Wholesale clubs are so hot right now that you might have two or more shops operating in your city. These clubs charge you an annual fee and give you the chance to buy products in bulk at lower prices. Some, including Costco, let you fill prescriptions and use other services without becoming a member first. While you might think that everything sold in these stores costs less, that isn’t always true. Being a savvy shopper helps save money at wholesale clubs.
Shop the Perimeter
Most grocery stores, including wholesale clubs, put the items that you need around the perimeter. This includes staples like milk, eggs and meats. The idea is that you will walk through each of the aisles to reach those items and spend more money on things you don’t need. Jonna Galla Weppler of Family Circle recommends that you shop only the perimeter and avoid those center aisles.
Do Your Math
The next time you visit a wholesale club, do your math. Instead of looking at the cost of each item, figure out the cost per use. You may find that you can save money on certain items when you buy from a grocery store instead. For example, a large bottle of laundry detergent from a wholesale club might cost $.72 per wash but only cost $.64 per wash when you buy a smaller bottle on sale from the grocery store.
Buy Only What You Can Use
While wholesale clubs can help you save money, buying more than you need won’t help you save. Many shoppers have a tendency to buy more than they need or want because of the great deals they see. This is especially true of fresh foods like produce, meats and cheeses. If you buy 10 pounds of ground beef and throw out five pounds, you just lost money. When you do buy more of a perishable product, consider freezing it to extend its life.
Stick to a Budget
Those low prices charged by wholesale clubs may make you forget about how quickly those prices can add up. Aaron Crowe of Christian Science Monitor suggests that you keep an eye on your purchases as you shop. You might decide ahead of time how much you want to spend and keep a running total in your head to avoid going over your budget.
Look for Additional Discounts
Many people shop from wholesale clubs because they want to save money on soda, meat, cereal and other products. Savvy shoppers know that they can save even more with discounts on additional products and merchandise. Look for stores that have an eye doctor on staff. You can usually get a full eye exam and new glasses or contains for less than other doctors charge. Some shops partner with other companies to sell discounted tickets to amusement parks, airline flights and even live shows. You may get a discounted rate on a hotel room or rental car too. Savvy shoppers know how to save big when shopping at wholesale clubs.