At the beginning of August, Sam’s Club had a free entry weekend, where a membership was not required to shop. I decided to take advantage of this weekend since I wasn’t sure what items would really save me money.
Could I really top $0.49 boxes of Nature Valley Granola Bars or $1.05 boxes of Lucky Charms? Since I try to buy items in bulk when I can match their lowest sale price with a coupon, would buying at Sam’s really save me any money?
The answer is yes and no. It depends on the item. Many grocery items like cereals, snacks, soups, and condiments are not great deals at Sam’s. Yes, they are better than a grocery store’s regular price, but they are much higher than what a savvy shopper can get them for.
I did find, however, several items that were GREAT buys at Sam’s. I’m sure there are more, but these were the main ones I found:
Sam’s: 23-oz for $4.58
Wal-Mart: 1.25 oz. for $0.50
Pure Vanilla extract:
Sam’s: 16-oz for $6.88
Wal-Mart: 2-oz for $4.88
Zip Loc Bags:
Sam’s: freezer quarts – 216 for $10.72
Wal-Mart: freezer quarts – 30 for $4.88
(I also bought freezer gallons and storage gallons)
Sam’s: 150 for $9.48
Wal-Mart: 100 for $15.49
(I bought Sam’s generic bag compared to Wal-Mart’s Hefty but they were the same design)
Sam’s: 25 lb. for $7.67
Wal-Mart: 5 lb. for $3.54
(the latter is Gold Medal, unbleached. the former is generic, bleached)
Kraft shredded cheese:
Sam’s: 8 oz for $1.49
Grocery: typically on sale for $2.00
Butter was also significantly cheaper but I couldn’t recall the exact difference.
Verdict: I’m definitely going back to Sam’s – when they have another free weekend. Since it’s 70 miles from me, it’s not worth the extra drive and it’s not worth the membership to go any more frequently. I’ll just plan my trips accordingly and stock up on items and plan to make them last 6 months (the free weekends are every 6 months generally).
Tip: I downloaded Wal-Mart’s app and Sam’s Club’s app on my phone. The night before I price-checked items I considered purchasing so I could calculate which items were real savings. That way I was prepared before I went and I didn’t succumb to impulse purchases.