Just Say “NO” to Wholesale Clubs

I do so many little things on a day to day basis, to try to save every little penny that I can, or to earn any little penny that I can. I have to, or else we run out of money by month’s end. Some people don’t have to, but they’d like to be able to give more to needy people (this is what we plan to do when we’re finally financially free). But until then, here’s one simple way that I save money, and you can do it too!
Just say “NO” to Club Memberships
Costco, Sams, BJ’s, etc. They really aren’t worth the membership fee, *if* you’re like me.  
(If you’re not like me, then please stop reading now, or you may feel frustrated with me on this post, and not understand where I’m coming from)

The following reasons are why I suggest NOT getting a wholesale club membership.
I use coupons.

Sure, the wholesale clubs have a few things that you can get at a small discount by buying in bulk, but if you’re deep into couponing and freebies (like I am) then it’s really not worth it.  Those tiny discounts, often only 5-10% off, aren’t worth anything when you save 50-100% on a daily basis. I save way more by clipping coupons, reading weekly ads, and shopping at grocery stores that double and triple coupons.
I don’t have room for bulk in my little house.

My house is small.  And with 5 people in it, we have very little space for storage.  My kitchen cabinets are limited and my refrigerator/freezer is small.  We have no garage, no pantry area, and no deep freezer.  Those huge boxes of cereal don’t fit in my cabinets.  The huge jug of milk doesn’t fit in my refrigerator.  All those Bagel Bites won’t fit in my freezer.  That big huge box of diapers won’t fit in my baby’s tiny nursery. So buying in bulk is just not an option.  
We don’t eat that much.

The produce is a great price, but it gets brown, bruised or moldy before we can finish it off.  We get sick and tired of all those Veggie Straws and they sit on our countertop (^no storage space for them, remember?) for weeks on end.  And all those yogurts expire before we eat them all.  As a family of four (the littlest one is just starting purees), buying so much food is wasteful.  We simply can’t eat it.  It’s just too much.
The other items sold there aren’t often purchased by us.

Computers, TV’s, mattresses, and even clothing and household items aren’t common purchases for us.  So buying a membership to a club that offers discounts on these things isn’t helpful.  When we do buy those type of things, they’re on sale at other stores, where we can usually find the same thing at a competitive sales price anyway.  And even if it’s not as cheap as the wholesale club, it’s usually not such a difference that makes me wish I had a membership at a wholesale club to get it.
Some things I do buy in bulk, but not at a wholesale club.

I do stock up on some things.  If you can handle buying in bulk, then great, but I recommend stocking up on several copies of the newspaper inserts and then go shopping at your regular grocery store (see my Couponing 101 series).  You’ll save much more than buying the same things at a wholesale club.

Exceptions?  Of course.

There are things that are worth getting at wholesale clubs if you don’t have time for couponing, or if there is something you just really like that can only be found there.  For instance, I absolutely LOVE Costco’s Kirkland baby wipes.  Can’t get them anywhere else, and I can’t find any other baby wipes that are worth the pretty penny, so I will ask my parents to buy them for me when they go.  Also, those nifty squeeze applesauce pouches – you know, the ones that cost an arm and a leg at the grocery store for a box of 6… yep, they’re much cheaper in bulk, and we eat them nearly every day, so I get my parents to buy those there too.  But I wouldn’t buy a membership in order to get them, still not worth it.  Just sayin’.

3 thoughts on “Just Say “NO” to Wholesale Clubs

  1. Where we live we have pretty much every store available to us, so we started couponing a few months ago. We have gotten so much stuff for free or almost free by following sales and couponing that we no longer go to Costco. We used to spend a few hundred bucks at Costco every month and never knew what we spent it on.

  2. This may be a true and frugal tip in some parts of the country, but in other areas the clubs are a great saver.
    Up here there aren't ever times when coupons are doubled or tripled.
    Our local newspaper only carries one of the coupon inserts – 2 if there is a major holiday coming.
    There are not national chain grocery stores here except Target and Walmart and we just got a CVS, and the local chain has five stores in our city, so they don't really care about being competitively priced necessarily, except in relation to Target. In order to do that, they simply make the prices a 2 -3 cents cheaper on the same things Walmart and Target have on sale that week. So no variety and the fuel cost to run here or there isn't ultimately worth it. The closest bigger chain store is about 4-5 hours drive away.
    So it does make sense to shop at Sam's if you are more in our situation. Not complaining, just mentioning that many have a lot to be thankful about in this regard. I'll keep my low crime rate, peace and quiet, down to earth, friendly, hard working people who still have values though. That trade off is well worth it:)

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