What to Buy and Skip at Warehouse Stores

Beach chairs and towels are a great deal. Sunscreen and summer produce? Not so much. We asked the experts how to spot the best bargains at Costco, Sam's and BJ's (63 Photos)

Jennifer Steil on May 23, 2013 at 4:33PM

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What to Buy and Skip at Warehouse Stores

Tim Boyle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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A Few Rules for Starters

Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s Wholesale Club offer big savings on everything from alcohol to sweet treats. But it takes a careful shopper to spot the real deals. The wholesale stores are known for their cheap prices and bulk items. In fact, it’s easy to go in and assume you’re getting a better deal than if you shopped at a grocery or specialty store -- which you often are, just not on every item. Many people justify even the most expensive items because of the vast quantity they are receiving -- but really, are you going to use all that ketchup? We’ve come up with a list of what to buy and skip this summer to ensure you’re spending your money wisely.

Here are a few things to keep in mind before you shop. When you make an impulse purchase at Costco or Sam’s, it tends to be a big one so make sure you’re buying something you really want or need. Second, always check per-unit pricing. Just because something is in an enormous container doesn't make it cheaper. Finally, don’t join a warehouse store until you’ve tried shopping there. Some will let you sign up for a free trial membership before requiring you to commit.

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