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Are Wholesale Clubs Worth the Annual Fee?

Oct 20, 2023 07:31AM ● By Nikki Ducas

Sometimes it makes sense to buy something at a wholesale club, but on the other hand, you could be throwing money away by buying in bulk. After years of comparison shopping around Fredericksburg, I have figured out which stores have the best deals on items I purchase frequently.

Before I put an item in my shopping cart, I do the math and ask myself if am I getting the best price for my money? I weigh the pros and cons of buying it at retail, online or at a wholesale club.

If I buy in bulk, I need to know if I will use it all or if I will end up wasting excess product before it expires. Ultimately that excess is money in the trash.

Don’t make a rookie mistake that often leads to overspending, such as stocking up on things to avoid multiple trips to the store. If you buy things and end up not using them, you are throwing money away. Keep in mind that condiments, sunscreen and health and beauty products lose potency over time. Another item that loses efficacy is laundry detergent; most only have a shelf life of six months to a year.

Make coupons and shopping apps work to your advantage. Wholesale clubs have coupon books and/or accept vendor coupons. However, by shopping around, I’ve found better prices at regular retail stores when shopping sales and stacking it with a coupon. Remember, just because you see it on an end cap doesn’t mean it’s on sale. Often paper goods, cereal, books, CDs, DVDs and diapers may be cheaper with a bit of sleuthing and patience.

Be sure to compare the perks of wholesale clubs and make them work for you. There are times of year when certain non-perishables go on sale and I know it is time to stock up on these essentials. I have found batteries to have the most cost savings when bought in bulk. I also like to buy the wholesale brand and save money over name brands, such as paper towels, baby wipes, contact solution, apple sauce squeeze pouches and maple syrup. Lastly, don’t forget to fill up your gas tank. Wholesale gas is 10 cents lower than other gas stations right around the corner but is it really worth it to wait in that lengthy line?

Figure out if shopping at wholesale clubs is a practical choice for your family. Does it fit your lifestyle and budget? Buying in large quantities can save you money in the long run. Bulk purchases cost less per unit and you are making fewer trips to the store, thus spending less money on gas and not giving in to impulse buys. Start with a few household staples in bulk and see if you can save 25% or if are you wasteful.

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