10 Best Buys at Warehouse Clubs

Everyone loves a deal, and warehouse clubs promise so many of them that you’ll pay to get in the door. However, to maximize your savings, be sure you’re not missing the very best deals.

Here are our suggestions on how to make the most of your warehouse membership.

1. Alcohol

We’re not encouraging you to consume too much, but we can’t help but point out that those big bottles of wine at your local warehouse store can be a big bargain. Liquor and beer are typically cheaper here than at the local grocer.

The best thing about buying alcohol at a warehouse club is that, in some states, you don’t even need a membership. Depending on your state laws, you may be able to walk in and buy discounted libations without paying an annual fee.

2. Prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines

Prescription drugs are something else you can buy from a warehouse club even if you don’t have a membership. Check your local warehouse club first before heading to the drugstore.

You do need a membership to purchase over-the-counter medicines, and these items are often sold at a significant discount, too. However, be realistic about whether you’ll use up your purchase before its expiration date. You’re not saving any money if you end up tossing half the bottle in the trash.

For more on shopping without a membership, check out:

3. Dairy products

Among dairy products, milk is probably going to be your biggest bargain. Regular prices can be lower at a warehouse club than even sale prices at the grocery store. Cheese is also usually a good buy, while eggs can be hit or miss.

4. Organic produce

I have friends who have Costco memberships specifically for the organic produce. They swear the club has the best quality and the lowest price of any store in our metropolitan area. Of course, they have large families and go through a tremendous amount of food each week, too.

Plan what you intend to do with bulk produce purchases. These items won’t keep in your fridge for long. You might see about splitting the goods with another family. Another option is to prep and freeze the extras for future use.

5. Meat

Meat is another best buy at warehouse clubs. You may find sale prices at local grocery stores that are comparable to prices at the warehouse club, but the latter seems to stock better-quality meats.

With meat, you don’t need to stress quite as much about buying in bulk. Freezing meat is simple and doesn’t require the same level of prep work you might encounter with produce. Simply break down the bulk package into the desired quantities, wrap in freezer bags — squeeze out the air in the bag before sealing — and you’re done.

6. Electronics

There seems to be some debate about the value of buying electronics at the warehouse clubs. While the prices are definitely competitive, you may be able to find cheaper comparable items online or at big-box electronic stores.

Warehouse products might come with a complimentary in-house warranty that beats anything offered by the manufacturer. However, it’s best to do some shopping around before a major purchase to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

7. Dog and cat food

The Kirkland pet food sold at Costco has all the ingredients of a high-end brand but is sold at a fraction of the cost. Kirkland is made by the same company that produces the Diamond brand.

Meanwhile, you’re likely to find deals on other pet foods at all the warehouse clubs. People with large dogs will most likely benefit from the big bags sold at these stores.

8. Gasoline

Many warehouse clubs have their own gas stations now. While the prices may not warrant a special trip, you should definitely fill up while at the store. Gas at warehouse clubs is generally at least a few cents cheaper than what you’ll find at surrounding stations.

9. Tires

Speaking of cars, your warehouse club might also be your best bet for a deal on new tires. The price may be cheaper and the installation practically free. What’s more, your tires can be changed while you shop, making it a convenient way to cross one more thing off your to-do list.

10. Caskets and urns

Finally, if you have a Costco membership, head online to check out its selection of caskets and urns. Even with shipping, its prices are much cheaper than practically anything you’d find through your local funeral home.

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