Sam’s Club, which first opened in 1983, is a top destination for the budget-conscious consumer, and it has seen dramatic success as a result. For the fiscal year 2020, the big-box retailer raked in a total revenue of $64 billion — $5 billion more than it accrued the previous year. Under the helm of CEO Kathryn McClay, Sam’s Club was quick to meet consumers’ changing needs during the pandemic, rapidly rolling out curbside service in all its 600 stores and enabling members to order on the website or app, opt for email or text alerts and pay in advance.
Though the pandemic is winding down in the U.S., with even the most cautious cities opening up to near or full capacity, consumers aren’t totally abandoning their online shopping habit that intensified in 2020 when in-person shopping was riskier than buying from home.
That said, many consumers still prefer an in-store shopping experience when it comes to purchasing groceries and other staples — items that Sam’s Club sells in abundance. What’s to stop them from shopping at their local grocery store instead of a mega warehouse like Sam’s Club, or anywhere else? One possible answer: the cost of goods. Sales and discounts will continue to factor into their decision of where to shop, especially given that the economy has yet to fully recover from the catastrophic blows of the pandemic.
So just how good are Sam’s Club deals? It largely depends on how savvy the consumer is. Here’s a look at 20 ways to save at Sam’s Club, courtesy of shopping and savings experts.
Last updated: June 24, 2021
1. Get a Free 90-Day Club Membership Trial
“To get a free 90-day membership trial, a Sam’s Club member has to send you the free trial offer they received from Sam’s Club to share with a friend,” said Lisa Davis, shopping expert at Offers.com. “The email invitation is for new members only, but you’ll get all the perks of an entry-level club membership.”
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2. Go Ahead and Get the Membership
“It might seem counterintuitive to pay first before receiving savings benefits at Sam’s Club, but the membership fee will pay for itself within a few shopping trips,” said Davis. “You can receive instant savings and member-exclusive gas prices with a club membership for $45 a year. This is a splendid choice if you shop at Sam’s Club and other local stores.
“But if Sam’s Club is your retailer of choice, it’s the plus membership where you’ll really see the savings add up. For $100 a year, this membership gets you free shipping, 2% cash back, prescription and optical discounts, instant savings and a variety of other discounts and perks.”
3. Shop With a Sam’s Club Member
“Non-members with friends who are Sam’s Club members can shop the store with them,” said Davis. “Members can bring up to two guests per visit to any Sam’s Club location.”
4. Sign Up for Email Notifications
“Sam’s Club offers its “Shocking Values” limited-time savings opportunities with new deals arriving daily,” said Davis. “Anyone can take advantage of the deals, but Sam’s Club members will save more. You must create a free account to receive notifications.”
5. Shop Sam’s Club’s Clearance Section
“Even though Sam’s Club prices are discounted, the clearance section offers extra discounts on already-reduced items,” said Davis. “Members and non-members can shop clearance merchandise.”
6. Check the Latest Promo Codes
“Before you shop Sam’s Club, make sure you have the latest promo codes to save even more off your purchases. If you’re a new club member, you can get a free $20 Gift Card,” said Davis. “Existing club members can get up to 49% off household essentials.”
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7. Shop at the Right Times
“Sam’s Club staff will often discount products mid-week, so if you’re interested in getting the best deal, consider shopping early on that day,” said Julie Ramhold, senior staff writer at spokesperson for DealNews. “There’s a chance that product audits will happen on Tuesdays so any items that aren’t moving quickly enough could be discounted and those prices may reflect that as early as Wednesday morning.”
8. Buy Discounted Gift Cards
“Like other warehouse stores, Sam’s Club tends to offer gift cards at discounted prices. You can shop for cards from a variety of restaurants for less than their face value,” said Ramhold. “For instance, you can get $100 worth of cards for around $86 depending on the restaurant. And there are smaller denominations available too — bundles that add up to $75 worth, or even $30 worth. And they are indeed bundles — typically you’ll get three or four cards that are equally split. Obviously you can gift these if you choose to, but you can also use them yourself to visit your favorite restaurants for less.”
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9. Split Your Purchases
“Have a friend who isn’t a member of Sam’s Club? See if they’ll be willing to split your purchases with you,” said Ramhold. “That way, they’ll cover half the cost and you won’t have to worry about finding a place to store all the bulk products you buy.”
10. Shop and Scan As You Go
“With the Sam’s Club app you can scan items as you shop and then pay through the app,” said Ramhold. “Then you can skip the line and show your proof of purchase to an associate on your way out the door.”
11. Know the ABCs of Sam’s Club
“If you see a ‘N’ on a price tag, it means ‘never out’ which means it’s pretty much constantly in stock and unlikely to see discounts,” said Ramhold. “Meanwhile ‘A’ stands for active and indicates a decent amount of stock but could go on sale in the future. ‘C’ means the item has been canceled, so it won’t be reordered and if it’s something you want, you should grab it while you can. ‘O’ indicates an item is ‘orderable’ and ‘S’ denotes an item that is seasonal.”
12. Watch For Prices Ending in ‘1’
“These are clearance prices, and while signage will also typically make it obvious when an item is on clearance, it helps to know what kind of prices to look for anyway just in case,” said Ramhold.
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13. Grab an Instant Savings Book
“This booklet is filled with additional discount vouchers to save on already great prices on everything from groceries to clothing to tech and more,” said money-saving expert Andrea Woroch. “You can receive a copy of the Instant Savings Book at any club and it’s also available online at SamsClub.com (only while the ISB is active). “Instant Savings” can usually only be used once, but some offers allow for multiple redemptions so just make sure to review the fine print for limit indicators and expiration date.”
14. Double Down on Cash Back
“Sam’s Club plus members earn 2% in cash rewards, but you can earn even more by using a discount shopping site like CouponCabin.com to earn even more — the site offers 1% back on SamsClub.com purchases,” said Woroch. “Since purchases made at this warehouse club are generally larger due to volume, cash back goes a long way.”
15. Purchase Subscriptions Through Sam’s Club
“You can save on a variety of subscriptions as a Sam’s Club member when you sign up through their site,” said Woroch. “For instance, you can subscribe to the at-home fitness service Daily Burn for just $15.99 a month which is 20% off compared to regular prices, or get a subscription to Pandora Premium for $8.99 a month, compared to $9.99.”
16. Apply For a Sam’s Club Mastercard
“You will get 5% cash back on eligible gas purchases, 3% cash back on dining and travel purchases, 1% cash back on other purchases wherever Mastercard is accepted, no annual fees and your card doubles as your membership card,” said Woroch. “Always review credit card details and compare other cards at sites like CardRates.com first to make sure it will give you the most rewards based on your spending style.”
17. Buy Take and Bake Pizza for Cheap
“Sam’s Club has a great variety of take and bake pizzas for affordable prices,” said Woroch. “For instance, you can get this 16-inch pepperoni pizza for just $6.99. That beats any pizza delivery.”
18. Pick Up Member’s Mark Merchandise.
“This is Sam’s Club’s own brand offering everything from groceries to clothing to cleaning supplies to patio furniture (we have a few sets and love the quality and look!),” said Woroch. “You get quality for less.”
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19. Get Bonus Products With Small Kitchen Appliance Purchases
“At first glance, Sam’s Club may offer the same price for a small kitchen appliance compared to big-box stores like Target but the benefit is that you get more for less,” said Woroch. “They usually offer additional attachments or components and other extra items with purchase. For example, this Ninja Professional Blender comes with two additional 24 oz. single-serve cups with spout lids for $99. Comparatively, Kohls sells just the blender for $139 (on sale for $99.99 now).”
20. Get Free Tire Repair
“Sam’s Club members are privy to free tire repair regardless of where the tire was originally purchased,” said Woroch.