Warehouse Clubs – Sam’s Club versus Costco

I’m getting quick and dirty with this post. Who has time to read 3,000 words? For that matter, I don’t have time to write 3,000 words!

Warehouse Club Comparo -Lisa and I belong to both Costco and Sam’s Club…

Lisa bought an Executive Membership at Costco through her web design business Websites For A Song, years ago. It gets us four percent cash back on gas purchases, discounted prices, and cash back at the end of the year which more than pays for the Executive Membership.

In 2022, American Express offered us a $45 credit if we signed up with Sam’s Club for the standard membership. The membership cost $45 and then American Express credited us $45 on our first purchase at Sam’s Club. (I since found out everyone gets this deal from Sam’s Club! And we thought we were soooo special.)

We’re big on freebies and cash reimbursements. I’ve got $77 in rebate vouchers from our local home improvement store sitting on my desk right now. Let’s paint the living room!

What we like about Costco:

  • They have great prices (duh). And they hand out food samples – free lunch anyone? (And yes, we shamelessly go there at lunchtime. Don’t judge!)
  • Those ridiculously low prices also apply to small appliances, computers (that’s where I got my ASUS Vivobook Flip 14 that I’m writing this on), clothes, jewelry, watches, books, office supplies, high-end items, and the most beautiful avocados you’ve ever seen.
  • They are more business-oriented so they have a lot of bulk items such as no-brainers like:
    • Toilet paper, detergents, sweeteners of every kind, flour of every kind, olive oil, etc.
    • However, they also have bulk versions of perishables like Romain lettuce, strawberries, meats, imported cheeses (they have a Spanish manchega OMG!), loaves of bread (including San Francisco sourdough), desserts that will blow your mind, etc.
  • They have regular Costcos and they have Business Center Costcos. The Business Centers cater almost exclusively to business owners (if you own a vending business or a quick mart, you’ll be in heaven);
  • The people there get paid well and have good benefits;
    • Therefore, they really hustle and they are really helpful.
    • And they are often smiling, even when they almost run you down because, man, those people hustle.
  • They have a lot of products that work with Lisa and mine’s healthy lifestyle;
    • Grass-fed frozen burgers.
    • Locally-sourced, raw and unfiltered honey.
    • Affordable, high-quality, supplements like glucosamine with MSM.
    • Lectin-free snacks.
    • Lots of Keto-friendly and Paleo-friendly products.
    • Healthily and sustainably farmed shrimp and fish, plus wild-caught salmon and wild-caught sardines (good thing you can’t smell my breath. But our cats love me.)
    • All kinds of organic fruits and vegetables.

What we like about Sam’s Club:

  • They cater mostly to consumers. That was a surprise to both of us. Their prices were just as good as Costco but there were a lot of things there that Costco doesn’t carry because Costco leans more towards small business owners.
  • Sam’s Clubs app lets Members scan the bar codes on products with their phones which gives you two benefits:
    • You know exactly how much you’re spending (Costco doesn’t have this feature so we tend to make impulse buys); and,
    • You can pay by phone and just walk out of the store with your goods. No standing in a checkout line!
  • Sam’s Club also offers discounted gasoline. Like Costco, usually around $0.20 per gallon. Believe me, it adds up.
  • The only reason there’s more information on Costco than Sam’s Club is because we’ve been members of Costco for twenty years.  We’ve been to Sam’s exactly twice since we signed up in July of 2022.  And I’m writing this on 2 Sept 2022.
Sam's big block of manchega cheese

Sam’s big block of imported Spanish manchega cheese is actually cheaper than Costcos.

Okay, we get the picture.  What’s the cost?


Sam’s Clubs $45 (yearly) membership (and Plus membership):

          • Curbside pickup;
          • Sam’s Club Mastercard;
          • Tire and battery center access; and,
          • Add-on memberships.

Sam’s Club’s $100 Plus (yearly) premium membership also includes:

          • Sam’s Cash (cashback);
          • Free shipping; and,
          • Pharmacy, optical savings.

As far as Lisa and I are concerned, we’re getting the $100 Plus membership next year. The savings will more than pay for it (probably the first time my FOMO fingers shop there).


Costco’s $60 Gold Star membership:

          • Includes a free Household Card; and,
          • Valid at all Costco locations worldwide.

Costco’s $60 Business membership:

          • Includes a free Household card;
          • Add Affiliate Cardholders for $60 each;
          • Valid at all Costco locations worldwide; and,
          • Purchase for resale: Business Members must provide Costco with the appropriate resale information.

Costco’s $120.00 Executive membership ($60 membership fee, plus $60 upgrade fee):

          • Includes a free Household card;
          • Annual 2% Reward on qualified Costco purchases (our 2021 check was $230);
          • Valid at all Costco locations worldwide;
          • Additional benefits and greater savings on Costco Services; and,
          • Extra benefits on select Costco Travel products.

Note: The only reason there’s more information on Costco than Sam’s Club is that Lisa and I have been members of Costco for twenty years. We just signed up for Sam’s Club.

However, we already have a secret sin at Sam’s Club (don’t tell!):

Pic of pork rinds jug of heavenly goodness from Sam's Club.

You can’t tell from the pic but this thing is huge (and cheap)!

You may have noticed I didn’t mention BJ’s Wholesale Club. There’s one very good reason. I can’t find any in Minnesota. And I won’t comment on a product or business I know nothing about.

Quick note: BJ’s reported record second-quarter profits in 2022 so they must be doing something right. If you have one local, you can always check them out for yourself.

The links below are affiliate links. I’d really appreciate it if you used them to access the club websites. They cost you nothing and Lisa needs a new pair of shoes (okay, okay, I need a new pair of Tommy Bahama Big Kahuna shorts…)

Fast Track Answer:

      • Get Sam’s Club if you’re looking for amazing deals for your family; or,
      • Get Costco if you’re looking for great deals for your business.
      • flexoffers
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