Everyone has that friend, the one who slides into the conversation the fact they saved big dollars at Big Box Store X – and openly wonders why you’re not doing the same. Well, as with most things in life (especially those regarding your money), there are pros and cons to membership with warehouse or wholesale shopping clubs.
- Shopping clubs require an annual fee. If you visit these big box stores once or twice a year, the price may not make fiscal sense.
- Buying in bulk is one of the draws for many people. On the flips side, if there are only two people in your house, the volume may not suit your style.
- If you’re a coupon-clipper, know that most shopping clubs do not run sales or accept manufacturer coupons. (These clubs buy and sell in bulk to offer lower prices.)
- On your next commute, note the number of major chains along the route. There are probably three or four Supermarket ABC compared to maybe one shopping club. How essential is the convenience to you?
- Perks! Shopping clubs also offer discounts on healthcare (screenings) and auto (gas, maintenance). You can drop off your vehicle and shop for groceries – two birds, one stone – and save time.
- The big box stores generally have more space, which means less cart dueling in the aisles. If you prefer to shop in relative peace, more room to move around means less, “pardon me” and “excuse me.”
- Are you looking to make a big-ticket purchase – electronics, for example? The cost of an annual membership could play into a significant discount when plunking down cash for that new big-screen TV with a surround sound system.
- Shopping clubs also have about 33% lower costs on groceries-in-bulk. Put another way: If you spend $150 a week on groceries at your local supermarket, a membership club could save you more than $2,000 each year – after the annual fee.
So, what’s the bottom line: It’s two-fold. If you have a large family, the grocery savings can account for the upfront club fee within the first month. On the other hand, if there isn’t a shopping club near you, or you have a small household, trekking to the club may not be worth your time (or money).