Buying in bulk at a place like Costco or Sam’s Club might not make sense for every family. Empty nesters or couples may find that the cost of the membership just isn’t worth it (unless you have a chest freezer that can hold that 12-pack of steaks).
Keep in mind that an annual Costco membership costs $60, BJ’s is $55, and Sam’s Club is $45 — and if the store is far away from you, you’ll need to consider the cost of gas and the amount of time wasted in getting there.
But if you do have multiple family members or the ability to store large quantities of food, warehouse stores can mean big savings. According to a survey by Consumer Checkbook, Costco’s prices beat Safeway by 33 percent; the savings were around 27 percent for both BJ’s and Sam’s Club.
One caveat: Always, always have a list and stick with it. If you don’t, you’ll just end up spending more on items you don’t need. Don’t veer from your list, skip the snack aisle and focus on the basic things you really need.