Monday, November 2, 2009

Sam's Club--What Was Worth It

My mom, daughter and I drove to one of the largest cities in Wyoming this weekend to visit my brother and his wife (who are working for missionaries there until they are allowed to go back to Honduras) and to hit Sam's Club. It was a quick, but fun trip and I got to experience shopping at Sam's for the first time ever. I'm grateful to my brother and Anna for taking us and letting us use their member card.

Whipping out my little calculator, I did price comparisons per ounce on everything I wanted to buy. I had heard that some things are cheaper than stores and other things are NOT so I was careful. I was disappointed to discover that diapers and wipes (two things I needed) weren't an especially great deal since I can often get them on super coupon deals. So, I skipped those. I was also hoping chocolate chips would be a great price with holiday baking coming up, but discovered that the autumn and Christmas sales at our local stores on that item are better.

Here are the things that were an EXCELLENT deal for me:

Kid's socks (Two older kids hardly have any socks that fit anymore and can never find any when we're in a hurry.) $10 for 8 pair of high-quality and adorable socks (Yes, the thrift store is cheaper but they don't have good socks there right now and this is the best deal I've seen on socks in our area)

Men's work socks--$11.50 for 8 pairs

Honey (unrefined)--$1o for 5# is a super deal for our area

Garlic--Got about 15 bulbs for $1

Brown sugar--7# for $4.40

Olive Oil--Came in at half of the local sale price at $15 for 101 ounces

Vinegar--$1.50 a gallon in a 2-gallon pack. This is 50 cents cheaper than Wal-Mart's price per gallon

Salsa--Pace Picante--Came in $1 cheaper than the Wal-Mart by-the-gallon price and we can use up a gallon in 2-3 months! $8.93 per gallon

Chicken Broth (no MSG or artificial ingredients) --$6 for 12 cans (Walgreens often has this on sale for 50 cents but never any in stock when I go so this was a great deal)

Pure Vanilla--$6 for 16 oz. In our area you would pay about $7 for 5 oz. of this stuff.

Smart Balance--I calculated that it was about 60% less to buy it at Sam's then to buy it on the best sale in our town.

Yeast--2# for $4.26 This is a year's supply for us to cover all of our baking needs. In the past I've purchased it for $6 for 1# and that was still an INCREDIBLE deal because otherwise you find yourself paying $1-2 depending on the sales for 3 packets of yeast that will make 3 batches of bread.

Mozzarella Cheese--5# for $10 isn't bad and we make a lot of homemade pizza! This price beats the very best sales on shredded cheese we've seen around.

Genesis Today Acai Juice--called "magical juice" by some for it's assistance in dropping weight, this stuff is $7 a bottle at the nearest Wal-Mart, but a little under $6 at Sam's Club. I bought some for my dad, my friend, and myself upon their requests.
Dill Pickles--$4 for a gallon and once they are gone I will have a nice glass jar to store flour or sugar in.

Things that were CLOSE to a good deal:

Refried beans

Diced Tomatoes

Classico or Ragu Spaghetti Sauce

Honey Bunches of Oats

Parmesan Cheese

Chocolate Chips

Chocolate Truffles and Cocoas for Christmas Gift Baskets

Foil--half the price per foot of the cheap foil I usually buy but who can afford to blow $15 of their grocery money on foil at one time?

Ziplocs--a great deal but I didn't want to spend $14 on Ziplocs even if they would have lasted me a year!

Tablecloths and restaurant style pitchers, salt shakers, cups, etc.
Sour Cream and Cottage Cheese (I wish I had brought a cooler--these were EXCELLENT deals! If you do bulk cooking these would be great buys for making lasagnas to freeze!)

Almost bought these things but realized that by paying attention to deals and utelizing coupons, I can probably find some of these things for the same price or even a little cheaper and then I wouldn't have to store them in our small home, not to mention that I could buy them a little at a time and spend less at Sam's.

If we hadn't of had more shopping around the town to do and a 2.5 hour drive home, I would have loved to buy a Cheesecake Factory cheesecake (Pumkin or Chocolate Truffle) to enjoy with my hubby. My brother ordered his wedding cheesecakes here and they were the yummiest cheesecakes many people had ever tasted. However, I knew one would spoil before I got it home and also knew that I didn't need the 500 calories-per-slice!

*Note: If you do have a membership and easy access to Sam's, they have great photo card deals for Christmas photos.

Because I don't get to the city where Sam's is more than once or twice a year, I'm not sure if it would be worth getting a membership for myself. One of my good friends recently moved there so I may just go with her when I'm there from now on. When I consider the gas money and time it takes, it probably wouldn't save me a bit if I was making that drive only to shop at Sam's.

However, if you're on vacation, have sports events in the area, go to concerts, have friends to visit, or a specialty doctor appointment it would definitely make sense to go there. Our pastor's wife buys a lot of the church supplies there (foam cups, paper towels for bathrooms, etc.) and shops there for food supplies for the annual Family Camp where she plans meals for over 100 people. She also has 4 kids (3 of whom were teens AND athletes) and she goes often simply because in the long run it saves her tons of money with the amount her kids eat. If Sam's was within 45 miles of where I lived I would definitely buy a membership and shop there often! It is very likely that when the kids are older and eating even more we'll get a membership to Sam's and make trips there every few months.

Not-So-Great Prices at Sam's:

A couple of examples:
3# of grapes for $5 (grocery stores often run sales on these for $1 per pound)
10# of potatoes for $3.89 (Safeway recently sold 10# bags for 99 cents)


Crackers and Snack Products (not only loaded with junk and fat, but some things were more expensive per ounce than buying the item at a local store.)


Small Town Mamma said...

This was really interesting to read!

I have recently discovered that sometimes 'bulk' buys aren't as good a deal as buying in smaller amounts. I saw a tv show about how companies have wised up to consumers buying in bulk, and it can actually be more expensive, because shoppers often blindly think that 'bulk' means cheaper.

So I definitely take my calculator with me when we shop now!

Delchi, Krista, Sabria and Ariana said...

I feel really blessed. We have a Sams here where we live and I love it! Thanks for the pricing, I have found the prices to be the same here and have found over time what is a good deal and what I can find cheaper. I love their large container of peeled garlic. I split with my mother-in-law so I can use it all before it goes bad. I also buy my butter there...Great price! I also enjoy going to Costco. I was given a half a year membership from my grandma-in-law. The prices there at Costco seem to be a bit higher than Sams but they have more Organic products and a wider selection all around. They also have great samples! :) Over all though, I find myself going back to Sam's most often for my usual purchases that are the greatest deals.
Glad you were able to get away and have some fun times with your family. Great Post!

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