Extreme Couponing Tip: Warehouse Woes

At your typical warehouse club, you pay an annual fee to be able to shop there. The casual consumer assumes that because they pay a membership cost, the prices must be super low! But most wholesale clubs do not accept manufacturer coupons or have seasonal sale cycles. And the only things you’re going to get for free are samples.

With carts big enough to sleep in, you can be tempted to impulse buy to fill it up. The problem is that at a regular store an impulse buy may cost you a few dollars, but an impulse buy at a warehouse can be $20 plus. Additionally, trying out a bulk new product that you end up not liking means a lot of space taken up by a leftover product that is never used and is even eventually tossed out. If you don’t have a lot of months to feed, buying in big packages can be wasteful when things expire before you have a chance to use them.

You can successfully shop at wholesale warehouses only if you are very careful. Some products are cheaper, such as dairy, some meat or baking goods, electronics, or a few big ticket items, but make sure to always compare price per unit compared with your local grocery and drugstores. Also, ensure that you will have room to store the bulk packages (usually an additional freezer and/or extra shelving is necessary for the avid warehouse-goer). To be effective, stick to a list, resist impulse buys, and price compare.

Keep in mind that shopping sale cycles and weekly deals at more than one store with coupons (including great perks like Reward/Catalina promotions, stacking a manufacturer coupon with a store coupon, or price matching) can add up to much bigger savings. National drugstore deals include free or moneymaker items (oral care, medicine, household cleaners, feminine products, etc).  Grocery store specials with coupons can get you pasta, cereal, soup, cake mix, boxed dinners, and more for under $0.50 each. Moreover, chain grocery stores offer a wide variety of specialized food, a multitude of flavor options, and clearance items, most of which are usually not available at warehouses.