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by Maurie Backman | Published on Jan. 15, 2022
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Joining a warehouse club could be a smart financial move. Here's how to know if it's right for you.
When I first moved to the suburbs, I was hesitant to join a warehouse club. At the time, it was just me and my husband, and although the membership fee (about $50) wasn't horrendously expensive, I also wasn't sure we'd end up getting our money's worth.
But now that we have three school-aged children, I can say with certainty that being warehouse club members not only makes sense for my family, but has also resulted in a world of savings, despite the annual fee we pay. If you're thinking of joining a warehouse club, ask yourself these three questions to determine whether it's the right choice for you.
If you're single or are part of a couple without kids, you may not spend enough money at a warehouse club to justify the annual fee you'll pay. Furthermore, if you don't have that many people in your household, you may not use up bulk grocery items before they expire.
But if you have a larger family, then you may not be as likely to fall victim to food waste. In my house, we buy things like spinach and broccoli in bulk, and even with picky eaters, we still manage to eat all of it before it goes bad. Similarly, we go through a ton of fruit, so buying it in bulk saves us money and it never goes to waste.
I'll admit that I'm not always so great about planning out meals in advance. But I've gotten better at it through the years, and that's helped me make the most of my warehouse club membership.
There are certain bulk items, like frozen vegetables or sauces, that I'll buy more frequently because I've figured out in advance what meals they'll be used for. If you're a meal planner, or are willing to become one, a warehouse club membership could work out well for you.
In my house, we have our regular fridge/freezer combo in our kitchen, a spare fridge/freezer in our basement, and a deep freezer. We also have a large pantry for non-perishable goods.
I realize most people don't have as much capacity to store perishables as we do. But if you have a decent amount of storage, a warehouse club membership could pay off.
If you're perpetually low on space, then you're probably better off not joining a warehouse club. After all, what's the point of scoring an awesome price on bulk chicken nuggets if you have no place to put them? And while you get more leeway with non-perishables, do you really want to have to store two months' worth of cheese crackers and granola bars in the corner of your bedroom because you don't have a large enough pantry?
Spending less on groceries helps my family pad our savings, and to that end, belonging to a warehouse club makes sense. Not only does our membership more than pay for itself, but I'd say we come out ahead by many hundreds of dollars a year. Joining a warehouse club could similarly benefit you, but run through these questions first to make sure that's a good fit.
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