Are discount clubs worth it?

BJs, costco, discount clubWe just renewed our membership to BJ’s and I started thinking are discount clubs really worth the money that we pay to be part of them?  I think it was $53 for the year to renew, which allows us to go into the club and purchase merchandise, it also allows us to book travel at discounted rates.

Do they actually have better prices?

There are some products that we buy just at BJ’s and some that we buy at the grocery store.  If you like Olive Oil, it is definitely cheaper at BJ’s.  I have also noticed that it has prices lower for baby products too such as formula.  When you have a baby it is very convenient to drop in and buy the larger tubs of formula or diapers rather than having to go out to the grocery store weekly and stock up.  Is there anything that you go to BJ’s or any other club like this for?  I know some that go there for their meats.

Does the membership pay for itself?

That is a good question.  The amount that we shop there we probably break even.  This was up until a few months ago when my wife wasn’t working and we couldn’t go to the store and drop 200 on a trip to BJ’s.  Now that we have a little more flexibility with our cash flow that will be something that I let you know about next year.  A great thing about BJ’s is that they allow you to use manufacturer coupons as well as store coupons so you can end up saving a decent amount.  The BJ’s that we go to has a gas station attached and the gas is usually a few cents cheaper than the local pumps.  So I guess if you only fueled up here you could end up making up a good size chunk of your premium paid for the membership back.

Free Trial Membership?

Yes sometimes they offer a free trial membership, make sure you read the literature very closely.  Sometimes they say it is free and you may be hit with a surcharge when you go through the checkout.

What do I think?

I have decided that you need to evaluate your own situation to see if it is worth it to you. I know we could probably go to the local store and pay a little bit more for each product but we enjoy the peace of mind being able to shop at the discount club whenever need be.  Having a party, no problem go to BJ’s and score some great deals on soda, stationary and other materials for the get together.  Evaluate your own situation to see if it would be advantageous for you to become a member.  If you do make sure to capitalize on your use of coupons!  Everyone’s situation is different and if you think spending a few bucks to save a few bucks is not worth it to you, then there are lots of other ways out there to save!!!  Are you a member?  What is the main item that you go there for?

PHOTO BY: MattHurst

From My Frugal Side: 5 ways to cut costs in the bathroom, this that and the mba, bathroom, ways to save, cut costs

I don’t know where this one came from.  I was sitting there yesterday thinking (not thinking in the bathroom) and I started rattling off ways to save some money in the bathroom.  These ideas are not going to require any major design changes to your bathroom.  Sure you look at the picture above and think where can I possibly save any money.  The bathroom is probably one of the most frequented locations in the house and these simple changes can add up over the year.

Water Saver – add a water saving showerhead to your shower and this can cut up to 33% of your water consumption.  We added one of these to our rental unit and our unit and instantly began to notice our consumption go down.  With the decreased consumption that only means more money in your pocket.  I don’t know if it cut a third of the bill but it did cut a large portion, and our water bill was close to a grand last year before we installed the water saver. 

Bulk Hand soap – having little ones around the house we were constantly purchasing new pumps of soap.  Instead we were at Wal-Mart and we noticed they sold the soap in much larger quantities.  We purchased one of those containers for close to $6 dollars and they last us close to a year.  Whereas the little containers were running us a few bucks every few weeks for a new pump. 

Reuse Towels – you are coming out of the shower right?  You should be pretty clean, so hang up the towel and reuse it once or twice.  This savings is twofold.  First you will cut down on the amount of energy you use having to wash additional towels, but more importantly you will save yourself time with less laundry.  Think of a family of 4 the number of towels that you could go through on a weekly basis.

Toilet Paper – there really is no need to buy that premium brand Charmin.  We have been in the habit of purchasing Scott’s paper which runs about $16-18 dollars for a 20 pack of rolls.  After you get over the initial sticker shock, think about it this paper lasts us 2-3 months for our family of 4.  I don’t know what they put in these rolls but they never seem to end.  The premium paper runs close to a dollar a roll, but doesn’t last nearly as long as the Scott’s. 

Straight Razor – Sorry ladies this one is for the guys.  Use a straight razor to shave.  I started using one a few months ago.  What is manlier than putting a knife up to your face to shave with?  This will save big time in the wallet too.  Right now I am using the disposable safety razors which run about 20 for $7.  That is cheaper than one Gillette Mach 3 blade, which is running about 8 for $40.  Think about that over the lifetime of shaving.  Big money could be saved by switching to this, and it gets a remarkably close shave too. 

Any other ideas on how to cut costs without really spending any additional money in the bathroom?  Do you currently use any of these cost cutting tactics? 

PHOTO BY: nstop