- Impulse buys - An impulse buy at a grocery store may set you back two to five dollars, a cost that the grocery budget can typically absorb. A impulse buy at a warehouse store will cost $10 at least, and easily more. The larger packages come with higher prices. It's critical to take a list when shopping the warehouse club, and stick to it!
- Price Comparison - When trying to figure out if the deal at the warehouse club is a good one, it's not as straightforward as comparing the price to what you'd pay at the grocery store. More math is involved- and you didn't believe your teacher when she said you'd use Math again! The larger packages must be divided into a "unit price" - per item in the box or per ounce or pound - to be easily compared to the prices we're used to seeing at grocery stores. A price book can aid in this comparison.
- Generic Brands - While some products on the shelves have store-brand equivalents, most of what I see at warehouse clubs is name-brand and high-quality. This is great if you'd buy the name-brand product at the grocery store anyway, but if you'd spring for the generic, you won't find the same cost savings, even with buying in bulk.
- Using It Up - Large packages are convenient when you use lots of an item, or the items can be kept indefinitely, but not-so-great for small families and perishables. Because there's just two of us for now, we can buy a year's worth of soap and not worry about it going bad, but we can't buy the huge cans of tomato sauce, or half-gallons of salsa. We'd not be able to use even half of the container before it would go bad! Some items are sold in normal-sized packages, bundled together we are able to buy these packages. With a household of two, there's a limited number of things we can buy and reasonably expect to use up before they go bad.
- Bulk packages - these things can be big. Apartment life was not conducive to shopping at a warehouse club. To take advantage of buying in bulk, you have to have room to store these huge packages. Sometimes, this just isn't practical.
In part 1 of this series "In the Club," I talked about the benefits of warehouse-club shopping. Like everything, though, there are downsides as well. Not everything in the Warehouse Club World is perfect!