Q: Buy in bulk from BJs and Costco's or stock up from Walmart and Target etc.

lilywow
30
I generally don't believe in buying in bulk from these wholesale warehouses and paying annual membership fees. The discounts are generally only about 20% off the retail value. So you are able to go there and buy anything at anytime, but if you are not buying atleast once a week, the membership fee swallows up all your discounts. The money saving tactic that has worked for me when it comes to groceries and household goods is to read the weekly circulars and find deals for items that I need on a day to day basis. For example, toilet paper, toothpaste, soaps and shampoos and paper towels. I have atleast 6 months supply of toilet paper and I paid atleast 40-60% off the retail value while saving the annual membership fee which averages $60 per year.This system works for me because I enjoy saving money on household stuff. Buying in bulk can really drain your wallet. Even at 20% off the retail value, you are generally required to buy in larger quantity (3 pack of bathroom cleaners, or 10 packs of gum) 
lilywow (rep: 8.31k) posted Apr 12, 2012
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gangstabarbie
I agree with you 100%. Its not worth paying that yearly fee to bjs or Costco, especially if you come from a small family. I would opt for Walmart over target !
gangstabarbie (rep: 9.65k) posted Apr 12, 2012
20
fluffy
On the other hand, if you do have more than a tiny family, warehouse purchases don't even seem like buying in bulk - just family size! I have the Costco Executive membership that costs $110/year, but gives an annual rebate of 2% of purchases. I've never made back less than the cost of the membership. That's not even counting the cash back from using the Costco Amex card.

Don't forget that Costco and other clubs sell a lot more than just groceries. They have the cheapest gasoline in my area AND I get 3% back using the Amex card. That's about 12 cents off per gallon from what is already the best price around me.

Almost every time I check the price of a Costco item on Amazon, Costco comes out cheaper, even with the tax. On things like TVs, Costco automatically gives you a 2-year warranty for no extra charge.

They have a truly no-hassle return policy, which is really useful if I find myself disappointed with a purchase, even more than a year after I bought it. I've bought things that failed within the warranty period, but instead of going through the hassle and expense of returning the item to the manufacturer and waiting forever a repair or replacement, I just brought them back to Costco for a full refund, no questions asked. I never have to worry about being stuck with something that turned out to be a disappointment.

Certain things like paper products are generally never a good deal at any warehouse club, so I chase after sales at other stores for them.

If there are just a few things you would like to buy from time to time at a warehouse club, they all sell gift cards (only to members) that don't require a membership to use them. If you have a friend with a membership, pay them to pick up a gift card for you. There's no markup on the purchase of the card or on the goods purchased with it at Costco. Some other clubs may impose a surcharge on non-member purchases.

Oh, and one more thing - anyone can purchase from the Costco pharmacy without a membership. They have very good prices if you don't have prescription coverage.
fluffy (rep: 2.17k) posted Apr 13, 2012
20
mdgirl
We go for the Bulk, restaurant depot and castco.
mdgirl (rep: 6.68k) posted Apr 13, 2012
00
nthsll
Were meat not cheaper at Sams than anywhere else in the area, I might let my membership go. The rest of the stuff, I agree...the price difference just isn't all that great.

I really saw the benefit when I had 2 teenage boys eating every meal at home. Not so much anymore.
nthsll (rep: 12.4k) posted Apr 13, 2012
00
canis444
Thanks for the advice. I've been considering going the Sam's/Costco route for a while, but wasn't sure if it would be worth it. This helps.

I just have one question...where do you store all that toilet paper?? I always want to stock up when I find it on sale, but I only have so much under-the-sink space.
canis444 (rep: 263) posted Apr 13, 2012
10
lilywow
@ Canis444, I have a basement.
lilywow (rep: 8.31k) posted Apr 13, 2012
20
canis444
Gotcha, that makes sense. Toilet paper and paper towels are probably the only thing I have trouble stocking up on, just because of how much room they take up. Thanks for the reply!
canis444 (rep: 263) posted Apr 13, 2012
00
heyimdennise
We have a Costco membership, I do love shopping there, but where I find we get the most savings is from the gas station at Costco in my town it's generally 10 cents cheaper than anywhere else, and the costco is really close to our house.
heyimdennise (rep: 7.87k) posted Apr 14, 2012
10