Apple does it, Walmart does it, and even the auto manufacturers do it: They buy in bulk. The more you buy the more you save and when the idea of the warehouse store was invented, consumers flocked to these stores hoping to get the same volume discounts as the larger companies. For those who remember the early days of these warehouse stores, the prices on these items were well worth the cost of the membership but over time, that has changed.
Today, warehouse stores still offer great prices but only on some items. The warehouse shopper now has to be savvier in order to cash in on the great deals. Here are a few of the secrets that best warehouse shoppers know.
Split a Membership
The price of the yearly membership causes you to start your warehouse club shopping year at a loss. Before you start saving any money, you have to pay yourself back for the price of membership. First, pick one warehouse club instead of purchasing multiple memberships. If the average yearly membership costs $50, multiple memberships can add up fast.
Next, consider splitting the membership with another family member. Sam’s Club will give you two membership cards for $40. Some people split the membership with out of town family members since the membership can be used at any Sam’s Club.
Calculate Price Per Unit
The total price of an item tells you very little about the value. The real price you want to look at is the price per unit. It’s often printed in much smaller type but that’s the only place to find the real values. Before you shop at a warehouse club, look at the unit price of the same item at a grocery store.
When you buy in bulk you’re taking the risk that the item will spoil or expire, you or your family won’t like the taste of the product, and it may go on sale later on where you could have purchased it for an even lower price. The unit price at the warehouse store should represent a substantial savings over the grocery store. If it doesn’t, you may not be saving as much as you thought once you factor in the risks you’re taking by buying in large quantities.
Use the Extras
Does your local warehouse club sell gas? How about tires or other car care? Do they have a cafeteria? If you’re not taking advantage of the extra perks that come with your membership, you may be missing out on some of the best deals. Gas isn’t always a bargain compared to other gas stations but often, a set of tires will save you a considerable amount. When it comes time to get some work done on the car, don’t forget about your local club.
Don’t Get Emotional
There’s just something about entering one of these warehouse clubs and seeing pallets full of Cheerios or a huge bag of rice. Don’t be pulled in by the massive size and the potential of saving a lot of money by purchasing items in bulk. It’s true that warehouse clubs can offer substantial discounts but unless you have a large family or use certain items for your business, the savings may not be large enough to warrant filling your home with these bulk items. Do the math before making the purchase. Make sure the money you save is significant enough to warrant buy in such quantities.
(Photo: greenwenvy )