Monday, July 22

7 Warehouse Club Buys You Should Stay Away From

How often do you shop at warehouse clubs?

Warehouse clubs like Sam’s Club and Costco offer fantastic deals on some items. They’re practically one-stop shops that carry many items on your weekly shopping list. But what you might not have known is that some products are a bit more pricey at these stores.

It might be more convenient to buy everything in one place, but if you want to save some serious money, it’s best to skip certain items and buy them at other stores that offer them at lower prices.

Frugal shoppers know that these outlets generally don’t accept coupons for discount items. And while you can save on some things like toilet paper, when you buy in bulk, you can spend hundreds more each month by taking the easy way out.

So if you don’t want to burn a hole in your wallet, here are 7 products to avoid buying at warehouse clubs.

Warehouse Club
Photo by The Image Party at Shutterstock

Designer Clothes

You may think you’ve spotted a huge deal when you see a pair of pants or a shirt with a big designer label, like Calvin Klein or DKNY. But these aren’t the same pieces of clothing you’d find at a high-end retailer.

They are lower-quality versions explicitly created for retailers on the lower end. Typically, the materials aren’t as good as the high-end versions. Sometimes, they aren’t manufactured to the same standards the designer stores receive.

You aren’t getting the same shirt or pants you’d find at stores like Nordstrom or Neiman Marcus. So just bear that in mind. It could mean you’re better off selecting clothes from another brand that’s on sale.

Name-Brand Cereal

While it’s true that you can find name-brand cereals at warehouse clubs, budget-conscious shoppers know that they can get them for less somewhere else.

Cereal makers like General Mills, Kellogg’s, and other manufacturers regularly give discounts to grocers, who pass them off to their customers.

Major manufacturers also make coupons that can be used at your local supermarket or big-box retailer…just not at Sam’s Club, Costco, or BJ’s.

And if you’re not into clipping coupons out of newspapers, you can still find them on the manufacturer’s Facebook page or website. Also, you can combine these coupons with a sale your local grocery store has going on.

This allows you to get a better deal at the supermarket than what you’d find at warehouse clubs.

Liquid Cleaning Products

Liquid cleaning products are marketed in warehouse clubs in large containers or multi-packs. But price comparisons have shown us that they’re not always a good deal when we stop to calculate the cost per fluid ounce.

And some of the more affordable store brands they usually offer at discount prices are lower in quality. In fact, you’ll probably have to use twice the amount of cleaning product to get the same results.

Bathroom and other cleaning sprays are more expensive than the brands you’ll find at dollar stores. Research has shown that Dollar Store brands are just as effective at cleaning surfaces as the more expensive brands found at your local warehouse clubs.

And if you’re not a dollar store shopper, you can always use coupons to get discounts on cleaning products at other grocery stores to save more cash.

As a matter of fact, you can even check out Amazon for their fantastic deals, including THIS one!

Warehouse Club
Photo by Trong Nguyen at Shutterstock

Fresh Organic Produce

While the prices on organic produce at warehouse clubs usually cost less per ounce than you’d find at your local grocery store, that doesn’t mean you’re getting a deal. When you buy produce in bulk, you may be wasting money.

If you aren’t able to finish all the vegetables and fruits you bought before they start to turn, you’re not getting the best bang for your buck. The cost of whatever you have to throw out clashes with that equation.

For instance, imagine spending $7 on a ten lb. bag of carrots at Sam’s Club. If you only get through half of the bag before it goes bad, you paid $7 for 5 lbs. of carrots.

Then, if you can get a 5 lbs. bag of organic carrots for $4 at another store, like Whole Foods, buying the smaller bag would have saved you money, right? We’re not saying you should never purchase fresh produce at warehouse clubs.

Ensure you only buy fruits and veggies you can finish or freeze before they go bad. That way, you’re getting a better deal.

Beauty Products

Keep in mind that warehouse clubs sell a limited number of brands. This means that while you may be saving money by buying in bulk, you might also be forced to buy a more expensive brand because that’s what the store has available.

You could be better off purchasing more affordable store-brand hand soaps, lotions, and shaving gels at these types of stores. You should also be cautious when buying skincare products containing sunblock from here. SPF loses its properties over time.

And Sam’s Club, Costco, and BJ’s usually sell these kinds of products packaged in sets of two large containers. Before you buy them, consider how often you’ll be using them and whether you’ll get through them before their expiration date.

Skincare products that include SPF have a shelf life of about two years if they’re stored properly. But, if you only apply a thin product layer each time you use it, it can take much longer to finish.

Unless you use these types of skincare products often or share them with someone else, you might want to steer clear of purchasing them in bulk.

You’re better off buying a regular-size version from your local grocery store, where you can take advantage of their coupons, weekly sales, and loyalty programs.

Over-the-Counter Medication

If you’ve ever suffered from a persistent headache only to discover you’re out of Tylenol or Advil, stocking up on a bulk-size bottle of tablets during your next warehouse club trip might sound like a smart precaution.

But bear in mind that unless you have a medical reason to use these types of products daily or have multiple people in your home that need them, you may not get through that whole 750-count bottle of pills before their expiration date.

If you want to save some money, you should buy the generic version from your local grocery store in smaller containers. Pain medication can also lose its strength over time. This makes them less effective per the recommended dosage.

And here’s a significant point you should consider: Advil recommends customers stop using any expired bottles of their products for that exact reason.

Warehouse Club
Photo by The Image Party at Shutterstock


Another product you probably shouldn’t be buying at warehouse clubs is eggs. Seldom will they cost much less than what you’ll find at your local supermarket, and sometimes they’ll even cost much more.

So the best thing to do before you go to Costco is to check other grocery store prices like Walmart. They may have better deals, even when there isn’t a sale going on.

And, for stores like Safeway, it could help you earn points on your loyalty card, allowing you to get additional discounts on your future shopping trips.

Let us know in the comments if you know of any other items you’re better off getting at a local grocery store rather than at warehouse clubs. And if you found this article helpful, we also recommend reading: 14 Dollar Store Finds That Aren’t Worth a Cent

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