As my family grows, my children are eating more and using more household goods more quickly. Therefore, this summer, I have decided to conduct a bit of research on shopping at grocery stores, big-box stores (like Target) and warehouse stores to determine where I should be purchasing our family’s food and supplies for the best prices.

I have a membership to Sam’s Club that I rarely use, because a) it’s another errand to run, which requires time that I don’t always have, and b) I don’t really know what items are best purchased at a place like Sam’s vs. the grocery store or Target.
We live close to SuperTarget, and I am all about one-stop shopping, so I usually buy everything there—food, TP, diapers, batteries, etc. It makes my life simple.
However, on Saturday, when I was loading six boxes of store-brand macaroni and cheese into my cart, it dawned on me that maybe some of my purchases would be more cost effective if I made a monthly trip to Sam’s.
So, I am curious …
Do you have a warehouse club membership? How often do you shop there vs. the grocery store or a Target-type shop? What items do you buy at the warehouse club? What items have you found to be a better deal there? (I know not everything is a good deal there, so that’s what I am curious about!)
If you have any insights or tidbits that you have found helpful for your family’s bottom dollar, please share them with me. I’d greatly appreciate your expertise, as I try to work on this budgeting project for my family.
Thank you!
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6 thoughts on “Research

  1. Great topic!

    I used to work for Sam's Club, so am a big supporter. I used to sell memberships to businesses and small and large corporations. I've done the cost effective shopping and I have quite a few things I always buy at Sam's versus the grocery store or Wal-Mart (Target, etc…)

    I also compared all the discount stores, around here, in my area, Shopco, Target, Wal-mart and K-mart. Now this was about 16 years ago, but I've found it to stay true by checking once in a while on a few items.

    I compared normal things that I, at the time was always buying at one particular store (the grocery store…for that one stop easy thing) I picked 10 things, shampoo, conditioner, mousse, soap, toothpaste, lotion, toilet paper, and a few other items (can't remember) on each item, Wal-mart was by far the cheapest, now this was brand name to brand name comparison. For example, shampoo was $3.99 or a little over $4 at Shopco and only $1 something at Wal-mart. Every item on my list was at least 50 cents less at Wal-mart and some things a couple bucks! These were items bought monthly at least, so we are talking $10 at least saving only on 10 items. I was single when I did this, now I know I save a ton more.

    K-mart was the most expensive, Shopco 2nd and then Target and last and cheapest was Wal-mart. Which explains why the shelves are always empty and the parking lot always full.

    The generic wal-mart diaper is around $10 or $12 for the big pack, they work just as well (I think better) than the brand name diapers that cost at least $5 more.

    Sam's Club:

    Their toilet paper is specially packaged for Sam's Club and each roll is a double roll, compared to the stores where it's a normal roll. A lot of items are like that. The cereal looks like a huge box of cereal, but for example the Cheerios, we buy, inside each big box is 2 separate bags of cheerios, so it's not so much and is about 1/3 less than the stores. (if not more)

    Tyson Boneless, skinless, Chicken Breasts, Sam's #1 seller, is the best price for large breasts anywhere and they are always good cuts.

    laundry soap, best price.
    Bar soap
    Liquid refill soap

    Children's Motrin sells for around $5 for a double pack.

    Fresh pineapple is always $2 something. Their large packs of strawberries are always $3 something and always delicious.

    Actually all their fresh fruit is amazing and priced so low, I always get my fruit there.

    Veggies are packed in too large of packs for me to get there, except their grape tomatoes and bell peppers. (I cut and freeze the peppers)I get these at normal grocery stores.

    18 eggs $1.33
    milk $2.36 per gallon!
    100 % juices priced great
    Cheese regular and shredded and fresh Parmesan, great prices, 1/2 of regular stores.
    Butter (we buy sticks for baking, etc…) 4 4packs for $6.28

    Also, books are always great prices, I always check out their books.

    Baby clothes are wholesale prices and all brand name (not that that matters)

    Pop, never get there, regular stores sell it at loss liter prices. Sam's sells pop for those large companies that maybe would pay double for Pepsi or Coke to deliver them, so prices are good for those types of companies.

    We get our meat from a farmer (we buy a cow) but my parents get their meat at Sam's and love it. It is good meat, always good cuts.

    Can you tell I used to sell this? Sorry for the long comment, you got me all excited!!!

    Try it, if only for the milk and cheese. Which is what I used to tell daycares. I loved selling to daycares!

  2. I should clarify, I buy what I can at Sam's and the rest is Wal-mart and then the grocery store.

    I don't buy everything at Sam's!

  3. I've had a Sam's membership for years and I second EVERYTHING Jamie said. What she purchases there is almost exactly the same for me. We do purchase the Member's Mark diapers at Sam's, too.

    I shop at Walmart when I'm short on time – mainly this past year when I was trying to combine grocery with miscellaneous shopping. I really appreciate that Walmart has started to carry natural made selections in beauty care (shampoos and soaps) because they are lower in cost. Otherwise, I found the fruit (when not purchased at Sam's) and vegatables to be of better quality at the grocery store near my Fargo home.

    I like to purchase in bulk and usually get to Sam's about 1/month now that we live farther away. It used to be about every other week when I lived in Fargo. The bonus for me with Sam's is that I have a business membership under my parents & I can go to the store at 7a. It much less busy and I can get in and out faster. Eric would stay home with the kids and I'd be home before he had to be on the road. Don't know if that would benefit you, but worth checking out.

    I do like Target … their maternity clothes are excellent and fit me well. I generally like their kid clothing because it does hold up well and the clearance sales are great!

  4. I think that you have to have incredible control when you shop at Sam's. It's not a deal if you don't need it and wouldn't buy it at the grocery store. Toilet paper at 5 cents less per roll is not a deal if you throw a $5 bag of candy into the cart that you wouldn't normally buy.
    We have a Costco nearby and I have been tempted to join, but I know that I don't have the willpower necessary to not buy things we don't need. So, my mother-in-law picks up things here and there. I am better off at a small discount grocer. I plan my menu, I make a list, and stick too it. I'm better off with no temptations!

  5. Thank you for all your feedback, ladies! I appreciate it!! It's so interesting to find out everyone's various perspectives. I am going to take all of this down (plus some more feedback I received on e-mail) and figure out what will work for my family. I hope to do some comparative shopping this week. We'll see what happens!

    And, Barbara, I am hesitant about being tempted like you mentioned, so I will have to stick to a list. I do that when I go to the grocery store anyway, so hopefully it won't be too hard …

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