When I first started prepping I resisted joining a warehouse store. I did not want to pay the annual dues, and I felt I would end up with junk I don’t need. The one year I did join with an employee discount, I overspent by about $300 and ended up with moldy croissants and way too many Cinnabon cinnamon rolls. I figured there is no way I would ever join again.
Once I started buying supplies for emergencies I re-evaluated the membership store. I checked the prices for bags of rice, flour, sugar at the grocery and discount stores like Target and compared them to Costco. I found out that Sam’s and Costco have lower prices when you are buying 50 lb bags of bulk items. For example, you can get a 5 lb bag of rice for about $6-7 at the grocery store, but Costco may have a 50 lb bag of rice for about $18-$20.
Here are examples of emergency supplies at much better prices:
- prepacked First Aid kit
- pain medicines, allergy relief
- pack of 3 LED flashlights
- plastic bins for storage
- toilet paper
Here are some tips to conserve space and cash:
- If you but a large number of toilet paper rolls, remove the center cardboard from the center of the rolls and smash them down in a giant ziplock bag. This way you can lay the whole thing flat under the bed or on top of a closet
- If you don’t wish to pay the annual dues, watch the newspaper or mail flyers. I have seen Sam’s give out coupons for a 1 day trial membership. Make a big list, and buy all your bulk and prepping items all at once.
- Bring cash or use your debit card, as credit card use may be limited – for example, Costco only accepts American Express credit.
- Feel free to try the store samples they are always giving out-it’s best to taste before you buy. Stay away from untasted specialty items, as you may end up with a large quantity of something you don’t like: for example salsa that is either too sweet or too spicy.
- Try sharing a membership with a friend or family member, you can also split the multiple items in a pack
- Seasonal items are available 10 days before department stores even bring them out, so plan ahead.
- Gas prices are cheaper at the Costco or Sam’s so you might as well fill up while you’re there.