You can dispute over and over whether Costco or Sam’s Club is better until you are blue in the face. Consumer Reports online has an investigation on Costco vs. Sam’s Club.
However, I don’t want to post on their opinions of the two warehouses but the good info they hide at the bottom of the article. This is the kind of information that is good no matter what store you shop at.
Make a list and stick to it. – Personally, I also take a calculator so I can stay on budget.
Know how to identify super-bargains. At Costco, “.97” at the end of a price generally indicates discontinued or slow-moving products. At Sam’s, a “C” at the end of the item number denotes a canceled item.
Compare the club’s unit prices to those at your supermarket for heavily discounted staples. Supermarkets might be less expensive. – This is easiest if you keep a notebook for pricing information, unless your memory is like a steel trap.
For big-ticket items, compare the club price to that of other retailers nearby both online and offline.
Consider splitting large buys with friends. Otherwise, don’t buy in bulk perishables or medications with a short shelf life (check the expiration dates). You’ll end up tossing a lot away. – This is a BIG one; don’t buy it if you are unsure if you can use it all. 2¢ an ounce may be a wonderful deal, but it won’t be if you end up throwing away 300 ounces of it.
Try unfamiliar products judiciously. You don’t want to get stuck with say, a gallon of Brand X Vidalia onion salad dressing. – This is what is so wonderful about a supermarket; small sizes for trying new stuff instead of the new brand of maple syrup that you hate but have 85 ounces of it now.
Pay with cash; it’s a reality check on how much you’re spending. – I say to just stick on a budget, hence the calculator mentioned at the top of this list
Shop on weekdays, preferably when the store opens or in midafternoon. That’s when crowds tend to be lighter. – AMEN, Weekends stink!
Not sure about joining? In many states you can request a day pass at Sam’s Club or Costco and pay a surcharge, typically 10 percent over what members pay. Costco used to have a similar program, but discontinued it. Now, only members can purchase there. – Perhaps you can tag along with a friend or co-worker instead.