In an effort to save money on their grocery bill many families have begun shopping at warehouse stores. These are large warehouse stores that usually require a yearly membership fee. After joining these stores or clubs, shoppers have access to limited (usually one brand per item) but large quantity items. Typically most items at these stores or clubs are marked about 15% below the usual retail in other grocery stores with the caveat that you buy them in large (sometimes very large) quantities. While many of these items can seem like a good deal at first glance there are some important considerations that shoppers should take into account before spending a large portion of their grocery money in these stores. Here is what you need to know about saving money by shopping warehouse stores-
· How much is the fee? While some membership warehouses offer discount fees to businesses or other organizations (be sure to check with your employer or social group to see if you qualify) other fees for individuals can be pricey. You must ask yourself if you really will use the warehouse store enough to justify the cost of the membership. If you see yourself shopping there just a few times a year you may want to pass or see if you can be added as a “guest” to a friend’s membership. If you think you can really use this type of store to help your grocery budget than pay the fee and get shopping.
· Do not go without a list. Just like in the regular grocery store, shoppers in warehouse stores should not go in without a list. The penalty for shopping without a list can be even higher than in a regular grocery store due to the larger prices on larger items. Many shoppers report being constantly sucked in by the seeming good deals that abound in this type of store and often leave them with hundreds of dollars worth of groceries that were not on their list. Keep in mind that this type of store rarely changes the items in their inventory. After only a few shopping trips you should be able to determine what you really need from there and stick to your grocery list.
· Will your family eat what you buy from there? Savvy shoppers who grocery shop in warehouse stores should realistically be asking themselves-will my family eat this item? And not only will your family eat this item-will they eat it while the item is still fresh? While that case of 100 granola bars seems like a great deal it really does not save you money if only twenty granola bars get eaten before they become stale. Be discerning and realistic when shopping at these stores. Understand how and what your family likes to eat. Some items will be a bargain for you while other items you should definitely pass on and it will be different for every family.
· Do you have room for that item in your home or apartment? Often in the excitement of finding a great deal shoppers arrive home to find that they have no where to store that case of peanut butter or that four dozen chicken breasts. Making sure you have room for the items you pick up at these stores is crucial. In order to take advantage of the deals you have to be able to utilize them once you get your groceries home.
· Can you get it cheaper somewhere else? Just like any grocery store you must be aware if you are getting the best deal possible. Warehouse stores typically have a sign with each item that will let you know how much you are paying for the individual item in a larger pack. Make sure that you are checking these signs because you may find that you can get the same item, in less quantity at your regular grocery store.