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Getting the Most From Your Warehouse Club Membership
Memberships at a warehouse club like Costco or Sam’s Club can be pricey. Experts offer some ideas for getting the most value from your membership:
Split a membership. Often you get two cards for each membership. That makes it easy to split a membership with a family member or friend. If you don’t want to share the membership, consider splitting the cost of some items with someone else. For example, you might not use four loaves of bread or three tubes of goat cheese. But you probably know someone who would be happy to buy half.
Set up storage. Warehouse clubs are famous – or notorious – for selling items in bulk at a price that is very low per-item. Of course, you need someplace to put the extra paper towels, cans of beans or garbage bags until you need them. Find an out-of-the-way place somewhere like your garage or basement where you can stockpile non-perishable items. Then remember where you put them.
Consider a freezer. Warehouse clubs often sell meat or seafood in large packages. That’s great if you have a large family or are buying for an event. But if not, you can still save by dividing the meat into more manageable packages and freezing it. A small freezer chest doesn’t cost much – and you probably can buy it at the warehouse club – but it provides you with safe storage for a variety of foods. Make sure to wrap the food properly before you put it in the freezer, and mark it with both the type and amount of food, and the date. Then as you put food in, move the older food to the top of the pile.
Buy gas. Most warehouse clubs have gas stations with prices for members that are far below the prices at other stations.
Try the club brand. Most chains have a club brand – Costco’s is Kirkland, for example – that often has lower prices than name-brand items offered at the club. Give the club brand a try. The quality is often comparable to name brand, and sometimes better. In fact, the club brand often is made by a name-brand manufacturer and then rebranded.
Go often. Some items are always available at a warehouse club. But some are seasonal; when they are gone, they are gone. Generally seasonal items appear well in advance of the event. Holiday décor, for example, might arrive in the stores in mid-November or even earlier. So it can pay to stop in periodically just to see what is being featured.
Expand your thinking. You probably know that warehouse clubs offer big savings on alcoholic beverages, prescriptions, jewelry and some furniture and appliances. But did you know you also can get good prices on glasses and hearing aids? You can use your membership to get a price break on a car, on travel or on home improvements. You even can buy a casket or funeral urn at a discount.