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There’s no doubt that wholesale clubs offer incredible prices on all sorts of products. Though, if you factor in their annual membership fee, it’s reasonable to wonder, are wholesale clubs worth it?
Wholesale clubs are worth it if you can make up the cost of the membership on the discounted price of items you would normally buy elsewhere. In many cases, the bulk pricing on groceries, alone, can make up for this membership fee. However, lower prices on gas, tires, and electronics can also make a wholesale club worth the cost.
If you are looking into purchasing a membership to one of these clubs, but you can’t quite decide if it’s right for you, you have come to the right place.
For the rest of this article, I am going to cover the pros and cons of wholesale clubs. Hopefully, my experience on this matter will help provide you some clarity in your decision.
Let’s get started!
How Much Is A Wholesale Club Membership?
Wholesale memberships vary between the clubs you are looking to join. So, before you can decide which is right for you, it’s important to know how much an annual membership will cost you. In the table below, you will find the most popular wholesale clubs, and their respective membership fees (at the time of writing this article).
|Wholesale Club||Membership Fees|
|Sam's Club||$45/year for Club Membership|
$100/year for Plus Membership
|BJ's||$10/year for Online Access Membership|
$55/year for Inner Circle Membership
$110/year for Perks Rewards Membership
|Costco||$55/year for Gold Star Membership|
$120/year for Gold Star Executive Membership
For most of my adult life, I didn’t belong to any wholesale clubs. Whenever I ran out of food, I would just head to the closest grocery store. If my car was low on gas, I would hit the nearest gas station. Little did I know, I was spending significantly more money on these things than I should have been.Wholesale Clubs – The Pros
It wasn’t until my wife showed laid out the numbers for me, that I finally decided to make the plunge into the warehouse shopping lifestyle. And man did it work out well. Since that day, I have come to love all sorts of things about wholesale clubs.
What follows are a few great benefits that wholesale clubs have to offer.
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This might be fairly obvious, but wholesale club prices are hard to beat. Often times, we will save upwards of 20% on items that we normally buy at the grocery store. Especially when you consider that most of these items come in much bigger quantities.
Though, of all the things you can get for a lower price at wholesale clubs, gas is one of the best. In fact, we never buy gas anywhere else. Seriously, there have been times when we spend $.50 less per gallon than the gas station across the street.
When you shop at a wholesale club, you get a lot of items in bulk. That is a major part of their business model, and the reason they can offer such great prices. The best part about buying in bulk, is that it means fewer grocery shopping excursions for me.
I don’t know about you, but my wife and I love it when we only have to make one grocery trip per week. And our wholesale club makes that dream a lot easier to achieve.
In my experience, the customer service at wholesale stores is almost always excellent. I rarely encounter an unpleasant employee (which is commonplace at most of the other grocery stores near me), and it seems like there is always someone close-by to help you when you have a question, or need help finding something specific.
If you want a surprisingly tasty — and incredibly cheap — meal then you might want to buy a wholesale membership for the food court, alone. I know it might sound like a weird place to dine out, but trust me, it’s awesome.
In fact, when my wife was pregnant, all she craved was pizza. But that can get expensive when you are trying to live on a tight budget and prepare for the upcoming expenses of a newborn baby. Luckily, with our wholesale club membership, she could get a HUGE slice of pizza (that would often last her two meals) and a churro for $3.18. You just can’t find prices like that anywhere else these days.
One of the best things about wholesale clubs, is the samples you can get when you go shopping on the weekends. I mean, who doesn’t want a little paper cup of smoked sausage, or a few tasty tortilla chips while you shop? It’s like a surprise Saturday morning brunch.
Wholesale Clubs – The Cons
While there are many benefits to wholesale clubs, there are also a few things I’m not particularly fond of. And, if you are deciding whether or not you should join a wholesale club, you should be aware of the negatives as well.
For me, these things don’t outweigh the benefits, but you might think differently. So, here are the cons of a wholesale club membership.
Easy To Spend Impulsively
Seeing as this is a website about budgeting and living below your means, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the threat of impulse spending that comes with a wholesale membership.
Unlike normal grocery stores, wholesale clubs do a particularly good job of selling you on things you don’t need. Whether it’s the 75” TVs they place at the entrance, the beautiful gazebo they place in the front of the store that would look sweet in your backyard, or that shiny new Traeger that puts gas grills to shame, it’s pretty easy to bust your budget in a wholesale store.
So, if you do get one, just be sure to keep your wits about you whenever you walk in.
Traffic (In-Store and In The Parking Lot)
If there is one thing I despise the most about wholesale clubs, it is the traffic. I mean, if you want to experience a stressful parking situation, just take a trip to Costco at 2 o’clock on a Saturday afternoon. It feels like you’re taking your life in your hands when you walk through the parking lot.
On top of that, once you get in the store, pay close attention to your heels. Why? Because at any one time, there’s probably someone rushing up behind you with about 200 pounds of food in their cart, ready to run you over.
Too Much Bulk (In Certain Cases)
There are times that buying in bulk just doesn’t make any sense. I mean, who really needs an entire gallon of mayonnaise? And, does it really make sense to buy a 25 pound bag of flour when my wife wants to make 12 cupcakes? I don’t think so.
Certain things just don’t need to be sold in bulk. And in those cases, a wholesale membership falls a little short.
Hours Of Operation
If you’ve ever gone to the grocery store at 6 AM, or 10 PM, you’ve probably experienced grocery shopping heaven. It’s like a ghost town. With the exception of the occasional employee stocking shelves, you might not see another person in the entire store. You can get in and out in a matter of just a few minutes, and on your way without a bit of traffic in the parking lot.
So, call me a little bummed that wholesale stores don’t offer these same kinds of hours of operation. For the most part, with a wholesale store, you only have the opportunity to shop when all the other humans are awake.
So, if your preferred shopping hours are early in the morning, or late at night, then a wholesale club might not be worth it for you.
More often than not, the cost of a wholesale club membership is worth the money. With the low prices on gas and groceries, you can quickly make up for the annual membership fee through discounts on things you would normally buy retail. On top of that, the cheap, tasty eats you can get at the food court, and the phenomenal customer service make wholesale clubs an attractive opportunity.
Then again, if you are the kind of person that hates crowded spaces, or does all your grocery shopping outside of normal retail hours, then a wholesale club might not be for you.
The choice is yours!
Are you a member of a wholesale club? Has it been worth it in your experience? Be sure to comment below!
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About The Author
About The Author
Zach Buchenau is a self-proclaimed personal finance nerd. When he isn't writing about budgeting, getting out of debt, making extra money, and living a frugal life, you can find him building furniture, fly fishing, or developing websites. He is the co-founder of BeTheBudget, and Chipotle's most loyal customer.
Is joining a wholesale club worth it? ›
Warehouse clubs tend to offer some of the best prices available as long as you are willing to pay an annual fee and have room in your home for enough paper towels to dry a small nation. These discount stores offer low prices and additional perks that are generally closed to nonmembers.What are the benefits of wholesale club? ›
Most wholesale clubs will mail coupons once a month to use specifically at their store. Some may also offer special discounts instead of coupons which you can even take advantage of online. Other than grocery and cleaning items, most warehouse clubs offer big-ticket items at a discount.What benefits of shopping at a wholesale club do you find the most appealing? ›
- Low prices. Since goods are sold in larger quantities at wholesale clubs, members can buy their essentials and more for lower prices. ...
- Exclusive benefits. Wholesale clubs don't only provide grocery staples and seasonal items. ...
- Convenient shopping.
The simple answer is that they offer these deals exclusively to shoppers who purchase an annual membership. The wholesale club gets your membership fee and in exchange, you get to buy items at a discount. Some wholesale clubs even offer additional incentives, such as discounts on home and auto insurance.Are wholesalers worth it? ›
If you've done your due diligence and educated yourself on the process, wholesaling can be a very lucrative business. Wholesaling is great for new investors because it requires little to no personal finances or experience.Is buying wholesale worth it? ›
Pro: Buying in bulk is almost always cheaper per unit.
When you buy an item in bulk, you're almost always saving money on each use of that product. This might be a small difference per use – perhaps only a few pennies – but if it's an item you use frequently, those pennies add up rapidly.
Warehouse (or wholesale) clubs operate out of enormous, low-cost facilities and charge patrons an annual membership fee. They sell a limited selection of brand-name grocery items, appliances, clothing, and miscellaneous items at a deep discount.Why is it better to buy wholesale? ›
The benefits of buying products from a wholesaler are: You can buy anything you wish on your list of items; either for your own need or for resale. It is easy to find a wholesale shop as they are easy to locate. You can negotiate the best deals possible, if you build a friendly relation with the wholesaler.What is the benefit of buying wholesale? ›
A wholesale purchase is almost always made in bulk, and because of that, you pay a discounted price for the purchase. After you buy products from a wholesaler, you can then sell them at your own store at a higher price to make a profit.Are warehouse memberships worth it? ›
In short, a warehouse club is worthwhile when you can save enough money using that membership to pay the annual fee without changing your lifestyle routines and habits. If you have to make changes in order to "save," then the warehouse club membership likely isn't worth it for you.
Whats the best thing to wholesale? ›
- Clothing and apparel. The global market for clothing and apparel is huge and still growing. ...
- Luxury and designer items. ...
- Jewelry. ...
- Electronics. ...
- Beauty and self-care products. ...
- Pet Supplies.
Some of the marketing functions provided by wholesalers to their buyers are: providing producer's goods in an appropriate quantity for resale by buyers. providing wider geographical access and diversity in obtaining goods. ensuring and maintaining a quality dimension with the goods that are being obtained and resold.Is wholesale club members only? ›
Do I need to be a Wholesale Club Member to place an order? To place a PC Express TM Online Grocery Pickup online order you do not need to be a Wholesale Club Member, however, you will be asked to provide some identifying information when you place your order.How much do wholesalers make per deal? ›
Once found, they reassign the contract to the investor at an agreed upon higher price. The difference in prices is known as the wholesale fee and can be 5% to 10% of the property price.Is Costco considered a wholesale club? ›
Costco, in full Costco Wholesale Corporation, American operator of discount stores of the type known as warehouse clubs or wholesale clubs, in which bulk quantities of merchandise are sold at deeply discounted prices to club members who pay an annual membership fee.Can you lose money wholesaling? ›
While wholesaling is one of the lowest-risk ways to get started, it still takes some money, and you can lose it if you're not serious. One of the most common ways this happens is when wholesalers don't follow up on their leads.What are the risks of wholesaling? ›
- #1 Deal failure. As an investor in real estate wholesaling, you should be ready for worst-case scenarios. ...
- #2 Legalities. ...
- #3 No guaranteed income. ...
- #4 The contract. ...
- #5 Instability of real estate market. ...
- #6 Not having a buyer. ...
- #7 The hustle. ...
- How to Lower Your Risk with Wholesaling Real Estate.
While wholesaling can offer lower prices to customers who are buying in bulk, the company who is producing the goods may not be able to obtain profit margins that are equal or greater than the margins seen by selling the goods individually or in a retail environment.Is it better to buy wholesale or retail? ›
With wholesale distributors having access to wholesale pricing, they can buy goods at a significantly lower rate than retail businesses. The ability to ship out products in bulk also allows them to enjoy lower fulfillment costs.Is wholesale always 50%? ›
Set your wholesale price
Apparel retail brands typically aim for a 30% to 50% wholesale profit margin, while direct-to-consumer retailers aim for a profit margin of 55% to 65%. (A margin is sometimes also referred to as “markup percentage.”)
What are the pros and cons of buying in bulk? ›
Is it a good idea to buy in bulk? On the positive side: You could save money, reduce packaging, make your life a little easier and have peace of mind about having a bit of extra food in the house. On the negative side: You need to think carefully about whether bulk is a good price or not. It could result in food waste.What wholesale club is like Costco? ›
Sam's Club, Costco, and BJ's are all competing membership clubs popular in the US. Sam's Club and Costco are nearly identical in most ways, but BJ's is smaller and sells more name brands.Can anyone go to a wholesaler? ›
Who can buy wholesale? Anyone can buy wholesale! While wholesale products are typically aimed at retailers (simply due to the large number of products being sold), there are no prerequisites or limitations on who can buy wholesale products.Does wholesale make money? ›
Wholesalers operate as middlemen between product manufacturers and retailers or other businesses. They make a profit by buying products in bulk at a discount and reselling them in smaller quantities at a higher price to individual retailers.How much does buying wholesale save? ›
Buying in bulk may mean valuable savings
Across the 20 products analyzed, consumers can save an average of 25% by buying products in bulk versus their non-bulk counterparts.
Wholesaling houses is worthwhile if you are able to consistently find properties, develop a solid buyers list, and assign enough contracts to meet your financial goals. Often, the job is what you make of it. Many investors find it appealing because you can get started with no money.Are warehouse clubs cheaper? ›
Is it Cheaper to Shop at a Warehouse Club? Prices are lower at warehouse clubs, but "impulse buys" could send your bill soaring. Myth: Shopping at a warehouse club will save you money.Do warehouse clubs have high margins? ›
Warehouse clubs typically operate on smaller profit margins than other retail formats and offer few customer services. They keep prices low by taking a no-frills approach to stocking and inventory and by doing little, if any, promotion.Who is better BJ or Costco? ›
BJ's is smaller and sells more name brand items. Costco is the better choice thanks to reasonable prices, a superior food court, and clean store design.Which is the most profitable wholesale business? ›
- Wholesale in Textile. ...
- Medicine Wholesale. ...
- Wholesale Stationery business. ...
- Home Decor and Furnishings. ...
- The Wholesale Jewelry Industry. ...
- FMCG Items Wholesale Company. ...
- Wholesale Plastic Products Business. ...
- Electrical appliance business.
How do I become a successful wholesaler? ›
- Do some research. ...
- Decide what you want to sell. ...
- Assess your financial situation. ...
- Develop a business plan. ...
- Consider legal and regulatory requirements. ...
- Evaluate suppliers. ...
- Decide on a location. ...
- Develop marketing strategies.
Kraft Paper Bags 20LB - 500 pack | Wholesale Club.Are wholesale stores cheaper? ›
Wholesalers are able to sell their products for a lower price as they are selling in bulk, which reduces the handling time and costs involved. They usually provide large quantities of goods, but can take on orders for smaller quantities as well.Do wholesalers make good money? ›
Wholesaling Is Lucrative
On average, real estate wholesalers can expect to make between $5,000-$10,000 in commission per property. Once you have a property, a contract, and an interested buyer, this process can move quickly and you can start your business.
A wholesale purchase is almost always made in bulk, and because of that, you pay a discounted price for the purchase. After you buy products from a wholesaler, you can then sell them at your own store at a higher price to make a profit.Is it a good idea to join a club? ›
Joining an on-campus club can provide personal, social, and professional benefits. Clubs can help you find community, make friends, network, and have fun. In most cases, you should join 1-2 on-campus clubs and make real commitments.Is it cheaper to shop wholesale? ›
The retail price is the price set by retailers that's the final selling price for customers. Wholesale prices are typically much lower than retail prices, because retailers are offered a discount in exchange for agreeing to purchase a large amount of product.