Warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam's Club can be hit or miss when it comes to saving money. In some areas, it's simply not worth the trip (I think one of the reasons Nate doesn't like shopping with me is because I walk around saying, "I can get this cheaper at the commissary/Target/HEB with coupons."). If you're using a warehouse club, do yourself a favor and steer clear of things like boxed cereals, sodas, detergent and other cleaning supplies. You really can get them cheaper somewhere else. The produce is also hit or miss because local grocers change their ads once a week, which means one week HEB is cheaper, the next Sam's Club is cheaper. It requires a lot of attention to detail, which doesn't happen with E, so I kind of use my best judgment (FYI - $1.50 for a pound of strawberries is a good price).
However, there are some things that I tend to buy exclusively at Sam's Club. Paper goods (because I'm too lazy to look for coupons/deals and we're very brand loyal) and some other items. I thought I'd share some of the "other items" with you since they're almost always a bargain at Sam's.
Vanilla Extract: If you look on Amazon, you can find this for about $10. At my local grocery store, it's about $6-7 for 4 ounces. This bottle, at 16 oz, is a steal in my opinion. I especially like to buy this around the holidays because I never have enough vanilla.
Seasoning: Right, so, shopping with a toddler means photographing the wrong product with the right price. Whoops...The $3 price is for dried basil in the same large bottle. Really all of their Tone's spices run around $3-$6 and they come in huge sizes. My local grocery store carries the much smaller bottles for the same price. For example, I recently bought a 20 oz bottle of chili powder at Sam's for about $6 and the 2 oz bottle I was replacing in our cabinet probably ran me about $3 at our local grocery store.
Coconut Oil: We didn't use coconut oil until E came along and now I'm not sure how we lived without it. I use it to cook with, but more than anything I use it on our skin. I use it to moisturize my face and body at night, E's butt during the day and on cuts and scrapes. When in doubt, throw some coconut oil on it. My local store sells a teeny jar (I think about 16 oz) for about $6 so 54 oz for $15 is a good deal. We've had our jar for a few months now and there's still about half left.
Chia Seeds: My new love of chia seeds appreciates this stellar deal. If you look online at Bob's Red Mill chia seeds, a 16 oz package is about $15. This 32 oz bag at Sam's is only $14. Put it in your cart.
Quinoa: This same bag of organic quinoa is $17 on Amazon right now. And if you're buying it on a regular basis, saving $7 each time really adds up. As far as my local grocery stores go, I've never seen a two-pound bag of quinoa. The smaller bags/boxes usually run $4-5 so it pays to buy in bulk.
Chicken: There are cheaper rotisserie chickens out there and I've tried them all (OK, most) including the different ones at HEB. However, this $5 chicken is my favorite. There's enough for dinner, lunch the next day and leftovers that I can freeze for future chicken & dumplings. You can tell by the photo that I'm not the only one that enjoys this chicken. Totally random side note: this makes me think of Father of the Bride when Martin Short is talking about cheap chicken. Such an awesome movie.
Salmon: I normally stick to the aisles that carry my regular items, but E and I ventured off the beaten path to the frozen section a few weeks ago and found these Jim Beam salmon fillets. Each one comes on its own cedar plank and 6 for $8 seems like a good price to me. Oh and they're really, really good on the grill.
Gift Cards: Another area I usually breeze by is the gift card section, but it's worth a brief glance when you go in. They carry national cards, but they also carry a few gift cards for local places. We bought our Thanksgiving turkey from Dickey's last year and I could've saved 20% if I had done this first. Blah.
Rolls: As part of our membership renewal, we got a package of these rolls for free. They are, without question, amazing. They stayed fresh for days, they froze well, and they tasted good. Oh and they're only $5 for 36 rolls.
Cupcakes: I saved the best for last. If you've never had a Sam's Club cupcake, you aren't really living. They have the best grocery store cupcakes out there (specialty stores don't count, although, there are some days I'd still choose a Sam's Club cupcake). At $15 for 30, it's worth checking out. They're convenient and top quality. In fact, I put in an order today for 30 Frozen cupcakes for an upcoming play date. As a bonus, you can customize the cakes/cupcakes for free and they carry lots of popular characters.
Overall, if you know what to look for you can really get some great bargains at Sam's. And did I mention they have amazing cupcakes? I feel like maybe I didn't do that paragraph justice. If I had, you'd be out buying some right now. And then you'd drop some off at our house because you're eternally grateful for my recommendation because they are in fact, the best cupcakes you've ever eaten.
PS - I prefer the vanilla ones.