Sams Club Trial Membership 2009

If you are not currently a member of Sam’s Club, now may be a good time for a trial membership.  Between now and June 7, 2009, sign up for a Sam’s Club trial membership for $15 and enjoy membership benefits until Labor Day.

My wife and I are already Sam’s Club members, and shop there roughly once a month to stock up on a few things.  You have to be a little careful when shopping at wholesale clubs – you can wind up spending a lot more money on things you don’t necessarily need.  I’ve been known to buy the occasional box of 100 hot and spicy frozen chicken wings – not a very frugal purchase.  Still, if you have some restraint, you can find a few great deals over grocery chains.

Five Best Things to Buy at Sam’s Club

Gasoline.  A lot of people forget about Sam’s Club when it comes time to fill up their tank.  In our area, Sam’s consistently beats the price of most of other gas stations.  We try to take advantage by planning our monthly shopping trip around time to fill up.

Digital Photo Prints.  Upload digital 4×6 prints over the Web and have them printed at your local Sam’s Club for about $0.13 a copy.  Considering the cost of photo paper and ink, this is not a bad deal for printing a handful of your favorite vacation photos!

Furniture.  We bought our current mattress at Sam’s Club a couple years ago, and have been eying a kitchen table set (ours badly needs replacing).  When our “furniture” sinking fund has enough we plan to shop Sam’s Club versus an expensive furniture store. One note, you do typically have to put the table legs, chair legs and backs on yourself, but a little sweat is worth the savings.

Tires. I always shop the prices at Sam’s Club before buying new tires. Unless I am looking for a specific brand, or a unique tire size (I’m usually not very picky), I can find a good deal at the local Sam’s Club automotive area.

Jewelry.  Sam’s frequently has excellent deals on jewelry, particularly if you are in the market for a ring.  Why pay jewelry store prices if you don’t have to?

Chances are, you can easily make back the $15 summer membership fee by Labor Day, particularly if you just happen to be in the market for a big purchase or would like to stock up before next fall.

Comments

  1. Thanks for finding this deal! The future wife and I were just talking about this today on our daily walk. However, we do not have an abundance of space (cabinet and freezer). Any tips for shopping at Sam’s Club for people without a lot of space? Is it still worth it?

  2. With tires, you can also order them. If you know ahead of time that you’re going to need one, they do order them, and you get them within 2 weeks, usually (might be longer now). We had to do that with my husband’s truck tires.

  3. I love Sam’s. In addition to the items already mentioned, it’s one of the best places to also stock up on things like diapers and baby formula. They even take certain coupons, so you can save big.

    But to address Adam’s concern about limited space, I know how that goes. We’re in the same boat. We don’t have tons of storage space, a big chest freezer or anything like that. So, our Sam’s membership is primarily used for buying the items you constantly need all the time. Trash bags, zip top bags, toilet paper, paper towels, and some food items with a long shelf life. It would be nice to take advantage of more bulk foods, but there’s just no way to store massive quantities of food around our house.

    As far as being worth it, I’d say as long as you are smart about what you’re buying (i.e. still only buying things you need or would buy regardless) then the membership easily pays for itself in just one shopping trip. The problem is when you get in the habit of buying something you don’t need or more or something just because it’s a good deal. Stay away from that trap and you’ll see that you don’t have to be stocking up for the next biosphere to make it worthwhile.

  4. When my husband and I got married 5 years ago he bought my engagement ring and wedding band at Sam’s. He got higher grade diamonds and more carats for his buck. It is beautiful !

  5. I am the second person on my mom’s membership. I love it! Kashi Go Lean Crunch, which I eat every morning, rarely goes on decent sale. Sam’s though, has two-bag packs (bigger than two regular cereal boxes put together) for around $7.70. In addition, it’s a great place for cheap milk. We get a gallon of milk for $1.77. Most store sales still can’t beat that price!

  6. I wasn’t all that impressed with their prices – but you can really save on diapers and other baby disposables. We plan to get a membership again when we start our family.

    You’ve got to be really careful. I was looking at their laundry detergent, ect. and comparing unit prices – if you’re willing to play the coupon/sale game, you can often come out ahead shopping at a regular store.

  7. Just a heads up on furniture at Sam’s Club. My husband and I have both worked in furniture (I worked for a retail store and he worked for a wholesaler). My husbands company sold VERY low end furniture, the kind that won’t last very long and they sell A LOT to Sam’s Club. Also, we – unfortunately – know from experience that some of the brands they carry (namely Ashley) aren’t very well made. You are definitely going to get what you pay for with Sam’s Club.

    It can be a great deal if you are outfitting an area of your home that doesn’t get a lot of use or if you don’t have small children/animals that are prone to marking up and being rough on furniture. But you definitely need to watch what you buy there.

  8. Just a word of caution here. In order to recoup the cost of a $15 membership, you’ll probably need to spend something on the order of $300 just to break even. Follow me here…

    Say that on average Sam’s prices are 5% lower than where you would normally shop. (I ran the numbers for BJ’s and the numbers weren’t even that good for the things I would typically buy.) Divide $15 by 5% and you come up with the $300. Will you spend more than that before Labor Day? Because until you break even, you see no advantage at all. If the savings average out at *less* than 5%, you’ll have to spend even more just to break even. If you drive farther to get to Sam’s than your regular store, add on expenses for extra gas and your time.

    An example. Say you plan to save money through this deal by buying gasoline. The average price nationally in the US is currently $2.48/gallon. If Sam’s offers 5% savings, your price would be $2.356/gallon. To rack up $15 in savings you have to buy $300 worth of gas, or more than 127 gallons at such a price. Are you really going to use that much gas by Labor Day? That’s 7 or 8 refills on an empty tank in the average car – just to break even. If you have a long commute every day, you’re set – provided you’re really seeing a 5% savings. If you work from home, use public transit, or telecommute, you probably won’t break even on gas alone. Is it really the case that Sam’s beats average gas prices by as much as 5%? If not, you won’t reach a break even point until you spend even more money. And you only have three months to reach that break even point and then start saving.

    After running such numbers for my consumption patterns and for our local warehouse club, I concluded it wasn’t worth it to me. I sometimes still shop there when they offer free trial memberships for a few weeks at a time. But I’m done paying for the privilege of shopping anywhere. The numbers don’t add up for us.

  9. Just another perk to point out – if you do get tires at Sams Club, don’t forget that they provide free rotation and balancing for the lifetime of the tires. I’m not sure if that service continues if you stop being a member, but considering that you need to get this done regularly anyway, it’s a good benefit. (and could quickly pay off the membership fee.)

  10. I love shopping at Sam’s and get more than my money’s-worth there. First off, we make sure to buy our gas there because it’s always cheaper than anywhere else around here. We also think the quality of their baked goods is astounding for the price. Where else can you get two huge loaves of FRESH whole wheat sandwhich bread for $3.50? Milk is cheap, so many good thinks to try while shopping. Albertsons, Ralphs or the other grocery chains don’t offer samples. You save by buying things you have actually tried and like. A tip for the folks with limited freezer space. One of the “sample ladies” by the freezer section taught me. She pointed out that one could fit a whole lot more in an ordinary household freezer if you take things out of boxes. it works like a charm for us. I cut out the directions and put them by the fridge so when it comes time to heat something up, I have them. Finally, who doesn’t love the INCREDIBLE Nathan’s hot dogs and huge soda fcr $1.50??? Can’t beat buying your family lunch for around $10!!!!! That alone is worth the membership. :)

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