Author Topic: Sam's Club: Yea or Nay?  (Read 8892 times)

mining_melancholy

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Sam's Club: Yea or Nay?
« on: November 04, 2014, 12:16:50 PM »
I've never used a Sam's Club except to buy a slice of pizza once with a friend of mine. With MMM's fetish for Costco (which doesn't exist around here) I'm wondering if Sam's Club is a decent substitute?

Future Lazy

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Re: Sam's Club: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2014, 12:22:41 PM »
We have both here. Their prices are about equal, but in my experience a lot of the quality of fresh food at Sam's is bad where at Costco it's usually above average and still cheaper than a regular grocery store.

It's ok if you're stocking up on dry goods like peanut butter or rice, but if you're thinking about saving money on meat or fresh veggies, I wouldn't even go there. It is Walmart still, after all.

themagicman

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Re: Sam's Club: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2014, 12:25:03 PM »
I don't know about sams but costco's gas is a good bit cheaper than anywhere else. Might be worth having the membership on what you save on gas!

Angie55

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Re: Sam's Club: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2014, 12:25:35 PM »
I have found very limited things to be cheaper at Sam's Club versus grocery store sale.  But for me, I probably save the $4 a month just on cheese alone.

Cheese!! (Kroger in my area does have a sale once every 2-months that is close to Sam's)
Half and Half
Butter
Chicken (regular price is other stores sale's price)
Tortillas
Laundry detergent
10# Cans of tomatoes
Flour
Lemon Juice
Hot Sauce
Olive Oil
Coffee

Otherwise I find that most stuff is more expensive than the generic counterpart at a regular store. This is with the disclaimer that I try to make almost everything from scratch so I get to skip over about half of the store of frozen crap, cereal, and jumbo size salad dressing.
I do get annoyed that I don't get 6% cash back on groceries there. Also, since they don't take Visa I have to remember to carry the one MC I never use and so really can never cash any rewards off of.


Spork

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Re: Sam's Club: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2014, 12:35:47 PM »

I much prefer Costco (for a boatload of reasons)... but... our current area has only a Sams.  We do buy several items that make it worth the price for us.  Coffee alone would probably pay the membership (but... again: quality not as good as CostCo.)

I am generally surprised by how good the Sams beef is around here.  And, unlike it's brother WalMart, our Sams club stores still have actual butchers that will cut stuff for you.   But I suspect the offerings will vary across geographic areas.

Bob W

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Re: Sam's Club: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2014, 01:08:14 PM »
Nay,

It is a trap --- you will end up spending way more than you would have had you planned a decent Walmart list and scammed stores on loss leaders.  Remember to shoot for $2 per person per day for food --- fail and end up at $3.

If you're a stocking up sorta person, I suggest your greatest food savings will be diligently scanning local ads for deep discounts on protein foods.   Here are some recent scores of mine that I recall ---

Eggs - $1 dozen large
80/20 ground beef -  $2 pound
Chicken leg quarters -  49 cent pound
Ribs -   $1.50 pound
Bacon - $2.00 a pound
Sugar - $1 - 5 pounds (for homemade vodka)

Bought at least 30 lbs of the beef.   Probably should have done 60 pounds.   Always buy 10-12 dozen eggs when they are a buck.  Deals like these tend to pop up around every 3-5 weeks.  Look forward to super cheap turkey products this month.  If you have room getcha as much of that 49 cent turkey as you can store.

Your best cost per calorie food is going to be olive or grape seed oils.  Add them liberally to most things.  They will satiate hunger and give you plenty of calories.  (never soy/veggy oil!)

Scanned the adds today --- no super deals --- one has to be patient!

markstache

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Re: Sam's Club: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2014, 05:49:20 PM »
We're also in the non-Costco zone. Like others, Sam's is good enough for bulk items. We stay away from the pre-packaged stuff. Some of the veggies are an ok deal and ok quality. E.g. mushrooms and onions. I think we get our membership back price back in the couple of months.

southern granny

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Re: Sam's Club: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2014, 06:19:13 PM »
We only have a sams club and we do have a membership.  The gasoline there is usually five to ten cents cheaper than anywhere else so that alone pays for our membership.  As far as other items, you just have to know what it costs you elsewhere.  Some of the things we always buy at Sams are cheese, bacon, packaged salads, biscuit mix, nuts, apples and bananas.  We usually end up getting our electronics there as well although I always check prices elsewhere first.  Our refrigerator and television came from there.  I also always check their clearance items and have gotten some great deals there.

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Re: Sam's Club: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2014, 06:25:16 PM »
We only have a sams club and we do have a membership.  The gasoline there is usually five to ten cents cheaper than anywhere else so that alone pays for our membership. 

I'll add:  the Sam's Visa adds 5% cash back on gas purchases... so ... it's effectively 20+ cents cheaper.

Left

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Re: Sam's Club: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2014, 06:32:58 PM »
groupon sells sams membership each year for discount and gives you as much in food as it cost to buy it so I normally buy it from groupon. The gas is cheaper sometimes there too

hodedofome

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Re: Sam's Club: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2014, 07:34:35 PM »
I say do it. You never know when you'll need 10 lbs of cheese puffs in a hurry.

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Re: Sam's Club: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2014, 09:18:42 AM »
groupon sells sams membership each year for discount and gives you as much in food as it cost to buy it so I normally buy it from groupon. The gas is cheaper sometimes there too

https://www.livingsocial.com/deals/1275742-sam-s-club-plus-membership-gift-card-food?cvosrc=affiliate.cj.3125087&utm_campaign=3125087&utm_content=3724478&utm_medium=affiliates&utm_source=cj

BLAM!

I personally believe Walmart/Sam's is the devil but sometimes you gotta dance with the devil and hope you don't get burned...and they're a lot closer than the semi-local Costco or BJ's.

1. Make a list, research the unit cost of each item on the list compared to .  If and item fails the test, it fails.  (+1 Bob Werner)
2. Never buy anything you've never tried before with the exception of basic staples.  If you dislike it, you'll end up with a metric shit ton of it going to waste. 
3. The nice little old ladies handing out plastic sample cups?  Stay away.   
4. Never skip the hotdog or pizza meal - they're DEEP loss-leader "perks" for the members.  Having it on the way IN the store will kill your appetite and help prevent impulse buys due to hunger.
5. Don't bring the kids - it's just torturous and cruel for all parties involved. :-)

FarmerPete

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Re: Sam's Club: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2014, 09:40:43 AM »
No Costco near me.  I'd go there in a second, just because I hate Walmart so much.  Since it's the only option, Sams it is for us.  Sam's is incredibly close to my house.  Their gas station is probably within a mile from my house.  It's not worth the lost cash back in savings under normal circumstances though (Gas % rewards never works at Sams, even if they accept the CC.)  The nice thing about them is that they always raise their gas prices the morning AFTER the rest of the places in town.  In other words, when I get an alert at work that everyone is raising their prices $0.30 today, I'll swing by Sams and get the old price that evening.  Even forgoing 5% cash back on gas, I come out decent with the savings.

As to their actual store....

  • Coffee.  They sell a local roasters premium coffee for $13 for 2.5lbs.
  • Flour.  I can get white flour cheaper at the megamarts, but they have bread flour or wheat flour cheap.
  • Cheese.  Shredded cheese for $3 a lb.  It takes a real good sale + coupons to get that at megamarts.
  • Chicken.  This is a YMMV.  Their everyday price is more than a semi-regular sale price.  They stock BS Chicken for $2 a lb frozen or $1.89 in jumbo fresh packs.  We are a family of 2.5 so using the jumbo packs means splitting them up.  It normally comes down to a wash between them when preperation is considered.  I try to stick with leg quarters or buying bone-in breasts and making my own BSCB.  It's a good fallback when sales aren't happening.
  • Any item that isn't excluded from their return policy.  Sams has a FOREVER return policy.  They do exclude some categories due to abuse (TVs and Computers), but a ton of stuff is covered.  If you buy something and it breaks, you can return it and get 100% money back.  Their meat return policy is even better at 200% cash back.  I've always wondered if people go in, buy a $100 tenderloin, and then return a small part of it and claim it tasted bad.  Get $200 cash back and you just ate $90 worth of beef tenderloin.  I'm sure you can't do this a ton, but it seems like an easy way to make a bit of money every year.  Certainly enough to pay off your $45 fee.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Sam's Club: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #13 on: November 05, 2014, 01:29:16 PM »
Meh. Lacking a Costco it IS worth it, but the Sam's here are depressing. They literally smell like they wash the floors with nursing home cadavers.

OSUBearCub

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Re: Sam's Club: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2014, 01:44:53 PM »
Meh. Lacking a Costco it IS worth it, but the Sam's here are depressing. They literally smell like they wash the floors with nursing home cadavers.

This hasn't come up on the DIY cleaners thread.  Do old dead people get out grease stains? ;-)

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Sam's Club: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #15 on: November 05, 2014, 04:24:52 PM »
Meh. Lacking a Costco it IS worth it, but the Sam's here are depressing. They literally smell like they wash the floors with nursing home cadavers.

This hasn't come up on the DIY cleaners thread.  Do old dead people get out grease stains? ;-)

They're a phenomenal degreaser but a bit too valuable as an alternative food source...

MoneyCat

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Re: Sam's Club: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2014, 04:37:43 PM »
I tried Sam's Club but switched to BJ's Wholesale because Sam's Club didn't offer enough healthy food for us.  They stocked a lot of processed and junk food and what they offered was poor quality.

Spork

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Re: Sam's Club: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2014, 06:40:05 PM »
Meh. Lacking a Costco it IS worth it, but the Sam's here are depressing. They literally smell like they wash the floors with nursing home cadavers.

This hasn't come up on the DIY cleaners thread.  Do old dead people get out grease stains? ;-)

They're a phenomenal degreaser but a bit too valuable as an alternative food source...

They're really tough and stringy... not worth it.

OSUBearCub

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Re: Sam's Club: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #18 on: November 06, 2014, 10:01:42 AM »
Meh. Lacking a Costco it IS worth it, but the Sam's here are depressing. They literally smell like they wash the floors with nursing home cadavers.

This hasn't come up on the DIY cleaners thread.  Do old dead people get out grease stains? ;-)

They're a phenomenal degreaser but a bit too valuable as an alternative food source...

They're really tough and stringy... not worth it.

So true.  I'm partial to free-range, grass-fed toddler.  So hard to find for under 8.99 a pound though. :-/

APowers

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Re: Sam's Club: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #19 on: November 06, 2014, 11:51:07 AM »
I have found very limited things to be cheaper at Sam's Club versus grocery store sale.  But for me, I probably save the $4 a month just on cheese alone.

Cheese!! (Kroger in my area does have a sale once every 2-months that is close to Sam's)
Half and Half
Butter
Chicken (regular price is other stores sale's price)
Tortillas
Laundry detergent
10# Cans of tomatoes
Flour
Lemon Juice
Hot Sauce
Olive Oil
Coffee

Otherwise I find that most stuff is more expensive than the generic counterpart at a regular store. This is with the disclaimer that I try to make almost everything from scratch so I get to skip over about half of the store of frozen crap, cereal, and jumbo size salad dressing.
I do get annoyed that I don't get 6% cash back on groceries there. Also, since they don't take Visa I have to remember to carry the one MC I never use and so really can never cash any rewards off of.

I assume that Costco's pricing is comparable to Sam's Club....that being said, we shop at both Costco and the regular grocery stores (Safeway/Albertson's/Kroger). My observation is that in general: Costco is cheaper than REGULAR price grocery store items, but more expensive than grocery store SALE price items. For example, cheese: normal grocery store prices are 7.99/2lb block for Tillamook cheddar, sale price is 4.99/2lb block; Costco price is about 3.50-ish/lb for a 5lb block. Grocery store is cheaper when on sale.

clarkfan1979

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Re: Sam's Club: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #20 on: November 06, 2014, 03:05:47 PM »
I didn't really notice a difference between Sams Club and Walmart. My parents have a business card for Sams Club that they let me use for free. I could enter an hour earlier than regular card members. I would occasionally get to buy meat that was discounted because of expiration but it didn't happen enough times that I could count on it

Costco seems to be about the same price as Sams Club but I prefer the quality and friendly service of Costco.

My wife likes Honeycrisp apples. They are $1.50 pound at Costco and $2.99-$3.29pound at Target. The two alternatives for me is Publix and Target. We spend about $500-$600 month on food and alcohol. I think we save about 10% shopping at Costco instead of Target or Publix. It's probably 20% cheaper, but we probably buy about 10% more. Because of the savings I think we bring more food to social events. Instead of bringing something cheap, we probably splurge a little.

Cheese is about $2.75-$3.25/pound at Costco and $5.00 a pound at Target when on sale. I think regular price is $5.50-%6.00/pound.


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Re: Sam's Club: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #21 on: November 06, 2014, 03:15:20 PM »
The closest Costco from me is a 45 minute drive. I've had a membership in the past, but the drive makes it too inconvenient to be worthwhile.

The closest Sam's Club to me is practically on my home from work. I picked up a membership last year on the discount deal above. I find Sam's Club oddly depressing compared to Costco. The atmosphere somehow exudes the stink of failure and desperation. It is not somewhere I want to linger and shop (unlike Costco, which is kind of fun?).

I have found a lot less at Sam's Club (probably because I don't explore as much). Also, when I did the math on some of the stuff I would want to buy, I got better deals at my regular store. Sometimes the prices were worse than the normal Walmart (which I do shop at - so this isn't just an anti-Walton thing).

Then we turned vegetarian, and now there's even less there. I haven't stopped in for ages. That said, they will refund you the cost of the membership at any time if you don't like it. If I could bring myself to step foot in there, I would get my money back.

fireferrets

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Re: Sam's Club: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #22 on: November 06, 2014, 04:54:01 PM »
Yes, Sam's Club is a decent substitute. For proof, simply look up a few products on both of their websites and you will see they are comparable in product offerings and cost. One other thing - Sam's does promotions to get more members all the time, so keep your eyes peeled for one.

Primm

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Re: Sam's Club: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #23 on: November 06, 2014, 06:35:32 PM »
Meh. Lacking a Costco it IS worth it, but the Sam's here are depressing. They literally smell like they wash the floors with nursing home cadavers.

This hasn't come up on the DIY cleaners thread.  Do old dead people get out grease stains? ;-)

They're a phenomenal degreaser but a bit too valuable as an alternative food source...

They're really tough and stringy... not worth it.

So true.  I'm partial to free-range, grass-fed toddler.  So hard to find for under 8.99 a pound though. :-/

How do you get your toddlers to eat grass? Mine won't touch the stuff!

OSUBearCub

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Re: Sam's Club: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #24 on: November 06, 2014, 07:00:52 PM »
Meh. Lacking a Costco it IS worth it, but the Sam's here are depressing. They literally smell like they wash the floors with nursing home cadavers.

This hasn't come up on the DIY cleaners thread.  Do old dead people get out grease stains? ;-)

They're a phenomenal degreaser but a bit too valuable as an alternative food source...

They're really tough and stringy... not worth it.

So true.  I'm partial to free-range, grass-fed toddler.  So hard to find for under 8.99 a pound though. :-/

How do you get your toddlers to eat grass? Mine won't touch the stuff!

Do I look like a toddler farmer?  I dunno.

LibrarIan

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Re: Sam's Club: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #25 on: November 07, 2014, 07:27:54 AM »
Nay out of principle. I don't support Walmart in any way. Since Sam's Club is owned by Walmart, I don't shop there either. Sure, we can all point to some reasons where it might be good to shop there, but overall I feel they do more bad than good in the world.

FarmerPete

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Re: Sam's Club: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #26 on: November 07, 2014, 07:29:59 AM »
I was just looking at Cheese at Sams yesterday.  Here, the best they had was $3.50 a lb for block cheese or $3.10 a lb for shredded.  The local places are normally $6 a lb for cheese.  On sale, you can get it for $4 a lb.  With a sale and coupons, you might get down to $2-3 a lb.

I forgot to mention yeast.  If you bake a lot, you can get 2lbs of yeast at Sams for the same price the grocery store sells the tiny jar (4oz) of yeast.  That means the grocery store charges 800% the price of Sams on yeast!

Vitamins can also be a lot cheaper.  My wife was buying some vitamins from Amazon, because they were cheaper than Walgreens, CVS, RiteAid, Meijers, etc.  I looked up the same stuff on Sams and you got 20% more pills for 80% the cost.  Same with allergy meds and whatnot.  You might do better at RiteAid or one of the other places when they run their B1G1 promotions, but even then you might just break even since their prices are jacked up regularly.

Things that are more expensive at Sams...
Diapers and wipes.  Store brand at Meijer is significantly cheaper than even Sams brand diapers/wipes.  Some sizes can be cheaper at Amazon, but Meijer wins 90% of the time.

Fresh meat.  With few exceptions, the fresh meat at Sams is the same price as the grocery stores and requires crazy bulk buys.  Example, they have Pork Shoulder for $2.50 a lb right now.  That's the normal price at Meijer, and it regularly goes on sale below $2 a lb.  Their ground beef is $3.50 a lb, and I can get that same price at Meijers, but it often goes on sale for $3, occasionally for $2.5, and rarely $2 a lb.  Bacon is typically $1-2 a lb more expensive at Sams.

Frozen Packaged Food.  If the items are cheaper at Sams, it's because they have a crazy big box and it's probably stuff you don't want.  For example, we used to eat frozen pizzas every couple weeks.  We tended to stick to the fancier brands (Frescheta or Digorno).  Sams sells them with a better per pizza price than Meijer's regular price, but you have to buy 3-4 pepperoni pizzas.  We liked to very the toppings a little, but I tended to go with Supreme due to the oz per price factor.

Hamburger Patties.  You can get them cheaper at Gordon Food Supply, and you really should be making your own.  Wait till ground beef goes on sale for $2 a lb and make a ton of 1/4-1/3lb patties.  Put some wax paper between them and freeze in ziplocks.

Milk.  Sells for $2.97 a gallon.  Meijers sells for $3 a gallon, and a local supermarket sells it for $2.25-$2.75 (gets more expensive the bigger fat % so skim is cheapest).

Spork

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Re: Sam's Club: Yea or Nay?
« Reply #27 on: November 07, 2014, 07:34:01 AM »
Meh. Lacking a Costco it IS worth it, but the Sam's here are depressing. They literally smell like they wash the floors with nursing home cadavers.

This hasn't come up on the DIY cleaners thread.  Do old dead people get out grease stains? ;-)

They're a phenomenal degreaser but a bit too valuable as an alternative food source...

They're really tough and stringy... not worth it.

So true.  I'm partial to free-range, grass-fed toddler.  So hard to find for under 8.99 a pound though. :-/

How do you get your toddlers to eat grass? Mine won't touch the stuff!

bake it into brownies