Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Battle of the Warehouse Clubs

Here in Virginia Beach there is both a BJ's Wholesale Club and a Sam's Club. They are maybe a mile away from one another, if that. I have a membership to Sam's but last year activated a 3 month free trial membership to BJ's to try it out. I ended up keeping my Sam's membership, but lately I have been having second thoughts.

There is really no need for me to have memberships to both and since it costs to have memberships to both it isn't practical for me to pay for both. However, after a recent trip to BJ's where I shopped on my mother's membership, I realized that it might benefit me more to shop there as opposed to Sam's.

First perk to shopping at BJ's is the ability to use coupons. They have some in-store and manufacturer's coupons are always accepted. I was able to get some yogurt that I could not buy at Sam's much cheaper than I would have paid at a regular grocery store or even the commissary with a coupon they had in-store. After a quick evaluation of the prices on things I normally buy anyway (I remember numbers so it was really easy to just recall from my brain what I paid at Sam's vs. BJ's for things), the prices were comparable with some things being cheaper at Sam's and some things cheaper at BJ's. The addition of a coupon for the things I normally buy (especially diapers) makes them cheaper at BJ's by several dollars.

A perk for shopping at Sam's Club is the fact that they have photo services in-store. I can't remember the last time I used the photo services there since we got an IPod that allows us to put photos on it for David to take underway with him so it makes this less of a perk, in my mind. However, if you do a lot of photo printing this would be a reason to keep a Sam's membership.

The second perk for shopping at BJ's is the availability of 100% no sugar added juice. I can't find anything at Sam's that isn't a juice cocktail or fake juice. Bj's has several options and with juice guzzlers like my son and my husband, it makes sense to save a few cents and buy in bulk to minimize trips to the grocery store.

Another perk for Sam's is their meat department. I really like the meat department at Sam's especially when they have "reduced for quick sale" items. They are almost always half price and I'm going to freeze them anyway so they will keep. I haven't really delved into the meat department at BJ's however, I've been told by people who have bought meat there that they were not impressed with the taste and quality. So the moral here is, I guess, is the intention to buy meat in bulk or can a trip to the commissary or grocery store suffice for this purpose?

I'm now at the end of my comparisons. I can't think of anymore...Anybody got anything else? Hopefully, someone benefitted from my brain explosion above...