By Barbara Pronin
Shopping at a warehouse club store is one way to save money on items such as food, wine and paper goods—but, say the consumer editors at Kiplinger’s, they’re not the low price leader on many commonly purchased items. Avoid buying these items in particular, because they can generally be purchased at lower prices elsewhere:
Books and DVDs – Check before you buy. Deals on these items can often be purchased for 15 percent less online than at warehouse stores.
Canned Goods – Prices on these are hard to beat when they’re on sale at the supermarket, where you’ll pay on average 20 to 40 percent less than you would at warehouse stores.
Clothing and Shoes – Cheaply made clothing can be a costly mistake. Even when items at the warehouse stores have a designer label, they’re often of lower quality, using cheaper fabrics and embellishments. Are they worth what you’ll pay? It’s up to you.
Condiments and Cooking Oil – A huge jar of mayo or a three-pack of ketchup may be good buy if you use lots of it quickly, but the shelf life of condiments, once they’re open (including oil), is relatively short, so you may be better off buying smaller quantities at grocery store sale prices.
Milk – Studies have shown you can usually buy a gallon of milk at the grocery store for 50 or 60 cents less a gallon than you’ll pay at the warehouse club store. Surprisingly, some high-end stores have the best prices on organic or soy milks.
Name-Brand Cereals – Prices are generally pretty much the same at warehouse clubs and at grocery stores, but warehouse stores don’t have sales, so you’ll find better prices when they go on sale at the supermarket.
Soda – According to Jeff Yeager, a frugal living expert and author of “The Cheapskate Next Store,” you’ll always find better prices on soda when it’s on sale at the supermarket than you will at a warehouse club store. Check it for yourself!