Saving money in a period of skyrocketing inflation is the financial equivalent of running an obstacle course, as prices for everything from bacon and ground beef to milk, eggs, potatoes and rice are at their highest level in decades. One way to trim your food costs is to buy in bulk from membership warehouse clubs such as Costco, BJ’s Wholesale Club and Sam’s Club.
The problem is, those places require a membership to score the best deals. A Costco membership costs $60 a year for Gold Star members. At BJ’s, membership starts at $55 a year for most members. A membership at Walmart-owned Sam’s Club starts at $45 a year.
Paying the annual membership fee makes sense for large households that shop at the stores regularly. But for single folks and others who only need to shop at warehouse clubs a few times a year, spending money on an annual membership could be money wasted.
The good news is, there are other ways to get the benefits of bulk warehouse shopping without the membership fee – all while shopping online. Costco and Sam’s Club let non-members shop online, though the prices you pay at checkout will be higher than prices for members.
Only Costco members get access to ultra-low prices on certain items, while non-members are charged a 5% fee on online sales, the Mashed website reported. Sam’s Club offers non-member checkouts with a 10% surcharge. Despite these extra costs, you still get a chance to order bulk groceries online without having to pay an annual membership fee.
One online-only option is AllBulkFoods, which sells products by the inner-pack, case, pallet, and even truckload. It doesn’t offer the same breadth of products as the warehouse club chains, but you still get a pretty wide selection, including baking goods, sweets, grains, pasta, nuts, spices and seasonal items — with no membership fee. Orders are shipped via UPS.
Another company, Boxed, offers a wide range of snacks, groceries, beverages, household items and health and beauty products that can be ordered in bulk online. You just need to create a free account to browse. Sticker prices at Boxed aren’t that different from what you’ll find at most supermarkets, according to Mashed. But you can get savings of 5% to 10% when you sign up for auto-deliveries. A coupon section is also available, and you can get free product samples with every order.
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