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Stockpiling at Wholesale Clubs?

Stockpiling at Wholesale Clubs? We are often asked which is better shopping at a wholesale club or stockpiling using coupons. That really depends on where you live and what your stores coupon policies are.  If you are purchasing the smallest size allowable based on the wording of your coupon, you may do better than purchasing BULK sizes without using coupons.  This of course varies based on the wholesale club’s coupon policy and if you store doubles coupons.

stockpiling at wholesale clubs

There are three major wholesale clubs.  BJ’s, Costco and Sam’s Club.  You have to pay a membership fee in order to shop at each.  Unless you are shopping for a business or an organization you typically would only need a basic membership.  Here is the run down on each Wholesale Clubs coupon policies.  BJ’s accept both store coupons and manufacturer coupons (they can be stacked).  Costco does not accept manufacturer coupons however they do distribute monthly coupons to members.  Sam’s Club does not accept manufacturer coupons and only premium members receive store coupons.

One way to save money at Wholesale Clubs if you decide to become a member is to “gap” your membership.  When your membership is nearing expiration stock up on items to last you three to six months and as you run low on these products then renew your membership.  By doing this you will pay the membership fee every 15 to 18 months versus every 12. It is one way to save yourself some money when it comes to paying for the membership fees.  Another idea is to share a membership if the store allows.

Another tip for saving money at wholesale clubs is to shop the clearance section.  Each wholesale club offers markdowns.  Items to consider purchasing at Wholesale clubs include perishables and items that you cannot find coupons for.  In particular dairy products including milk, eggs and butter don’t often have coupons.  By purchasing these items in bulk, you may be able to save enough to compensate for your membership cost.  Some wholesale clubs offer discounts on prescriptions, gasoline, alcohol and photos, you could factor these discounts if applicable when deciding if you want a membership.

Purchasing some items in bulk may not really be a great deal if you don’t use them.  Consider shopping with a friend to split large containers so that they don’t go bad before you use them or consider freezing to extend the shelf life.  You can read more about how to freeze each of the products.


Philadelphia Cooking Creme


DIY Uncrustables


Cottage Cheese

Sour Cream

Cream Cheese

Cracker Crumbs


Milk and Eggs



Garlic Cloves

The biggest thing to remember is that just because an item is sold in bulk does not mean it is better price than purchasing the smaller size with a manufacturer coupon, especially if you shop at a store that accepts manufacturer coupons (and if they double coupons).  You should carry a calculator and create a price book when you shop so you can divide the total cost by the amount in the package (Unit Price) and compare if you can get it for a lesser price at the grocery store using a coupon.

Hopefully this helps you in deciding if a wholesale club membership is worthwhile to you.  Recently we posted a great membership deal for Sam’s Club through a daily deal site.  When offers like that come along, I do suggest that you snag them. One or two trips a year may be worth a membership depending on what you buy.  Both Shelley and I are Sam’s Club members. Now that our stores are not doubling coupons like they used to you can find some good stockpile price deals at Sam’s Club so it is something you may want to consider too.  I also want to add that we often shop Black Friday at Sam’s Club too – I find that I get my membership back in a visit or two, so it is worth it to me to maintain it and shop at Sam’s Club.

Stockpiling Posts:

What is a stockpile?

How do you build a stockpile?

How to use the freezer to stockpile

Monthly Menu Planning

Collecting your coupons

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  1. I find it very useful to break down the bulk price and make a price list on my excel so I can compare sales with my Sam’s that way I know for sure if I am getting the better deal 🙂 I do love the idea of not paying the membership every year — I will definitely utilize that in February 🙂

  2. Nature Made (vitamins) has a reward program on their site where they will issue either coupons for use anywhere that sells Nature Made vitamins or a check made out to Costco for use in purchasing Nature Made vitamins.

  3. A couple of things to keep in mind with a Sam’s Club membership… while “plus” (upgraded) members receive “instant savings” on certain products every month there are a couple of ways for “advantage” (regular) members to receive savings. If you renew your membership before it expires you will receive savings good for 30 days regardless of which type of membership you have and it will not change the expiration date on your membership. The other is a booklet that is sent out to all members every 2 months or so… the savings contained in it are good for all members. Just remember to think of these like coupons and not sale prices…there is a limit to how many times the savings can be used and an expiration date to them.

  4. Do you have any advice for BJS? We regualrly shop there and they have a variety of organic foods which we often get. However, do you have any advice for someone on a really tight budget. I’m going to try to start printing coupons to help but it’s so new to me.

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