How to warehouse shop like a boss

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warehouse shopping at costoc

Get the most bang for your buck with secrets that warehouse clubs don’t want you to know about.

Always buy standard household items

Only purchase standard household items (like paper goods, detergent, etc.) during coupon cycles. For example, Costco does four week coupon cycles. They send out coupons to members that always include basic items. Sam’s club has a different discount method. Their coupons only only offered to people who buy the highest membership category, or a “Plus” membership. They have general coupons and then coupons that are specifically for you. They track your pattern so they give you things that are accessible for you. They have a machine that a “Plus” member can use – you put in your card and print out coupons they’re offering to you that day. BJ’s mails out a monthly coupon book. They have coupons that are good for a certain amount of days or weeks, depending on the product.

Know the codes

If you are treasure hunting at any warehouse club, know the codes. If an item ends in .97 cents at Costco, it means they have too many, they’re not restocking and they need to get rid of the item. They want to turn over all merchandise in 21 days or less. The 97 tells you it’s been marked down. They don’t want people to wait for a sale. You know it’s a real deal. They’re losing money when it gets to .97. If an item has a * on the price sheet, that means it will not be restocked and if you want it, you should get it (if you can afford it of course). But if it looks like they have a ton it will probably go to .97.

If an item gets to .01, 41 or 91 at Sam’s Club it means it’s a clearance item. It’s the equivalent to the Costco .97. If an item has a # or a “C” on the price sheet, it means it will not be restocked.

Pay attention to your aisles

At Costco and Sam’s you will find some of your best deals on the right hand side, and if it’s a normal store layout, your best deals are likely in the 5th, 6th and 7th aisles to the right. The best markdowns are in the housewares/decorative/accessories section. Those are the sections where you have your oops! moment. The buyer will think everyone will love the plate set, but people don’t usually buy them.

Buy organic

Warehouse clubs have put a big push into having organic food in their stores. Organic food at a warehouse club is much cheaper than at the regular grocery stores. In stores like Trader Joes and Whole Foods, organic food is always more expensive than the organic food at Costco.

Check out designer clothes and bags

60% of merchandise at Costco is standard, and 40% rotates and you may never see that item at Costco again. If you see something that is part of the 40% that rotates and it’s a good deal, buy it (if you can afford it), because you might never see it again. All three stores carry high end designer labels like Judith Ripka, Prada, Fendi, etc…and you can score it for 20-50% off.

The pro to warehouse shopping? Items are truly cheap and you can always find a good deal. The downside? Shoppers end up buying things they don’t need and can’t afford. Control how you shop, follow these tips, and you’ll have money! But if you can’t control how you shop … think again about that warehouse membership! 

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