Warehouse shopping is in the same category as driving a minivan to me. Just UGH. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done the minivan thing but hated it. Not like normal hate either. For real, we have 1 car, which doesn’t seat all of us so we don’t go anywhere together. It doesn’t bother me at all. Bugs the shit out of everyone else though.
Sometimes (okay a LOT of times) my broke outweighs my lazy. During one of these times recently and while dream shopping on Groupon, I came across a deal on a warehouse club membership. And I bought it. *sigh*
Of course, if you know me at all, you know I whipped out the calculator and online comparison shopped the warehouse club. I calculated it would save us over $800 per year.
Now, the warehouse club is not close to us. So, to offset the gas/mileage/depreciation costs we need to go once every 4 weeks plus make a good effort to stay in town for our other shopping needs.
This is how it actually went.
That first list was HARD. As my 5 year old says, “Oh my HEAVENS”. It took like 3 or 4 days, there was paper strewn everywhere, it was daunting. The next time took maybe 3 hours and most of that was spent cruising Pinterest for recipes.
Is it worth it? Hell, yes! We ended up getting 5 weeks out of the groceries. We did eat out more than we intended with the kitchen being torn up but we also hosted a barbecue for the cutie nieces without buying food. More importantly, it made my weeks easier. I pop into the grocery store for a bag or two of small groceries and I’m done. Super easy with little man in tow. Honestly, it is such a load off, even if it wasn’t saving us money, I’d probably keep doing it. Extra bonus, my second trip cost less than my first trip.
Here are my tips
- Before you buy a membership, do the math. Most of us know exactly how much we spend per item. Will you save? Not everything is cheaper in bulk. Eggs, for example, are cheaper at my grocery store than they are at the warehouse to the tune of 40¢ per dozen!
- Be realistic about your space. If you have to buy places to store your purchases, you are seriously cutting in to your profits. We had gotten a freezer from my dad for “free” and I had a shelf I got for free from my mom which I had not put up yet. I calculated that filling a single cart was all the extra room I had. It was more than enough space. I didn’t have to use the shelf at all.
- Be flexible your first trip. Get a feel for the store, look around. We bought a couple things that were not on the list. Like laundry detergent and dish soap. I’m not remotely sorry. I literally have dish soap for the year and it cost me $7 as opposed to the $14 I would have spent.
- Plan your meals. My KISS method for doing this is to write all the dinners we want to eat down on a calendar while making the grocery list. I put quantities needed for each recipe next to the item. (Chicken 2# + 1#…) When I get finished I add it up and round up to the next package size. Like I needed 18# of chicken this time plus a package for my breakfasts and random lunches. The packages are 10# each. I bought 30#. If you don’t end up with enough to be close to the bulk purchase, get it during your small grocery trip.
- Keep your meal plan out where you can see it. Mine are on two white board calendars on my fridge. I get them from Dollar Tree. Not figuring out a daily meal is like angels singing. It keeps me on track better, eating take out less. I erase the meals we eat and if we go off track, I can see what is left to make.
- Watch carefully what you consume – and what you don’t. I bought toilet paper our first run and we only used 1/2 the package. We ran out of butter though by week 3. Some things were surprising
The life saving white boards.