Photo (cc) by JeepersMedia
When it comes to warehouse clubs, the pecking order is clear: Costco is the powerful locomotive at the front of the pack.
Farther down the track is Sam’s Club, fired by all of Walmart’s retail might.
Meanwhile, lagging somewhere way off in the distance is BJ’s Wholesale Club — the little engine that could.
But just because BJ’s is the underdog doesn’t mean you should overlook it. This warehouse club offers great savings, and even a few perks you won’t find at its more widely known competitors.
Following are seven ways to save at BJ’s — including a big one you won’t find at any other warehouse club.
1. Get cash back on online purchases, plus a free $10 gift card
If you’re not using a cash-back site, you may bewasting money when you shop online.
For example, in less than 15 seconds, you can register with Ebates. The website offers cash back at more than 1,800 online stores, including BJ’s. While rebates tend to be low at BJ’s — typically 1 percent — rebates at other online stores can be as high as 40 percent. You’ll get your cash quarterly as long as you’ve earned at least $5.
There’s no “gotcha.” Stores pay Ebates a commission for sending you their way, and Ebates shares the commission with you as cash back. Here’s what to do:
- Click this link, which will take you to the Ebates sign-up page. Join with Facebook, or simply fill in your email address. That’s it: You don’t have to provide bank or credit card info, and the process takes less time than it took to read this sentence.
- Choose your bonus: You can get either a $10 Ebates cash bonus, or a $10 gift card from Walmart.
- Spend at least $25 through Ebates within 90 days of becoming a member. (Hint: Sign up for their daily double email to learn which stores are offering double cash back and use their browser plug-in.)
That’s it! Free money for signing up, and free money when you shop online — not just at BJ’s but at nearly 2,000 other websites, too.
2. Stick to your list
It’s easy to give into your impulses when shopping in a warehouse — especially one that carries thousands more items than its competitors. BJ’s says it carries about 7,000 items, compared with a more typical 4,000 at competitors.
But if you make a list ahead of time and adhere to it as you walk up and down BJ’s product-laden aisles, you’ll likely spend less and walk out of the store a winner.
3. Clip those coupons
Are you aware that unlike Costco and Sam’s Club, BJ’s honors manufacturer coupons? Plus, it allows you to stack them with in-store coupons and deals.
You can score BJ’s own coupons in the BJ’s Member Journal (the company’s magazine), in the mail and through promotional emails (register for these on BJs.com).
Be sure to organize all those coupons before your next shopping trip to save time as well as money!
4. Give store brands a shot
If you’re used to shopping name brands, you might be surprised to find that BJ’s house brands give these goods a run for their money while also costing less. BJ’s offers its own competing paper goods, diapers, produce, pet food and more.
Plus, BJ’s brand products — Berkley Jensen and Wellsley Farms — come with a 100 percent money back guarantee. So, there’s no harm in taking them for a test run!
5. Upgrade to BJ’s Perks Rewardas member
A standard Personal Membership at BJ’s costs $50 annually. An upgrade to BJ’s Perks Rewards Membership bumps the fee up to $100 per year. But members of BJ’s Perks Rewards earn 2 percent cash back on most of their in-store and online purchases.
If you do the math, you’ll realize that depending on how often you shop and how much you buy, the upgraded membership easily can pay for itself, and then some.
6. Apply for a BJ’s MasterCard
The warehouse club offers two MasterCards to choose from. The BJ’s Perks Plus MasterCard allows cardholders to earn 3 percent back on most of their BJ’s purchases. It is available to members who pay the $50 annual membership fee.
The BJ’s Perks Elite MasterCard is available to members who pay the $100 membership fee, and allows cardholders to earn 5 percent back on a majority of their in-store and online purchases.
Members who hold these cards also enjoy 10 cents off every gallon of BJ’s gasoline and up to 2 percent back on restaurant and gas purchases in other places where MasterCard is accepted. Finally, you will get 1 percent back on purchases everywhere else MasterCard is accepted.
7. Get military savings
U.S. military personnel can get a reduced membership fee. According to BJ’s:
Active military ID, “Veteran” designation on state-issued ID, or other proof of service is required. Military Memberships have the same features and benefits as an Inner Circle Membership
As a thank you for your service, you’ll save 30 percent off your membership, and you’ll get a $10 coupon.
Do you have other tips for saving at BJ’s? Share them in our Forums. It’s a place where you can swap questions and answers on money-related matters, life hacks and ingenious ways to save.
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