Warehouse Club Stores: Should I Join a Club Membership?

When you’re out shopping, do you want to get the absolute best deal available? Don’t you just love discounts and sales and bargains? Who doesn’t?

Guess what. The Marketing teams who are hired by large companies know that you want deals, so they put them together for you so you’ll spend money at their stores.

pros and cons of warehouse club membership

An example happened for me the other day at a large chain book store. I picked up a $20 dollar book about economics (light reading, right?). At the checkout, the cashier asked if I had a membership to their book savers club. When I told him no, the natural response was to let me know that by joining today, I’d receive a 10% discount on all future purchases including today’s purchase. GREAT! Right?

He wanted to charge me $20 per year for the membership, that would actually only be $18 because of the discount. Today, my savings would be $4. Sounds good, big discount, right? WRONG!

Here’s the scoop. There are several club memberships out there. Some of the more popular ones are to the wholesale food clubs and to the big book stores. Here’s where they get you and where you need to be careful as a consumer. Do they charge a fee to be a member?

My family and I have a warehouse club membership. We get our gas at a nice discount that ultimately saves us $8 per month. The cost of the membership is $50 per year, so by the middle of the 4th month, we’ve recouped our membership cost and the rest is gravy.

Now at the book stores, I buy books at several different places. In order to break even on the book club membership, I’d have to spend $200 a year at their store. I do not spend that much at that store, so it doesn’t make sense. In fact, I buy most of my books online used for under $1 + shipping. Most of my books come to me for 20% of the retail price after adding in shipping.

The point is this. Smart Money Management means always looking for good deals. A good deal is only as good as the person buying the membership. Here are a couple of tips to help decide if the discount is worth it for you…

1. FREE?: Join up. If the membership is free and they are sending out coupons for deals, do it. It’s definitely worth it.
2. Cost?: Proceed with Caution. If there is a cost involved in being a member, evaluate your spending habits at that store. The stores know that most people do not spend enough to actually save money so it becomes a profit center for them. They sell discounts for a profit. Hard to believe right?
3. Today’s Savings?: Proceed with Caution. If you are spending enough that your savings today will offset the cost of the membership, then go ahead and take the savings. For example, are you spending more than $200 today on a $20 membership with a 10% savings?

Remember, these stores exist to make a profit by any means possible. They spend millions of dollars on research to see how consumers spend. They know consumers want good deals, so they sell them good deals. Be clear on this. It could save you a lot of otherwise wasted money.

Best of luck to you!


written by Joshua Christensen

Bio: Joshua Christensen is committed to Faith, Integrity, Trustworthiness, Abundance & Boldness. Living life on purpose, he is a devoted Christian, Father and Friend.

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