Warehouse clubs advertise big bargain deals and savings for members on select items, compared to shopping at a smaller retailer. Depending on your family size, the usefulness of buying in bulk, and annual dues, becoming a member may not necessarily be a sweet deal. Consider how penny-wise or pound-foolish signing up for a warehouse club membership is for your wallet.

Better in bulk

When you shop at a smaller store, consumers feel the pinch from markup costs ranging from 25% to 50% on products. A warehouse club can offer lower prices for most of its goods because it relies on a set annual fee for membership.

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Warehouse clubs are a deal for anyone who wants inexpensive electronics, a year-long supply of toilet paper, or reasonably priced organic groceries. Having to travel a distance to a warehouse club isn’t that bad, especially if members can cash in on cheaper gas at the pump.

Pays to be a member

Membership fees may range between $45 to $55 a year, depending on what warehouse chain you sign up with for bargain prices. In addition to having a place for one-stop shopping for nearly all of your basic needs, members can take advantage of health screenings, insurance deals, or banking services.

The in-house store brands are usually high quality, customer service is excellent, and there are often free samples of desirable products.

Deal or no deal

If you are a single person with a small living space, it might be better to shop at a warehouse club without forking over cash for a membership. The best deals are for bulk items that would be more beneficial for a family of three or more.

Anyone who wants to get the most out of their membership fee should prepare to shop at their warehouse chain often. Otherwise, the perks don’t pay for themselves. If you want 100% money-back guarantees on items, access to member-only services, and don’t mind a three-month supply of cereal, go for membership.