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warehouse club hacks

12 secret saving hacks at Costco, Sam’s Club and BJ’s Wholesale

Theo Thimou February 24, 2017
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Warehouse club shoppers of the world, unite! And if you aren’t one already, the tips below will likely change your mind!

As you’re out and about looking for the best deals, Costco Wholesale, Sam’s Club and BJ’s Wholesale Club should definitely be on your list of places to shop.

Here are some under-the-radar kind of ways to save at each of them…

Read more: These are the 9 best-selling items at Costco right now

Costco

Look for the 97s

Seen anything that ends in 97 cents at Costco? That means it’s being sold below cost. You’ll find most of the 97s in the seasonal section—the back third of the middle of the store.

Look for the asterisks

Price tags with an asterisk mean an item will not be reordered. If you see the asterisk and there are a lot of the items in stock, wait until the price gets marked down to a 97 and then buy.

You don’t need to be a member to use the pharmacy

There’s a law in many states requiring Costco pharmacies to be open to non-members. That’s great news because the savings on prescriptions can be immense.

secret saving hacks costco sam's club bj's wholesale

Grab the Kirkland Signature batteries

Kirkland Signature is Costco’s own brand of goods. But here’s a little secret…the Kirkland Signature batteries are made by Duracell! That’s what Costco CEO Craig Jelinek told Clark Howard during a recent walkthrough tour of the warehouse club. (Video below.)

Skip the cart

Fill up your arms instead. When Clark wants to limit impulse purchases at Costco, he’ll skip the monster-sized cart and only buy what he can carry in his two arms.

If you don’t like it, bring it back

Costco has a generous return policy that extends to almost everything they sell, even the $55 or $110 membership itself. That’s led to some really weird returns over the years.

BONUS HACK: Don’t overlook the food court!

It’s the home of the $1.50 hot dog and refillable fountain drink. That’s the same price it’s been since the mid 1980s!

Sam’s Club

Look for anything that ends in a penny

When you see a price like $19.91 or $4.41 at Sam’s Club, you know it’s a markdown.

Need another clue? Anything marked with a “C” for clearance is a real deal too.

secret saving hacks costco sam's club bj's wholesale

Keep your eye open for daily deal site specials

From time to time, Sam’s Club will run membership specials through LivingSocial or Groupon. (New members only.)

Last March, they had an offer where they gave you $97 worth of free products and coupons when you bought a $45 membership through Groupon.

And in September 2015, Sam’s Club was offering a whopping $245 value pack of freebies to sign up for a $45 membership.

Another thing to keep your eye open for? A rare but valuable time-sensitive discount for new moms.

We’ve read at least one report about Sam’s Club offering new or expecting moms a free one-year membership!

Back in 2015, The Hartford Courant reported that expectant moms and those with kids under age one could call the Sam’s Club customer service line at 1-888-746-7726 and select prompt #2. Apparently, you had to ask about the New Mom membership offer. Once you did that, you were said to receive a membership number that you could take to your local Sam’s Club store service desk for activation.

Now, none of these timely deals are active right now. But they’re definitely worth keeping an eye out for and jumping all over when they do come out again!

Sam’s Club is like the king of tires!

This tidbit is not widely known, but the king of all warehouse club tire deals may be the one from Sam’s Club.

In addition to free tire rotation and free repair of flats, Sam’s Club has a benefit that is unique as far as we know on Team Clark: Emergency roadside tire service.

For three years from purchase, Sam’s Club members have 24 hour toll-free access for emergency tire change service. Apparently they will send a truck to come deal with your flat on the side of the road!

BJ’s

Look for anything that ends in .90 or .00

Those price points indicate a manager’s special discount, according to fan site MyBJsWholesale.com.

You can use manufacturer’s coupons from the newspaper

Costco and Sam’s Club generally won’t accept coupons you clip from your Sunday circular. But BJ’s does!

Military personnel can get 30% off membership

As a “thank you” to the brave men and women who serve our nation, BJ’s offers them 30% of the price of a membership.

Read more: 7 items to buy on deep discount after Christmas (and 3 things to skip)

Costco CEO shares tips with Clark Howard to help you save money

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Theo Thimou is director of content for ClarkHoward.com. He has co-written 2 books with Clark Howard, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Clark Howard's Living Large in Lean Times.
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