March 3, 2016
5 things NOT to buy at Costco and Sam’s Club
Many a shopper has walked out of warehouse clubs like Costco /quotes/zigman/67728/composite COST +0.49% and Sam’s Club /quotes/zigman/245476/composite WMT +0.16% with a receipt containing at least a few extra zeros. And while you may feel like everything you bought was worth it (half off!), sometimes, despite their reputation for low prices, these warehouse clubs aren’t the best places to be spending your hard-earned loot, experts say.
“Sometimes you can get better deals at other places or you should skip buying some items,” says Matthew Ong, the retail analyst for NerdWallet.com . However, “what you should buy is a longer list — their reputation holds,” he adds.
Ong says that meats, such as bacon and chicken breasts, are often great buys at warehouse clubs (freeze whatever you don’t use), as are some kitchen appliances like toasters and microwaves.
Erin Konrad, a spokesperson for CouponPal.com , says that car parts like batteries and tires can be had for a very low price. “You can find the same brand tires as automotive stores, but for less, and get them installed while you shop,” explains Jon Lal, CEO and founder of BeFrugal.com .
Drugs also tend to be a good warehouse-club buy: A 2013 survey by Consumer Reports found that Costo was the cheapest place to buy drugs, while drugstores like CVS /quotes/zigman/169740/composite CVS -0.64% and Rite Aid /quotes/zigman/239690/composite RAD -1.00% were the priciest. Other to-buy items include alcohol and beach gear like beach chairs, says Lal.
Still, experts say, you may want to avoid — or at the very least do a thorough price comparison on the warehouse club vs. other area stores — on some of the items sold at warehouse clubs. Here are five.
(This story was originally published in October 2014.)
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