10 things you need to know before shopping at Sam’s Club for the first time

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I am a champenoise without a champagne budget so I took the time to find the best value on groceries and other basic household products. And one of my favorite places to pick up bargains is Sam’s Club, the members-only retail warehouse that Walmart opened nearly 40 years ago.

I first joined Sam’s to reduce business expenses. As a recipe developer, I often need large quantities of food staples for recipe and product testing, and the warehouse’s low prices mean I can have a stash of economical ingredients on hand. tomorrow. The more I shopped at the club, however, the more I started to stock up on items for my own home – and I love that I can save time and money by shopping in one place.

Over the years, I’ve picked up a few tips, tricks, and tips for shopping at Sam’s. If you’re a beginner, here’s what you need to know.

1. To shop, you will need a membership card.

Anyone can walk in and buy a hot dog or pretzel from the club cafe, or even liquor from the store, but access to groceries (and other goods and services) is restricted to members. Sam’s offers two annual subscription options: Club ($50 per year) and Plus ($110 per year). Both memberships include access to warehouse products and services, curbside pickup (although there is a $4 fee for club members), instant savings (more details below). below), gas savings, and the ability to apply for a Sam’s Club Mastercard (Club members get 1% cash back on Sam’s Club purchases; Plus members get 3%). On top of that, Plus members get free shipping, additional drugstore and optical discounts, and early access to the store (starting at 8 a.m.).

2. Non-members can shop with a 24 hour pass.

If you’re interested in checking out your local Sam’s Club, but don’t necessarily want to hand over $50 or $110 without a trial, you can sign up for a 24-hour free trial. Guest Membership. Just note that a 10% service charge will be added to your purchase total.

3. You’ll want to stock up on baking staples, especially during the holidays.

The club has a full inventory of shelf stable and perishable items in both its private label and branded products. It’s a great place to stock up on staples, such as butter, nuts, vanilla, olive oil, and cookie dough for the holidays. I make lots of brownies and pound cakes throughout the year, and I always buy butter, nuts, and vanilla from Sam. During the holidays, I can even find bottles of vanilla from 16 ounces here.

4. Roast chickens rival those at other big box retailers.

The club offers a good selection of poultry, fish and meat. One of my favorites is Sam’s Club Rotisserie Chickens, which you can get for $4.98 each. I’ve tried roast chicken from other box stores, and I find this one tastier and more tender. The ingredient list credits Lawry’s seasoning, but I know they added a secret twist! The juices from the chicken make an excellent base for a sauce that requires little or no additional seasoning. Chickens are baked in the club and are in such demand that it’s worth waiting for the next batch of juicy birds to come out of the oven.

5. Frozen fish and fresh produce from the store are not to be missed.

My family loves Salmonand Sam’s sells farmed and wild frozen Atlantic salmon under Maker’s Mark, the store’s house brand.

Sam’s also has a good selection of products. I like the 1-pound package of organic green salads, which includes green and red leaf lettuce, arugula, and baby spinach. When in season, Cara Cara oranges are always on my list.

6. The cheese selection is huge.

Cheese is one of the items I buy regularly at Sam’s, and the club has a huge selection of private label and name brand options, including Jarlsberg Swiss and Cabot. You’ll find 15-pound Parmesan cheese wheels, one- and two-pound goat cheese logs, cheddar blocks, and large bags of shredded cheddar, to name a few. And if you plan to make a charcuterie boardyou can walk past the refrigerator crates and snack aisles to pick up the rest of your ingredients: deli meats, fancy crackers, nuts, and fruit.

7. You can skip the payline.

Instead of queuing at checkouts, I like to use Scan and go in the Sam’s Club app. Simply scan each product’s barcode as you add it to your cart, pay for it directly in the app, then show your digital receipt to a club employee on the way out. (A note: this option is not available to buyers with a guest membership.) Plus, members get the added benefit of getting items shipped for free, like a large TV.

8. Instead of coupons, the club has an instant savings program.

It’s true: Sam’s Club do not accept coupons. Instead, the store has its own instant savings program, which offers rotating deals and discounts each month on select products, including pantry staples, popular snacks and frozen favorites. (Some are in-store only or have a limit on how many you can buy, so be sure to check the details.) You can also use Ibottathe free cash back web and mobile app, which will give you cash back for everyday purchases when you shop.

9. Prices are the same whether you buy online or in store.

You pay the same members-only price for your purchases when you shop in the app, online or at the club. As mentioned above, shipping is free for Plus members (and estimated at checkout for Club members). However, if you opt for same-day delivery, you will be charged a delivery fee ($8 for Plus, $12 for Club) per order.

10. Products and services extend way beyond the grocery store.

The previous tips focus on groceries, but keep in mind that Sam’s also offers optical and pharmacy services, car care with a tire and battery center, and vehicle purchase and rental. cars. You’ll also find furniture, appliances, office supplies, photo processing, and personalized photo gifts. But that’s not all – you’ll also want to check out the club’s travel and entertainment services, as well as home improvement and maintenance services.

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