Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Go Bulk or Go... Some Where Else?
What is most cost effective, shopping at Costco or BJ’s or shopping at Wal-Mart or Target?
What Kind of Store is Costco and BJ’s
Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s are big box stores that sell items in bulk. They were created to give large families and business owners a source of goods and services for a lower price in a convenient place, their neighborhood.
Typical big box, or wholesale warehouses required licenses and large membership fees. The general public did not have access to them either. So Sam’s Club and Costco were created.
These stores were advertised as low cost leaders for bulk goods. They were initially for businesses but also for large families who need to buy a lot of food and household goods at a discount price.
How to Make the Most of Big Box Stores
These stores can be cost effective if you have a big family, meaning you have four or more children. If you have a good income you will do well for your family at this type of store.
To keep cost a bit lower on some items, if you are a member you will get coupons in the mail every month. Unfortunately you cannot use the regular manufacturer coupons you find in the weekly newspaper. You cannot double or triple coupons for bigger savings.
Beware the Budget-Busting Attraction of Big Box Stores
If you are on a tight budget, using coupons is a big cost savings and is very cost efficient. Shopping at Costco or BJ’s may undermine your budget because of all the great products they carry. You will likely spend the same amount of money on a hand full of items compared to a basketful of items from your local grocery store.
I’d say the big box stores are great for buying household items like detergent, electronic goods, paper goods, and frozen foods you eat regularly.
Keep in mind that when you buy in bulk you have to use it up before it expires (if it is a perishable item). If you family is small you may find you are throwing out more food than you thought you would.
How to Make it Cost Efficient
If you really want to shop at Costco or BJ’s, consider partnering with one or two other families who have the same food and household product taste you do. Split the cost of the membership card if possible. Shop together and split the cost and groceries. This will require commitment from all parties involved.
Shopping at Costco or BJ’s can be cost efficient if you have a large family or can split the cost of food and household products with one or two other families. Otherwise you may do better shopping at your local grocery story by catching good sales and using coupons on sale items.
This contribution is from Samantha Gregory. Gregory is an Atlanta mom, freelance writer, and editor at Rich Single Momma.com where she writes about single mom money issues. Follow her on Twitter @RichSingleMommaand @Samantha Gregory