Mature couple browsing bakery section of supe.width .jpg

3 Reasons I’m Loyal to Costco When a Sam’s Club Membership Is Cheaper

Mature couple browsing bakery section of supermarket

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Joining a warehouse club was a smart financial move on my part. I need access to bulk grocery discounts because I have a larger family to feed. If I were to stick to a regular supermarket, I’d spend hundreds more each year on things like dairy products, meat, and produce.

When it comes to joining a warehouse club, there are choices in my area. I could opt for a Sam’s Club membership for $50 a year for a basic one or $110 for a Plus membership. But instead, I pay for Costco, even though a basic membership there costs $60 a year and an Executive membership costs $120. Here’s why.

1. Costco is closer

Where I live, Costco is about five to 10 minutes closer to my house than Sam’s Club. And while you may not think that’s a big deal, to me, it is.

I shop at Costco weekly. I need to based on the rate my fridge contents get depleted.

Saving 15 minutes on the road every week can add up to more working hours for me during the year. Since I’m self-employed, the more time I have to work, the more I might potentially earn. Plus, nobody enjoys sitting in traffic — or at least nobody I know.

2. Costco’s customer service is top notch

Sam’s Club may have excellent customer service in its own right. But the things Costco has done for me through the years have been downright impressive.

Just recently, I was refunded for spoiled food based on a picture I took of it — no questions asked. And the people at the customer service desk — at least at my local store — are just plain nice and pleasant to deal with.

When you shop somewhere on a regular basis, sometimes, it’s worth paying a little extra for a membership in exchange for a positive experience. And while I can’t say I wouldn’t have that at Sam’s Club, it’s hard to give up a good thing.

3. Costco’s bakery is my favorite in town

Costco’s bakery isn’t just cost efficient. It’s actually really, really good.

My family and I all love Costco’s muffins, and we’ve made a “Saturday morning muffin” tradition out of that love. We also routinely outsource our baking to Costco for events like birthdays and holidays because the cakes are tasty and affordable — a winning combination.

Which warehouse club store is right for you?

If you’re new to the world of joining a warehouse club store, you may be torn between Costco and Sam’s Club. The one thing you may want to consider first is location, because if one store is convenient to you and the other isn’t, the former should win out. Also, check to see what hours each store is open and determine which set of hours better suits your schedule.

But if both stores are equally convenient from a distance and operating hour standpoint, and money is a bit tight, then you may find that Sam’s Club is a better choice for you than Costco. Your best bet, though, is to tag along with a member of each warehouse club at least once and get a sense of the inventory and prices each one offers. From there, you can make a more informed decision.

I’ll admit that I haven’t had a lot of Sam’s Club experience, as I’ve been there sparingly. But because I’m so happy with Costco, I intend to remain loyal. Besides, saving myself time on the road during my weekly shopping is reason enough to spend an extra $10 a year on my membership.

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We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers.
The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.Maurie Backman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Costco Wholesale. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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