Saving Money at Big Box Stores

If you shop at a warehouse club or one of those huge box stores, you most likely pay a yearly fee to maintain a membership. This fee should be taken into consideration when calculating any savings you might realize by purchasing food, clothing, pharmaceuticals, electronics, jewelry and other items there. The fee mandates a certain level of warehouse club shopping in order to recover the cost of your membership.

Your shopping excursions at a big box store should begin at home. Because you will buy in quantity or bulk packages, make sure you have adequate storage space in an area that permits easy access for retrieval and rotation of dated items. If you plan to purchase large quantities of meat, you will need plenty of freezer space. Make it a habit to inventory the storage area(s) at regular intervals and especially just prior to visiting the store. Bargains may not prove bargains if you overbuy and have to discard spoiled or out dated food items.

The inventory will aid in preparing a list of things to purchase. You will find making a list ahead of time crucial to saving money when shopping at a big box store. The list should have two categories, a “must have” section and a “stock up” section. The “must have” portion will include items consumed on a daily basis: meat, dairy products, fruit and vegetables. In the second section of the list put down packaged dry goods, canned food and paper products that you want to have on hand in quantity amounts. As you shop, mark off items you choose to purchase and, in the “must have” section, those selections obviously priced much higher than in an ordinary store; in the “stock up” section scratch anything not well reduced in price.

You probably take along the flyers (printed advertisements) when you shop at smaller stores as reminders of the best prices as well as for the coupons they contain. Why not take these same flyers with you when you visit a big box store? The flyers will help you do comparison shopping; some stores might honor their competitors’ coupons. It never hurts to ask. Be sure to sign up for the warehouse club’s flyer and email alerts to special offerings. As you shop, pay attention to the cost per ounce or per item and compare that with like items you can purchase elsewhere.

During a shopping excursion, make it a rule that only one person does the actual selection, closely following the shopping list. This avoids sudden impulse buying by a spouse or children accompanying the designated shopper. You could of course save time by cutting the list in two and having two people pull items from shelves or food bins. But stick to the list. Purchasing items on impulse, regardless of the supposed savings, invariably leads to overbuying.