If you love to shop in bulk, you are probably familiar with the Big-Box retailers Costco and Sam’s Club.
While both of these stores can save you a lot of money on groceries and other household goods, you may be wondering which will give you the most savings.
Sam’s Club and Costco are very similar in their pricing, but there are some differences.
- Costco offers a slightly lower price-per-unit average overall.
- While Sam’s Club has lower membership costs and a wider variety of products.
Both Sam’s Club and Costco can work well for your bulk grocery needs. Keep reading to learn more about an overall savings breakdown as well as the particular disadvantages and advantages that each store has.
Choosing Between Costco and Sam’s Club
Both Sam’s Club and Costco were made with customer savings in mind. These retailers offer bulk groceries at a reduced cost per unit than you would pay in most other grocery stores.
Additionally, both grocery stores have signature brands of home goods and other products that have been praised and are regarded as high-quality.
When choosing between Costco and Sam’s Club, many factors may be helpful to keep in mind.
Costco vs. Sam’s Club | Membership Costs
Sam’s Club and Costco are unique from many other grocery stores in that they both require a membership to access most of their deals.
Membership fees are charged annually for both stores. Overall, membership at Sam’s Club costs less and comes with more rewards.
Membership at Sam’s Club
There are two options for membership at Sam’s Club, called the Club Membership and the Plus Membership.
|Club Membership||The least expensive option. It costs $45 per year, and comes with many benefits, including the following: A Sam’s Club Mastercard that gives money back on select purchases up to $5,000 total. Free select auto services. Member-only pricing and discounts, including for fuel services.|
|Plus Membership||If you’d like to upgrade your savings even further, the Plus Membership costs $110 per year. It allows buyers all of the benefits that come with the Club Membership option, with the following extra additions: Free online shipping Early shopping hours Discounts on prescriptions and eyeglasses Cash rewards up to $500 annually|
Even if you are not willing to pay for an annual membership, Sam’s Club allows for a 90-day free trial and also gives discounts for students and those in the military.
Membership at Costco
Like Sam’s Club, there are also two main membership options available at Costco. They are called the Gold Star Membership and the Gold Star Executive Membership.
|Gold Star Membership||The Gold Star Membership is considered the basic membership package and costs $60 per year. The main benefits of the Gold Star Membership include discounts on Costco merchandise and reduced fuel prices.|
|Gold Star Executive Membership||The Gold Star Executive Membership is very similar to the Gold Star package but offers additional discounts as well as an annual 2% reward on your total yearly purchases.|
Costco also offers memberships specifically for businesses that allow businesses to purchase goods for resale.
The pricing for business memberships is very similar to those of regular memberships, making Costco an affordable option for businesses looking to purchase bulk goods.
The Price of Groceries at Costco and Sam’s Club
Many people choose to shop at Costco and Sam’s for food and other groceries, and so you may be wondering if there is any distinct difference between the cost of groceries at either store.
Overall, Sam’s Club and Costco have very similarly priced groceries, with Costco being slightly cheaper overall.
However, there are some key differences in what products they offer and how many different products they sell.
Both Sam’s Club and Costco have a selection of organic foods. However, Costco is known to have more organic food and other high-quality brands in its stores.
If you are a frequent buyer of organic groceries, Costco may be a better fit for you.
Sam’s Club and Costco are both very large grocery stores that are filled with what seems like countless products. However, Sam’s Club is known to have more variety than Costco.
Sam’s Club has over 8,000 distinctive products in its catalog. By comparison, Costco has around 4,000.
If you are a shopper who values variety, then Sam’s Club may work well for your lifestyle.
Buying Home Goods and Clothing at Costco vs. Sam’s Club
Sam’s Club and Costco both sell quality clothing and home goods at their store under their own respective brands.
Although there is no clear winner in this category, Costco’s brand, Kirkland Signature, has a strong reputation for high-quality products in a variety of areas.
Costco: Kirkland Signature
Costco’s brand sells a variety of things, including the following:
- Housewares such as towels and blankets
- Home and kitchenware
- Office products
- Health and Beauty
Even with such a wide variety of products, Kirkland Signature is known for its quality and has often been listed as a top private-label brand. As a private-label brand, it also offers products at a lower price than name brands, meaning that you can buy high-quality products while still saving money.
If you find that you enjoy the Kirkland Signature brand, Costco may be a good fit for you with its consistent guarantee of quality across a range of products.
Sam’s Club: Maker’s Mark
Sam’s Club’s private-label brand is called Maker’s Mark, and they offer products in many categories that are the same as or similar to Kirkland Originals.
While Maker’s Mark also offers good-quality products at a discount, they are less of a central part of the store than Costco’s brand is.
Sam’s Club offers numerous name brands in addition to its private-label brand, so you may not encounter Maker’s Mark products at Sam’s Club as often as you would find Kirkland Signature products at Costco.
Does Sam’s Club or Costco Have a Better Return Policy?
No matter how much you may research your products, there inevitably comes a time when something needs to be returned. Fortunately, both Sam’s Club and Costco have very generous return policies, ensuring that you will not lose money if a product doesn’t work for you.
Returning Products at Costco
Almost anything that you purchase at Costco can be returned. The following are some features of their return policy.
- Extended warranties on large appliances
- A 90-day timeframe to return electronics
- Full return on membership fees if you are unsatisfied with your Costco membership
The return process at Costco is simple and stress-free, both in-person and online.
Returning Products at Sam’s Club
Similarly, most Sam’s Club purchases can be returned, too. Their return policy has the following features:
- Returns on everything except alcohol, tobacco, and contact lenses
- The ability to return all items at any time
- Products can be brought or shipped to any Sam’s Club location to make a return
Online returns also are straightforward with Sam’s Club and while a receipt is preferred to make returns, it is not required.
Costco vs. Sam’s Club | Other Considerations
There are a few more things that can impact your decision to shop at Sam’s Club or Costco.
Both stores have more than 500 locations across the United States. Check to see which retailer is closest to you, as this can save you money on transportation costs.
Credit Card Policy
While Sam’s Club accepts almost all types of credit cards, Costco only accepts Visa cards. Both stores have their own credit cards and accept debit, check, and credit.
However, Costco’s strict credit card policy may pose an issue if you are hoping to pay with a certain type of card.
When choosing between Sam’s Club and Costco, there is no way you can go wrong. Both stores offer savings and rewards associated with a membership that can add up and make a big difference in reducing your shopping bill.
While shopping at Sam’s Club will give you a lot of variety in products and a cheaper cost of membership, Costco has its advantages when it comes to organic foods and the quality of its private-label brand.
Deciding which store will help you save more ultimately comes down to your lifestyle. Thinking through your preferences on variety, product types, and membership perks will help you choose a store that works best for your shopping habits.
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