Saturday, March 14, 2009

Notes on Sam's Club v. Current Prices

This afternoon I ran to Sam's Club with my family for the first time in weeks. Before I got into couponing, Sam's was our regular grocery and diaper stop, and we rarely went to other stores for groceries. Now that I've been swimming in the couponing lane since last summer, I was pleasantly surprised to realize that there are still some reasons why Sam's Club (the nearest warehouse club to us) is worth our family's annual $40 membership fee.
  • Sam's gas runs 5-10 cents per gallon less than anywhere else. We fill up there almost any time we can manage it. Savings on our medium-sized SUV for a fillup is can run up to $1.50 or more - so even if we filled up for gas 30 times in the year just in our SUV (we also have a late-'90s sedan), we'd 'pay off' that membership fee!
  • Milk is $2.44 for a gallon of whole all the way down to $2.14 for a gallon of skim. This is even cheaper than double couponed milk at Shopper's Food Warehouse. Most stores sell milk for $3.50-$4.00/gallon. (Note that organic milk is not cheaper; at a little over $3 for a half-gallon, it doesn't beat Giant's $5.69 for a gallon of organic milk).
  • A quart of half'n'half is less than $1.50, the cheapest price anywhere that I've seen for half'n'half. Since I'm powered by caffeine, Sam's is where I still get my half'n'half (which has a surprisingly long shelf life).
  • Bananas were $0.42 cents/lb., and since bananas are rarely loss-leaders and run $0.50/lb.+, this is a significant savings. (We go through 2 large bunches each week since our daughter eats at least 2 each least she doesn't clamor for 2 papayas!)
  • Asparagus today was $1.73/lb. - four cents/lb. cheaper than Giant's loss-leader price for the week of $1.77/lb.!
  • Strawberries were 2 lb./~$4.50., still cheaper than Safeway's 2 lbs./$5 price.
  • Many other produce items went for loss-leader prices for most NOVA grocery stores, like nectarines, pears, and apples between $0.90 and $1.25/lb. - . Avocados were under $1 each.
  • Most spices and seasonings sell in huge containers for $3.50-$5.00. If you're like me and use garlic powder like it was going out of style, this is cheaper than the spice selections at grocery stores. Of course, there's always the CVS spice rack, if you need transaction filler at $1-2.
Some things that were not cheaper:
Looks like a few staples make renewing our membership least until I figure out how to coupon gas and milk down to those prices! ;) Meanwhile...the price of paper towels was enough to make us consider trying out Crystal Paine's paper towel free household for a while.

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Matt said...

Note on milk prices:

Milk at Wegmans was down to $2.19 for 1% and $2.14 for skim (regular price) as of Friday.

Redemption Unlimited Girls said...

Oooo excellent tip! We don't get to Wegman's as much due to other grocery stores being much closer, so we love input on any store's staple prices, especially since staples are harder to discount via coupons.

Thanks for posting, Matt!