So, you know about Sam’s Club. You also know about Walmart. What’s the difference? Why do some people go to Sam’s Club when they can just go to Walmart to get their weekly groceries?
Sam’s Club is a membership-based chain of wholesale clubs owned by Walmart Inc. The membership system helps keep the prices of bulk items low, and members can enjoy a whole bunch of discounts and benefits when shopping at any Sam’s Club.
Warehouse clubs like Sam’s Club are perfect for business owners or people who just want to save up a little on a big purchase for the week.
Warehouse clubs are no-frills stores, displaying what customers need without the extra appeal of the average retail hypermarket. They can help keep their prices on the low end by doing this. But are they really lower, or at least cheaper than Walmart?
Is Sam’s Club Cheaper Than Walmart?
The short answer is it’s complicated. Products at Sam’s Club are sold at a lower price per unit than when sold at a regular hypermarket or grocery store like Walmart. However, this also depends on what you are buying and how much you need to be buying.
Whether or not Sam’s Club gives you a bang for your buck compared to Walmart relies on a few factors. It’s also hard to compare the prices of all items dollar-to-dollar since prices are constantly changing, and so is the market.
Read on more to find out if Sam’s Club really is the cheaper option than Walmart for you.
Membership Fees of Sam’s Club and Walmart
Both Sam’s Club and Walmart offer memberships to their shoppers, with varying perks. Membership is required to shop at Sam’s Club to cover overhead costs and ensure the warehouse club can give you the low prices you want.
To shop in Walmart, however, you could just walk into any of their brick-and-mortar stores, grab a snack, and leave.
Sam’s Club Membership Fees
You need at least a standard membership to shop at Sam’s Club. The standard membership, known as the Club Card, costs $45 a year. Another tier of membership is called the Plus Card, which costs $100 a year. You can also have an Add-On membership for $40, granted they are a part of your household.
The standard Club Card offers you multiple benefits as a customer, such as:
- Free shipping on selected items
- Free Sam’s Club car repair services
- Generally open return policy
- Cashback and rebates on some items
- Discounted gas prices
That being said, there are a few extra perks that come with the Plus Card, including:
- Free curbside pickup
- Free shipping on most items
Walmart Membership Fees
Anyone can do their weekly shopping at their closest Walmart. Walmart does not require you to purchase a membership if you want to shop at any of their outlets. Walmart does offer an optional membership called Walmart+, which can be paid monthly for a fee of $12.95 or annually for $98.
If you can shop at Walmart for free anyway, what are the benefits of having a Walmart membership?
- Free shipping and delivery without a minimum purchase
- Discounted gas prices
- Rebates on prescription medications
- Mobile check out and purchases
Overall, the perks shared by Sam’s Club memberships and Walmart memberships are pretty similar. There is also close to no price difference between a Walmart+ membership and a Sam’s Plus Card.
While the most significant advantage of shopping at Walmart is that you could go grocery shopping any time, a Walmart+ membership costs more annually than a Sam’s Club Card membership.
What’s More Worth It at Sam’s Club?
Being a bulk item warehouse, Sam’s Club undeniably has lower prices. But you should know what you’re shopping for and how much of it you want. Calculating the costs per unit will show that Sam’s Club does help you save a little more, sometimes a few cents, when doing your shopping.
It has been found that overall, shopping at Sam’s Club helps customers save on medication at the pharmacy, regular groceries, pet supplies, and quickly replenished home essentials. Surprisingly, it is worth shopping at Walmart for clothing and electronics instead.
When it comes to shopping for perishable things, however, you may end up losing more money at Sam’s Club if you aren’t careful with your purchases. Think about how you will use your groceries over a week or two.
Fresh foods go rancid very quickly, and buying them in bulk only for them to spoil would be a lot more of a waste than buying them in small amounts from Walmart.
Some individual items that are more worth the money at Sam’s Club are their fancier in-house selections of foods. Things such as cheese and alcohol are known to be of better quality. However, it should be noted that you don’t need the membership to buy alcohol at Sam’s Club.
Using Sam’s Club Gift Cards at Walmart
Suppose you’re on the fence about which retailer is more worth your money. In that case, you can relieve some of that worry by knowing that gift cards from Sam’s Club can be used at any Walmart or Walmart-related service. What’s even better is that you can use a Walmart gift card at Sam’s Club or Sam’s Club-related service too.
On the other hand, Sam’s Club does not accept coupons from manufacturers or third parties. In a way, this could be because Sam’s Club does not benefit from coupons such as the sale or purchase-with-purchase coupons as they already sell their items for lower prices in bulk. Walmart, however, accepts the use of manufacturer coupons at their stores.
To answer the question “Is Sam’s Club cheaper than Walmart?” ultimately depends on your individual shopping habits. How much you need to purchase at a time, how many people you are buying stock for, and the reason to purchase products in large quantities should be considered when pitting Sam’s Club against Walmart.
If bulk buying does not meet your personal needs, it may end up costing you more money having the $45-100 yearly membership to shop at Sam’s Club.
Want to know more about Sam’s Club? Check out these articles:
- Does Sam’s Club Deliver? (And Everything Worth Knowing…)
- Can you use Walmart gift card at Sam’s Club? (eGift Card, Physical Card, How to Use…)
- Does Sam’s Club Have A Gas Station? (And Should You Even Consider Them?)
- Does Walmart Own Sam’s Club? (What To Know!)
Have any more questions about Sam’s Club? Let us know in the comments below!