store.
Rule 2: Try to avoid perishable items. Unless you have a very large family, buying 5 gallons of milk probably isn’t a good idea. The same thing can be said for meat, cheese, produce and anything else that can spoil. If you have a large freezer and are well equipped to freeze, can and/or bottle all your fresh produce, you should be okay. Besides that however, purchasing perishable items in bulk is very risky.
Rule 3: If something you use all the time goes on sale, stock up. Warehouse clubs have coupons and markdown items just like regular supermarkets. Coupon Sherpa is a good source for these discounts, and you’ll find up-to-date Costco coupons here. If you keep an eye on warehouse club flyers and also have a keen eye when you are actually in the warehouse club shopping, you will undoubtedly find products that are marked down significantly. If these are products that you actually like a lot and use all the time, take advantage of those savings by purchasing as many as you can, as long as you are sure to use them in the future.
Rule 4: Have a good idea about which products are cheaper when purchased in bulk. Marvin Williams, a Costco super shopper from San Jose, California, says that “generally, electronics, wine and food staples offer the best value.” Williams also said that, when buying blue all, make sure it’s staple foods that won’t spoil like cereal, pasta and other dry foods.
Rule 5: Don’t be afraid to ask for a price reduction. Like many supermarkets and other retailers, if you purchase something and then see it go on sale in the next week you should probably go back and ask for an adjustment or reduction on your price.
These 5 excellent Rules will help you to save even more the next time you go to your favorite warehouse club. As for us, we’re quite fond of those big cheese balls but always have to throw away a lot because it dries out before we can eat it all.