If you’re a frugal shopper, you may think that larger containers at the store mean a better deal, right? More bang for your buck? If you belong to a warehouse club, everything is cheaper, right?

Well, not all the time. According to a list by Forbes Magazine, there are certain items that you should avoid buying at a store like Costco or Sam’s Club. Here’s how you can maximize your bulk-buying power and save money if a stop at your local warehouse club is on your weekly to-do list.

Don’t Buy:

Soda and Chips. Grocery stores frequently offer sales on a rotating basis for name-brand soda and chips. Check local ads for deals, and when the price is right, stock up! Use store cards for better deals. Kroger cards offer points for purchases that can be redeemed for things like money off gas purchases.

Dryer Sheets. Stores like Target and Wal-Mart often have better deals on these than Sam’s Club.

Paper Products. Forbes offers a great general rule for buying these: items used on a daily basis are most likely to be sold at a deep discount everywhere, including your local supermarket. Using coupons at the supermarket can often get you a cheaper price than warehouse clubs.

Produce. For in-season produce, supermarkets always have at least one door buster-priced item. Buy in season. Some produce items freeze well, so keep that in mind when you find a good deal.

Do Buy:

Alcohol. Most alcohol at warehouse clubs is offered at an amazing discount. Costco sells relatively good-quality wines that would be marked up anywhere else.

Eyeglasses. For a relatively cheap price, a licensed Costco optometrist will perform a vision and eye health exam in-store. The prices for lenses are good, as well as customer ratings for overall satisfaction.

Laptops. A two-year warranty policy, 90-day return policy, and Costco Concierge services are free to members. These same services are offered on many other electronics as well including televisions, cameras, and even carpet cleaners.

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil. Kirkland Signature Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil is roughly half the cost of more well-known brands. It tastes the same, if not better.

Keep in mind that ultimately, comparison shopping is going to save you more money than anything else. Here are a few more rules to live by:

Come Prepared – Bulk stores depend on impulse shoppers to drag in the profits. Make a list in advance and stick to it.

Watch the Perishables – It may not be wise to buy perishable items such as produce, bread, and dairy, if they go bad before you can use them.

Break Down and Store – Once you get everything home and unpack, divide large combo-packs into smaller packages for easier storage. Freeze things such as meat, bread, and produce.

Know What You’re Paying For – Read the store brochure so you are aware of all the benefits that come with membership – such as discounts on carpet cleaning, automotive services, and more.

Every family is different, so the benefits of a warehouse club depend largely on your personal lifestyle. Do your homework to maximize your money-saving potential!


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