Jacob has always been set on getting a membership to one of the nearby HUGE stores.  I really feel they have no other name, they are huge, everything they sell is huge, you get the picture.  So early in our marriage, before school started, I went shopping, price shopping.  I walked all over both Sam’s and CostCo, we have both in the same main shopping area 30 minutes away, and wrote down the prices of the things we could possibly want. This is a very important part, you cannot forget to do this at the store you normally shop at as well, which for our non-fresh food happens to be walmart.

After price comparing, and having a bad experience at Costco, we bought our Sam’s club membership.  Online we saw they had a wonderful reward for students wanting a membership: $15 gift card.  Sweet.  That made the price the same for a CostCo or Sam’s membership and I feel more comfortable at Sam’s, and they sell cheap gas there for Jacob.  But when we bought the membership the lady claimed they just stopped doing the student membership.  We bought it anyway, but Jacob complained to corporate because their website was then wrong.  And they said just go back in and we will fix it.  We got our gift card from Sam’s for being a student, and they had another, newer offer and gave us the money for both of them.  Therefore, we only had to save about $10 this year to pay for the extra membership expense.

We really love our membership.  Jacob stops there on the way home from work for gas.  I love buying my meat, cheese, milk, and cereal there.  Those are our best finds.

We eat a lot of meat for two people so this was an important thing to look at, Sams for some reason has the most reasonable meat.  Ground Lean Beef (90/10), which is the kind we perfer, is found there cheaper than the Walmart 85/15.  And as we have found out on another trip we can get about-to-expire meat even cheaper at Sam’s too.

Dairy is something else we fly through.  We eat cold cereal nearly every morning for breakfast, sometimes I switch it up for Jacob and make him eggs.  We discovered the name brand milk (2% is around $2.30) for a whole dollar cheaper than the Walmart brand, and sometimes milk is found closer to four dollars! We also lover our cheddar.  They sell the big 2 lb blocks for a fraction of the unit price found elsewhere.  And with cheddar you can make it last longer in the freezer, if you don’t think you can use the entire block soon.

Cereal can be up to 10 cents less per oz.  One draw back is you have to buy two bags at once of any given cereal.  But we go through cereal so fast we do not mind.  Frosted Mini Wheats, Life, and Honey Nut Cheerios are some of our favorites.  And you just rotate which one you use, unless it is life which both bags get used before a different kind is opened!

We manage to find other ways to save money, buying a huge 25 lbs bag of flour for the price of only two 5 lbs bags.  Or buying spaghetti sauce in three packs to save a few cents per unit as well as stock up on some food storage.

A few words of warning that we have run into:

  • Check the use by date, always! Can you really eat 12 packages of saltines in 2 months?  Some items have great dates, but it really depends on your situation and affinity for the product.
  • Some things are not a deal.  This is especially true if you are an avid coupon clipper.  Fruit in winter is not very cheap at Sam’s and can usually be found cheaper elsewhere.  In general, check your prices on a regular basis, or at least a seasonal basis.
  • Here today, gone tomorrow.  Do not depend on what the store will have in stock.  Each Sam’s get different deals and they all have rotating inventory.  And every time I’ve been in there I’ve heard at least 2 people say to their spouse/shopping buddy, “They move stuff around every time I come here, I can never find anything.”  I haven’t personally had that problem, but apparently others have.

Maybe a membership could be right for you, it truely depends on your circumstances, it might make more sense if you have 4 kids than if it is just the two of you.  But I love not having to go meat shopping every week, because we keep a month’s supply in the freezer.  It is definitely worth a look.

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