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Important Note:

June through November our agency may become prohibited from binding coverage should a “Tropical Disturbance” enter the Gulf of Mexico or Caribbean Sea.

In these cases we may be unable to bind new coverage quoted in open proposals until the storm leaves our area and our binding authority has been restored.

Please arrange your coverage protection early to avoid this type of delay. While we regret any inconvenience, the carriers impose these restrictions on all agencies.

Does Shopping At a Warehouse Save Money?

It is a very common misconception that making a purchase at a wholesale club warehouse like BJ’s, Sam’s Club, or Costco will help you to save plenty of money. It is easy to get excited when you hear that making purchases in bulk will help you save. But the truth is sometimes savings fail to materialize.

It’s certainly true that you’ll find much lower prices on certain items at a warehouse club when comparison shopping at a grocery store. In fact, the United States Department of Agriculture · Economic Research Service has recorded prices are truly lower in such warehouse stores for specific items. Club prices are lower by 12% for meat, 11% for milk & milk based products, and 6% for grains. This is based on analyzing 40,000 data points collected from 52 regional markets.

So yes, shopping at warehouses can offer true savings. But there is a “buyer beware” aspect that can diminish or eliminate those savings altogether.

Location of the store

Warehouse clubs often have lower costs in large metropolitan areas or in more isolated areas when compared with supermarkets. However, the savings are typically lower in areas where grocery stores have lots of regular competition.

For example, clubs have lower prices in the Baltimore-Washington area for about 90 percent of their products. But outside of San Antonio, clubs offered savings on just 55% of the products they sold.

Subscription costs

Almost all storage warehouses have a fixed subscription charge for allowing you to shop or even visit the club. The usual subscription charges are around $45-$50. Hence, you may have to make a lot of purchases to justify the subscription charges through the savings you are able to make in the stores.

NOTE: Some clubs like Costco have “Executive” memberships that cost a little more but that offer rebates on purchases. Many Costco Executive members claim to have earned enough rebates to cover their Costco membership costs.

Impulsive shopping results in bigger costs

Although the prices at clubs can be great, shopping often requires discipline. Clubs are designed to get you to make unplanned purchases that range from new food items they are sampling to new appliances, home electronics, and furniture.

Grocery stores don’t sell such items and rarely offer samples. As a result, it is much easier to remain on target with a shopping list in a grocery store vs. a club.

Buying in bulk may not offer savings

Let’s say you buy a giant bag of baby carrots at the warehouse and let’s say they are about 15% less than at the grocery store. But then time marches on and you only consume half of the bag before it spoils. How much have you really saved?

Food spoilage is one of the biggest problems with shopping for meats, dairy items, fresh fruit, and fresh vegetables at a warehouse. While these are the areas that offer the largest savings, many smaller households fail to consume the food before it goes bad.

So, how do you go about trying to save money through such clubs? Here are a few suggestions.

Pay attention to sales at grocery stores for items you purchase at a warehouse club. You may find sale items at the grocery store give you much better value than regular priced items at the warehouse.

Always comparison shop. You may find that the grocery store offers the same or lower “everyday” price on items than the warehouse… without the need to buy in bulk.

A freezer is your friend. To help avoid spoilage be sure to put meats, cheeses, and breads in the freezer until you are ready to consume them. Refrigerating bread can also help it last longer.

Don’t throw things away just because the date on the package has passed. The use by dates are notoriously inaccurate. (Link to this study: Per researchers, printed dates have little to do with actual shelf life. Just because the food has expired doesn’t mean you’ll get sick if you eat it. A common-sense rule is better… if the food smells bad, looks rotten, or tastes off, you should throw it away. Otherwise, you are safe to consume it even if the date has passed.

The bottom line: being a smart consumer is the best way to save, regardless of where you shop.

(Be sure to reach out to us for other money saving tips. Our team of advisors is here to help you get the most out of each dollar you earn.