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What I Sometimes, Always, and Never Buy at Sam’s Club

There are some great deals to be found at Sam’s Club, but if you aren’t careful, you can end up paying more for items at Sam’s than at your local grocery store. I purchase some items at Sam’s on a regular basis while there are other items that are always cheaper at the grocery store.

In order to get the best deals at Sam’s you have to know your prices!

Before you buy anything,

  • Write down all of the items that you purchase on a regular basis and the price you typically pay at your local grocery store.
  • Take your list to Sam’s.
  •  Search for all of the items on your list, and write down the price of each item and the number that comes in each package.
  •  When you are done, figure out the unit cost by dividing the price by the unit.
    Example:
    Butter at Sam’s – 4 lbs @ $11.23
    $11.23/4 = $2.80 per pound
  • Now compare that price to what you would pay at the grocery store.

The normal price for a pound of butter at my grocery store is $4.29. That means it would be cheaper to by butter at Sam’s. However, my grocery store usually has a pound of butter go on sale for $2.50.

In this case, I try to get enough butter at the sale price that will last me until the next sale. But if I run out of butter before the sale, I know I can get it for a decent price at Sam’s.


Here is another example:

Cheddar Cheese at Sam’s – 32 oz @ $4.88
32 oz is equivalent to 4 blocks of an 8 oz package of cheese that is typically sold at the grocery store.
$4.88/4 = $1.22 per 8 oz of cheese
The cheapest an 8 oz block of cheese goes on sale is $2.15 per 8 oz.

In this case, Sam’s is clearly the cheapest when it comes to cheddar cheese.

Keep in mind that Sam’s prices do change. Sometimes, the cheese is $5 (which is still a great deal)! I just try to keep my eyes out and make sure I’m still getting the best deal possible.

 

Do you ever wonder what is a good deal at Sam's Club? Find out what is worth purchasing there and what to skip.

What I Always Purchase:

1. Water Bottles

40 bottles @ $3.98 (10 cents each)

2. Block Cheddar Cheese

32 oz @ $4.88 ($1.22 for 8 oz)3. Sausage 2 lbs @$4.98 ($2.50 for 1 lb)

4. Milk

1 gallon @ $2.94

5. Vinegar

2 gallons @ $3.98 (1 gallon for $2)

6. Pictures and Photo Cards
The price varies between the sizes of photos, but I have found that Sam’s is cheaper than anywhere else I have been.
 
 

What I Sometimes Purchase:

1. Flour
10 lbs @ $4.38 (5 lbs for $2.19)
I can get 5 lbs of flour for $1.99 on sale at the grocery store, but it doesn’t go on sale very often.
 
2. Sugar
10 lbs @ $4.87
I can sometimes get 10 lbs of sugar for $3.99 n sale at grocery store. If I don’t want to wait for a sale
on sugar, I know that I can get it at Sam’s for a decent price.
 
3. Produce
Sam’s prices are comparable to sale prices at the grocery store. If you go through a lot of produce, Sam’s may be a good place to get your fruit and vegetables. Since we are a small family, we do not go through produce very quickly and much of it would be wasted, so I mostly buy produce on sale at the grocery store.
 
4. Butter
4 lbs @ $11.23 (1 lb for $2.80) 
 
5. Frozen Chicken
The price varies, but it is typically cheaper than $2 a pound at Sam’s. Sometimes I can get it for this same price at my local grocery store. However, if there is no sale, and I need chicken, I will go ahead and purchase chicken at Sam’s.
 
6. Gasoline
Most of the time Sam’s gasoline is a few cents cheaper, however this is not always the case. I try to make a mental note of the gas prices before I go to Sam’s to make sure that it is cheaper than the other gas stations before purchasing gas there.
 
7. Special Occasion Cakes
We love Sam’s cakes! They are always moist and have the right amount of sweetness in the frosting. However, the smallest size is half a sheet which can often be too big for small gatherings.

 

What I Never Purchase:

1. Bread
With BOGO (buy-one-get-one) sales at the grocery store, bread is always more expensive at Sam’s.
 
2. Chips
Just like bread, chips go on a BOGO sale often and are cheaper at the grocery store.
 
3. Huggies and Pampers Diapers
It took me quiet a while to figure out how to get deals on diapers, but after months of watching the ads, I have been able to get diapers for under 15 cents each (or less) by matching grocery store sales with coupons. Huggies and Pampers diapers are over 25 cents each even at Sam’s.
 
4. Most Packaged Grocery Items
It may seem like a good deal to get that giant package of coffee or paper plates, but when you divide the price by the unit, you will often be paying the same or more than what you would pay if you shopped the sales at your grocery store.
 
5. Meat
Sam’s actually has great prices on meat from what I have seen. However, we found that the quality is not the same as our local grocer’s, so we spend a little extra on meat at the grocery store.


6. Coffee Creamer
Like bread and chips, creamer goes on a BOGO sale often at the grocery store, plus there is more of a variety of flavors to choose from at the grocery store.

 

Is Sam’s Club worth the membership?

I think it depends. If you want to slash your grocery budget, I believe there are better ways to do so. However, if you normally do not shop the sales at your grocery store, Sam’s Club could offer savings compared to the regular prices.

 

P.S. Looking for more ways to save money on your grocery budget? Check out this online course, Grocery University*.

It is an audio course that covers everything you need to know about cutting that grocery budget. Plus there are 40 pages of helpful printables with extra tips and a list of rock bottom prices!

 

Other Posts You Will Enjoy:

Simple Coupon Tips

3 Extra Ways to Save at the Store

10 Ways to Save Money without Coupons

 

 

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4 Comments


  1. //

    Some great points on making sure you compare prices. It's kind of how you can get tricked in to thinking it's always cheaper to buy in bulk. I love Sam's but we pick and chose like you do. The reason I don't buy butter at Sam's is because it comes in a block instead individually wrapped in to quarters. So it's just a convenience sort of thing for me.


    1. //

      Comparing prices really makes a difference! A whole block of butter would be annoying and hard to work with. I wouldn't get it like that either! The butter at our Sam's comes in quarters; it seems like they are different depending on the area of the country you live in.


  2. //

    Like you, I'm picky about what I buy at Sam's. I like the Instant Deals, of course! I always buy Nestle chocolate chips at Sam's. It's $10 for a 72 ounce bag, which works out to $1.50 for a regular size bag. That's an amazing price, especially when you bake with chocolate chips as much as I do! 🙂


    1. //

      I should have added chocolate chips to the list! Yes, they are a great deal. I did notice that during the holidays, the Sam's that I go to had raised the price to over $12. I ended up getting cheaper chocolate chips in the regular size at the grocery store since they were having their baking sale. But normally Sam's is great for chocolate chips and other baking goods!

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