Is Costco or Sam's Club worth it for a family of only 3?


#1

We’re just trying to figure out if we should pay a membership to get mainly our diapers and wipes there, as well as some household grocery items. Oh, and gas is supposedly discounted at Sam’s. However, some of those bulk items seem to be so massive and we don’t want to just start over-buying, thinking we’re saving money but not really.

Would we really save money on baby items and/or groceries, or not?


#2

Question: Are their item (other than the impending baby items) that you use alot of. What I mean is, do you by alot of a certain type of food, paper product:rolleyes:, etc. If you say yes, then a warehouse club, if it was close, would make sense.

For a single person, like me, it does not make sense, but I know families of 2 and 3 that belong to those type of clubs.

PF


#3

We have a family of 3 and LOVE Sam’s.


#4

We are a household of three and we have been members for years. We save on all of our paper products, cereal and can goods. The only issue you may have is do you have storage space? We buy a case of noodle soup at one time, and that isn’t the only canned good that we get. At Christmas time, we get some gifts there. Prices on fiction books are great. We only go once a month to once every six weeks. This is not a place to do your regular shopping.


#5

I have had a Sam’s membership for years, as a household of one. Now I’m married and we are two. I have found it worth it.

I did get discounts on gas, which add up. And, I shop for lots of things besides food there-- I do Christmas shopping at Sam’s. They have books that are sometimes half of the regular price at bookstores, and we’re talking current books including best sellers. Clothes, like sweat pants, socks, and all those little items that you need from time to time. I get Christmas wrapping paper there. CD’s and DVD’s and ink cartridges for my printer. I get food and paper products and things like shampoo. I get film/digital photos developed there too. Birthday cakes and holiday party foods.

Lots of things that definitely add up to more than $35 in savings over a year. You just have to be a comparison shopper. You might also consider going in with other families to share the bulk items and costs.


#6

I would highly recommend Costco. I was a memeber for years even while I was single and just had the little freezer on top of the fridge I was saving more than enough money to justify the membership. Now that I’m married we’ve moved up to the Executive membership that pays a rebate at the end of the year.


#7

When DS was younger - Costco was great for the diapers.

Now we mainly use it for printing pictures (best prices around)

It is 3 minutes drive from our home, so easy to hop in and out.

Birthday cakes, cheese, yogurt, milk, books, DVDS, clothes, multivitamins, folic acid, prescription glasses, film, batteries are all a good price there. Clothes especially are good quality. Glasses are designer and reasonably priced.
Also bought my dig.camera there.

WE still have membership - but I find that given the amount or time we need to spend there in line to get out, it is not good. ( I tend to weigh in my time as well)


#8

BTW - if you go to Sam’s (I’ve no Costco, no experience there) and ask, they should give you what amounts to a “free pass” - letting you come in and shop once to see if it will be worth it.

I forgot to mention, the snack bar is the best cheap lunch in town! Good prices on tires, dog food, wine :slight_smile:

Shopping at odd times, like early Tuesday mornings - can make the lines much shorter.


#9

Savings varies strangely as Costco.

I can usually get cases of Coke cheaper on sale at the grocery store. I’m similarly unimpressed with the gas prices (especially considering the headache of swiping my membership card, then needing to swipe the debit card). Major appliances are not impressively priced either.

But diapers, Mobil 1 oil, paper products, detergents, shampoo, toiletries, casual clothes, milk and some other grocieries are way worth it.

You just have to know what stuff is a deal and what isn’t.


#10

[quote=manualman]Savings varies strangely as Costco.

I can usually get cases of Coke cheaper on sale at the grocery store. I’m similarly unimpressed with the gas prices (especially considering the headache of swiping my membership card, then needing to swipe the debit card). Major appliances are not impressively priced either.

But diapers, Mobil 1 oil, paper products, detergents, shampoo, toiletries, casual clothes, milk and some other grocieries are way worth it.

You just have to know what stuff is a deal and what isn’t.
[/quote]

So you’re saying you want to be my personal shopper, right? :slight_smile:


#11

We save more money shopping at Aldi that doesn’t require a membership. Once we went to witness the “amazing” savings at Sam’s and noticed things were either more expensive than Aldi or at best, the same price as Aldi. There is more of a selection at Sam’s, but I only need one brand of tea bag and chicken noodle soup :slight_smile: If you have an Aldi in your town and dismissed it, try it again. They have their own brands, but they are of the highest quality (we even like their brands more than the national brands). They cut down on overhead expenses to offer great prices :thumbsup:


#12

If you are a family of 3 that runs its own business, on the side or full time, Sam’s is a godsend. They have dental assistance, prescription cuts, cheap web site help, and raft of other things.


#13

DH and I have a Costco membership. We love it, and it’s just the two of us. The meat, fish and produce are terrific (and well priced), they have good deals on a lot of the non-perishables and toiletries that we use, and we love only having to buy toilet paper and paper towels a few times per year (we stash a lot in our garage).

Some great buys we’ve recently found: polar fleece pants for me, $9.99/pair; 7-lb pack of all-natural chicken breasts, about $18; 2.5 lb canister of jumbo cashews, $9.99 (cashews are usually in the $6-$7/lb range), 6-can pack of diced tomatoes, $3.79.


#14

I know one family who has a card and everyone in the family uses it because they give the person with the card a list or go with her to buy. To me this is dishonest, and I don’t care how much I would save, it is not worth the dishonesty.


#15

We get the most value out of our Sam’s card through film developing. I’m guessing you might be taking a roll or two of that new baby, perhaps?:smiley: Their film developing is the cheapest I’ve seen.

Since I’ve started freezer/batch cooking, I find it’s worth it to purchase things I wouldn’t normally buy in the larger quantities available at Sam’s.

The biggest issue I have with Sam’s is that when I buy things in large quantities, they often get eaten in the same amount of time. A grocery store box of 10 fruit bites lasts about the same amount of time as the Sam’s box of 40 with my kids!! So per bag, the fruit bites are cheaper at Sam’s but I’ve spent twice as much.

Kris


#16

I deleted the 6 paragraphs I had describing what we save on at Costco.

I’ll just say with two young kinds at home, yes…it is worth it, plus a bunch of stuff you wouldn’t think of (car tires, eye glasses, photo developing, etc).

We are now Executive Members at Costco, cuz we’re so special :smiley: (actually cuz we get 3% or so back at the end of the year and we can go in 1 hour earlier than the rest of the people).


#17

Our BJ’s membership costs us $40 a year. We think it’s worth it.

We do live in a house with enough room to store, freeze or refrigerate items bought in bulk, as needed. (E.g., the gallon of hair conditioner does fit on the shower shelf, the package of 30-40 rolls of toilet paper does fit under the bathroom sink cupboard, and the 40 lbs. of cat food can go in the basement)

I do most of the shopping. As a new mom last winter, I realized that I just wasn’t going to be able to run out to the market every week–I wasn’t physically capable yet, and it was nerve-wracking trying to do it with a newborn. So buying in huge quantities was actually a good thing, in that it allowed me to get out, do a giant shopping, and then chip away at the supply for a month or more.

On the plus side, if you decide it’s not worth it after a year, you don’t have to renew your membership & you can just go on the “guest” days.


#18

We’re a family of 6 and we’ve been members of Sam’s Club for a year and we won’t be renewing our membership. Although they had some good deals, I found that I spent ALOT of money on stuff I wouldn’t normally buy - mostly frozen convenience type foods that we sampled & LOVED but for some reason they never tasted as good when I made them at home? Also, our Sam’s Club is a total madhouse - I would wait for literally 20 minutes in line to checkout - and the no bag thing really bugged me… like I wanted to haul all that home bouncing around in the trunk of my van (why I never thought to bring my own boxes?) Anyhow, I’ve read the other replies… obviously I’m in the minority… but I just wanted to share my experience/opinion.

Did anyone happen to see theCEO/ founder of Costco on 20/20 (or was it Primetime?) last Friday? He seemed like a GREAT guy - I was so impressed.


#19

[quote=Rebecca New]I know one family who has a card and everyone in the family uses it because they give the person with the card a list or go with her to buy. To me this is dishonest, and I don’t care how much I would save, it is not worth the dishonesty.
[/quote]

Are you sure this is against the rules? My wife uses my card all the time. It has my name and picture on it. They just ask for her ID and she’s never had a problem. I thought they extended to immediate family.

As for saving money, I love Costco. For saving time, forget it. It takes forever to get in and out of there.

We are one of those who have limited space for storage. I use Costco for baby needs, meat, and the ocasional specialty item. For canned or box food, I go to a dollar store and save way more there. I got lucky and found a dollar store with good quality products. For bread and produce I go to the local grocery store.

I found this division of shopping saves us about $350 a month over regular grocery, and about $280 over shopping just at Costco.

Oh yeah, they have the best pizza slices at the snack bar, and you don’t have to go inside to get it! :smiley:


#20

My husband and I have a membership, we use it for paper goods, meat, detergents (you can save a bundle on Dreft there, I’m allergic to lots of stuff so I have to use baby detergent on my clothes). We also by dried pasta there and cheese (we freeze it and use small portions as we need them). We have two refrigerators and use them and the freezers to store what we get, its saved us some money, and has been helpful when we had visitors come and stay with us, also we know that it will help us when the baby comes next spring. We’ll be able to limit the amount of trips out that we need to make right away and make our lives a little easier.

We’ve had our Bj’s membership for 2 years and I think its been a good thing for us.

Jamie


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