In the Club, part 2

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!

  • 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. 
There are certainly more downsides to joining a warehouse club- what has kept you from signing up?

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