Is this cheating for the Eat From The Pantry Challenge? ;) I used a one-day pass for Sam’s Club on New Year’s Eve to stock up on some items that are either always cheaper at Sam’s, or that I haven’t been able to stock up on elsewhere recently.
Here’s what I bought:
- Soy Sauce (1 Gallon) $8.48
- Mild Cheddar Cheese (5 lbs) $9.89
- Hershey’s Cocoa (23 oz) $6.17
- Fresh Garlic (2 lbs) $2.98
- Tomato Sauce x4 (106 oz) $2.88
- Pinto Beans (10 lbs) $5.37
- Pure Vanilla Extract (16 oz) $6.48
- Yeast (2 lbs) $3.88
- Onion Powder (21 oz) $3.88
- Peppercorns (10 oz) $4.38
- Maple Syrup (32 oz) $13.88
- Garlic Powder (21 oz) $3.87
- Chicken Base (16 oz) $3.47
- Diced Tomatoes x2 (100 oz) $3.38
- Whole Tomatoes (100 oz) $2.82
- All Purpose Flour (25 lbs) $6.23
Because I wasn’t a member, I paid a 10% upcharge of $10.01, which brought my total to $110.07. The price per “normal size” listed below does not include this surcharge. This is included in my December average of $114 per week!
Flour – worked out to $1.25 per 5 lbs. I prefer to stock up when it hits 5 lbs for $1 (a sale we had at Albertsons in November or December), but the budget was pretty tight and I wasn’t able to buy very much when it went on sale. I don’t think we’ll see the $1 price again until next winter, so I was willing to pay a little more than rock-bottom, because it’s probably going to be much cheaper than buying it anywhere else for awhile.
Canned Tomatoes – I’m not sure how good of a deal this was, at least for the tomato sauce. Diced tomatoes were the equivalent of paying about 51¢ for a 15 oz canned, whole tomatoes were about 42¢ per 15 oz can – those are good prices, but the tomato sauce was the equivalent of paying about 22¢ for an 8 oz can.
I can’t remember what Walmart’s every day price is for tomato sauce, but I’m thinking it’s pretty close to that, so I’m not sure it was worth having to buy a huge can in order to save a few pennies.
Cheddar Cheese – this price seems to fluctuate quite a bit at Sam’s. I paid about $1.98/lb, which is a good price, but it’s gone as low as $1.77-1.99 at Sunflower Market, and that price at Sunflower Market doesn’t even require coupons. It’s been as low as $1.70/lb at Sam’s, but again, it seems to fluctuate so it’s not a price you can count on.
While I think I got the lowest price on most items, I’m definitely still convinced that at least for my family, a Sam’s membership isn’t worth it. I plan on making a trip like this 2-3 times per year, and even if I spent $100 every time, that’s still only a $20-30 upcharge. Their cheapest membership is $40, so I’m still ahead paying the upcharge rather than buying a membership.
Many of these items will last me quite awhile, like the spices and yeast, so I definitely won’t be spending $100 every time I go – probably more like $60-70. Jeremy may buy some office supplies there, but not a huge dollar amount.
A few items that I know were a little cheaper at Sam’s but I passed up buying were Craisins (too expensive for our current budget!), rice (last I checked I could get pretty close to the same price at Asian Pacific Market), and maybe pasta. And popcorn, but I decided that even at about 13¢ per pound, I just don’t have room to store 50 lbs of popcorn!
I *almost* bought pasta, but all they carry is spaghetti, angel hair, and penne. It was 81-94¢ per pound, but I decided to wait for a sale at a different store. At some point, we should be able to get pasta (probably store brand) for about 75¢ per pound, with more varieties to choose from. (I’m not sure that Sam’s price on pasta would even beat Walmart’s every day price – anyone know?)
So, that’s my Sam’s strategy! If you don’t have a membership, you can do like I did and print this one-day pass to Sam’s Club and use it through February 13th. There is that 10% upcharge, but do the math and see if you’d pay more with the upcharge or a membership.
If you want to compare prices at Sam’s versus the weekly grocery ads, you can look up most items on their website. I do this quite often! We also had a great discussion about Sam’s versus Costco a few months ago that you may find interesting.
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Welcome to Springs Bargains, a service of our real estate business, Circa Real Estate Group! I’m Carrie, and since 2008 I’ve been sharing free and discounted ways to eat, play, and enjoy life in Colorado Springs.