Yesterday I wrote about some of the best Sam’s Club bargains that I’ve found (click here if you missed it). Today, I’m letting you in on some of the worst Sam’s Club deals. If you’re looking to save money, you should definitely pass on these products.
Fresh meat, poultry and seafood. Every time I visit Sam’s Club I wander over to the meat case, and I am disappointed every time. No matter what I am looking for, from steaks to salmon, the price is significantly higher than what I would pay at my local grocery store for the exact same thing. And don’t be fooled by the $1.88 per pound price tag on the boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Every package I’ve purchased has had a lot of water, fat and skin. It’s not much of a bargain if you ending up throwing half of it away!
Fresh produce. I’m lucky in that I live very close to a fruit market that has a wide selection and low prices. But even if that wasn’t the case, there is still now way that I would buy my produce at Sam’s Club. Not only is it more expensive than most grocery stores, but it is also sold in huge quantities that I am sure it would go bad before we had a chance to eat it. (My one exception to this rule is bananas – we eat tons of bananas, so they hardly ever go bad. And if they do get too ripe, I just freeze them for banana bread).
Individual snacks. I’ve written before about our need for buying individual sized snacks for The Goose’s lunch (click here to read the full post). We buy them in order to make them last longer – but every time I’ve bought individual servings at Sam’s Club, they have expired or gone stale within a month or two. I’d rather pay a little more at the grocery store and have them last longer. I don’t save any money if I end up throwing half of the bags away.
Eggs. I used to buy my eggs almost exclusively at Sam’s Club. The eggs were packaged nicely, in a flat two-dozen container that I could peer into and clearly see if any eggs were broken. Then, a few months ago, they decided to switch packaging. The eggs are now packaged in two standard egg cartons, and attached together by a thick plastic ribbon. Now, not only can I not see the eggs easily, but I also can’t even open them to see if they’re broken.
Diapers. When The Goose was a baby, we mostly used cloth diapers. But, when we did buy disposable diapers I never bought them at Sam’s Club. I found that between sales and manufacturerer’s coupons, I could score much better deals at Target, Walmart or even Kroger. Sure, it’s more convenient to buy a warehouse pack of diapers, but the cost wasn’t worth it for me.
Cat litter. Years ago, Sam’s Club had a generic brand of cat litter that I absolutely loved. The cost was around $8 for a 35-pound pail, and it worked great. Then they stopped carrying it, opting instead to carry Tidy Cat litter. And while I don’t mind the litter at all, the price keeps me from buying it there. It is now nearly $14 for a 35-pound pail – and I know that I can easily find better deals at PetSmart, Target, or the grocery store.
Condiments. Things like ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise are super cheap at Sam’s Club. But here’s the thing – I don’t know of any family who can eat a half-gallon jar of mayonnaise before it expires. I’ve done the math, and it is definitely more economical to watch the sales and buy a 32-ounce jar at the regular grocery store. (The only time I break this rule is during the summer, when we eat tons of barbecued pork, chicken, and eggplant! I buy a huge jug of ketchup so I can make my special homemade barbecue sauce).
Frozen veggies. During the winter months we eat a lot of frozen veggies (broccoli is one of our favorites). And while the price for frozen vegetables at Sam’s Club isn’t bad, the packaging is. The frozen vegetables are sold in a large bag, containing several individual steam bags of vegetables. The large bag has a zip seal, but it never seems to close properly and my vegetables almost always develop a lot of frost inside the bag and have that freezer burnt taste.
Cereal. We eat a lot of cereal at our house. The Goose has a bowl of cereal nearly every morning for breakfast, and every few weeks we make Lucky Charms treats for a special snack. (Click here for the Lucky Charms treats recipe). I am always on the lookout for great deals – and I’ve been fortunate enough to find boxes of cereal for as little as $1.49 per box. At Sam’s Club, the least expensive cereal still equates to nearly $3 for the same sized box. If you’re looking to save money on cereal, Sam’s Club is not the place for that.
Soft drinks (known as pop in the Mitten State). My family very rarely drinks soft drinks. (In fact, a few weeks ago The Goose had some root beer as a special treat and it was so exciting he even wrote about it in his journal at school!). But, if I were in the market for soft drinks I would never buy them at Sam’s Club. The price for a 24-pack of Coke is over $5, and our local gorcery store often has it sale for as low as $2 for a 12-pack.