The Pros and Cons of Warehouse Store Memberships

Warehouse club stores have substantially grown in popularity.  Costco is one of the biggest and most profitable retail stores and even competes with giant Wal-Mart.  Warehouse club stores generally have low prices and offer a wide variety of numerous items.  You can find everything from chicken and fish to televisions and recliners at warehouse club stores, and can usually find these items for a cheaper price than you could at another retail store.  Although there are these benefits and more to having a warehouse club membership, there are some disadvantages you should consider.

Although it is true that food prices are generally less expensive at warehouse club stores than at conventional grocery stores, warehouse club stores have far less selection and generally require that you purchase an item in bulk.  This is true even with perishable items.  For example, even though you can buy a 3 gallon jug of milk for at a warehouse club store for less money per gallon than you would pay at a conventional grocery store, you have to consider whether you are actually going to drink 3 gallons of milk before it expires.  If not, you are wasting money by purchasing your milk at a warehouse club store.

Many people stick to specific brands and do not change.  However, as mentioned above, warehouse club stores have a limited selection and may not carry your specific brand.  It is important to keep in mind that warehouse club stores do carry many brands, just not nearly as many as conventional grocery stores.  As such, if you are partial to a particular brand, your conventional grocery store may be your only option.

Cheaper prices on bulk items are great when you want to buy non-perishable, non-food items.  Some of the largest expenses in a household are toiletries and personal hygiene products.  Deodorant, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, soap, and razors, to name a few, are expensive products that greatly increase your grocery bill.  However, warehouse club stores offer these products in large quantities for dramatically cheaper prices than conventional grocery stores.  This is one product area where warehouse club stores stand far above the competition.

Probably the biggest disadvantage of a warehouse club store is that there is generally a yearly membership.  As such, you have to pay up front to purchase discount items throughout the year.  Fortunately, the membership fee is not very expensive (usually around $50 per year), and you easily make that money back in savings after a couple of shopping trips.  However, if you do not consistently shop at your warehouse club store, you will be wasting money on the yearly membership fee.

Before you decide to join a warehouse club store, make sure to weigh these advantages and disadvantages. You will have cheaper prices, but you will have to buy in bulk and will have limited selection.  This is not great when it comes to food, but is amazing when it comes to toiletries and personal hygiene products.  Another disadvantage is you have to pay a yearly membership fee.  Fortunately, the fee is not too expensive, and you should be able to make the fee up in savings after a couple of shopping trips.