5 Ways to Avoid Overspending at Warehouse Clubs

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The savvier you are with warehouse club shopping, the less likely you'll be to bust your budget.

The savvier you are with warehouse club shopping, the less likely you'll be to bust your budget. 

Some people find warehouse clubs intimidating, but if you tend to frequent one, you're probably well aware that it's dangerously easy to spend a large chunk of your paycheck in one fell swoop. That's why it's so important to be strategic when shopping at warehouse clubs. Here's how you can avoid going overboard. 

1. Always go in with a shopping list

The temptation to spend money can be huge when you shop at warehouse clubs. That's why it's crucial to make a list each time you shop -- and stick to it. If you take the time to put a list together, hopefully you'll be less likely to stray from it. Of course, if you really want to ensure that you don't spend too much, leave your credit cards at home and bring only enough cash with you to cover the items you're planning to buy. You'll lose out on potential cash back or reward points, but you'll at least guarantee that you won't spend more than you planned.

2. Don't take chances on bulk items you've never used before

Warehouse clubs tend to offer great deals on bulk products, but when the product in question is something you've never used before, you may not want its supersized version for your first go-round. Imagine you take a chance on a new cereal only to find out that your kids hate it. Congratulations -- you've just thrown your money away. The same holds true if you buy a gigantic bottle of shampoo that makes your scalp itch, or a household cleaner with a smell you can't stomach. Sticking to items you already know is a good way to avoid losing money. 

3. Be mindful of your available food storage

Chances are, you only have so much fridge and freezer space to work with. You might reap some savings by buying a mega-tub of cottage cheese or a three-month supply of your kids' favorite pizza bagels, but if you don't have room to store those items, you'll once again wind up throwing your money away. As such, be sure to see what your available storage space looks like before you make purchases you can't physically keep. 

4. Comparison-shop before you buy

Warehouse clubs are known for good deals, but that doesn't mean they always offer the best prices around. If you're buying bigger-ticket items, shop around before heading to your local club. You may find that there's a better deal online or at another retailer. 

5. Don't buy the wrong membership

Some warehouse clubs offer upgraded memberships that cost more but come with added perks. These may seem tempting, but think about whether those benefits will really pay for themselves. If you don't shop at your local club all that often, you may not need the added hours or extra cash back on your purchases -- especially if you wind up paying an additional $50 or $100 for those privileges. 

Warehouse clubs can serve as a solid source of savings -- but only if you're careful. Use these tips to avoid overspending so you don't blow your budget in pursuit of a bargain.

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