ďAre warehouse memberships worth it?Ē I explored this question several weeks ago, right here
on FatWallet.com. I asked scores of coupon queens and regular people if they belonged to a warehouse club Ė such as Samís, BJís, and Costco Ė and if so, why they thought the membership was worth it to them. Researching that blog post really got me thinking that I needed to give my local Samís Club another try, which is exactly what I did.
Three weeks ago, my husband and I drove over to Samís Club and went straight to the service desk. The nice lady at the counter explained the different types of memberships and benefits and costs of each one. Since I am self-employed, we opted for the Business Plus membership, which is $100 per year. The Business Basic plan is $35, but the additional benefits and coupons with the Plus membership sealed the deal for us.
I was very happy to see that Samís Club has electronic coupons
! When you first walk into the store, there is a kiosk where you scan your card and your list of coupons prints out. There are certain coupons that are available for all members and extra coupons for those with the Plus membership. On my first shopping trip, I used $10.25 of these coupons.
Here are some of the great deals that I found:
- Classico Pasta Sauce Ė This is the only brand that my family eats, and it doesnít go on sale very often. Coupons for Classico are far and few between. The most recent one was $1 off of 3 jars, which isnít very impressive. Typically, if I can get Classico pasta sauce for $1.50 to $2 per jar, itís a decent deal. Samís Club had a 3-pack of the large 32 ounce jars (the grocery store only sells the 28 oz. jars) for $7.48, plus there was an electronic coupon for $3 off! That means 3 extra-large jars for only $4.48!
- Tall Kitchen Garbage Bags Ė Is it just me, or is the price of trash bags just ridiculously expensive? I almost never buy the brand name ones because of the cost, but the store brands sometimes donít hold up in the quality department. Years ago, when I had a Samís membership through my former employer, I would ALWAYS buy my kitchen garbage bags there. Their house brand Ė Memberís Mark Ė was reasonably priced and I never had a bag break on me. Samís had a box of 150 bags for $9.52 with a coupon of $1.50, which made the final price $8.02 for 150 bags! Iím pretty sure I spent close to that on a box of 50 garbage bags that I bought at Staples last month. Thatís a fantastic deal even without the coupon and the quality is still there.
- Big Ticket Electronics Ė My husband and I knew that our big screen TV was on its last leg. There was a nice yellowish spot covering a good part of the screen and making the blue sky look green and our favorite TV characters look like they had jaundice. We had already been checking out flat screen TV prices at Best Buy and HH Gregg, so we had an idea of what it was going to take to replace it. Wow! We were blown away with the great prices on Samís TVs! We could easily buy a bigger and better TV at Samís for LESS than what we would pay at the electronics store. That fact alone was worth the price of the membership.
- Here are some other benefits that Iím looking forward to taking advantage of in the near future: pharmacy discounts (important for us because we have a high-deductible health plan), click and pull service for business members (order online and pick up in the store), tire discounts and free services like flat tire replacement and battery testing in the automotive center, and great prices on contacts and glasses. I also noticed good prices on their personal care products and over-the-counter medications, including my allergy tablets.
I wonít be buying ALL of my groceries at Samís Club, however there are certainly some items I will purchasing there on a regular basis. As I stated in my previous blog post, you really need to go and check out the prices on the things you buy for your family on a regular basis and see if a warehouse club makes sense for YOU.