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Coupon Abbreviations
  • SC = Store Coupon
  • MC = Manufacturer Coupon
  • SS = Smart Source
  • RP = Red Plum
  • PG = Proctor and Gamble
Coupon Terms
  • WYB = When You Buy
  • B1G1 = Buy One Get One Free
  • .75/1 = 75 cents off one item
  • .75/3 = 75 cents off three items
  • EXP = Expiration Date

Going Nuts? I can help you understand coupon terms and abbreviations

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sams club comparison

I was glancing through the latest Sam’s Club ad I received in yesterday’s paper (a rare find already) they are touting big savings on items focused on entertaining for the Super Bowl. I couldn’t help but notice that the items they were listing as being “great savings” are really incredibly over priced compared to sales that we see in other stores.

Many folks ask about savings in warehouse clubs, and I’ve covered a lot of that in a Warehouse vs. Grocery Store comparison post.  In general a warehouse club (like Sam’s) shouldn’t be your first option if you’re wanting to save the maximum amount of money. After you pay them membership prices and then remember that a majority of the warehouse stores don’t allow coupons, you can start to see how you could get the most bang for your buck at regular stores. That being said, if you don’t enjoy or plan on using coupons, buying in bulk at stores like Sam’s will save you money versus paying full retail prices in other stores.

Check out some of the items listed in the Sam’s ad below and see how they compare to items in local grocery and drug stores. Note that the regular store prices are examples of prices after sales and coupons, but if you stock up (just like buying in bulk from Sam’s) you can really see some huge savings.

*these prices are based off of averages and subject to change

Sam’s Club vs. Regular Store Prices:

DiGiorno Rising Crust
Sam’s – $4.66 per pizza
Rite-Aid – $2 per pizza
Sam’s is selling DiGiorno in packs of 3. Buy 3 pizzas from Rite-Aid instead of Sam’s and you’ll save $7.98!

Bounty Paper Towels, Huge Roll
Sam’s – $2.14 per roll
Target – $1.96 per roll
If you’re willing to buy regular Bounty paper towels (not the huge roll), you can get them for 54¢ at CVS or  75¢ per roll at Rite-Aid.  The huge roll is advertised to 2.5 times a regular roll meaning the CVS price comes out to around $1.35 in comparison.

Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce
Sam’s – 7¢ per oz
Publix – 3¢ per oz
Remember, this is the price per ounce. The Sam’s bottle is a 40 oz and the Publix is 18 oz, so you have to compare apples to apples and go down to unit prices.

Rotel Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies
Sam’s – 82¢ ea.
Publix – 27¢ ea.
Sam’s is selling Rotel in packs of 8. Buy 8 cans of Rotel at Publix instead of Sam’s and you’ll save $4.40!

Hunt’s Diced Tomatoes
Sam’s – 78¢ per can
Target – 60¢ per can
Sam’s is selling these in packs of 8. If you bought 8 cans of Hunt’s tomatoes at Target instead of Sam’s and you’ll save $1.47!  This deal ended last week, but shows you the general gist that it is cheaper other places.

Pepsi, 2 Liters
Sam’s – 99¢ per 2 L
Walgreens/Publix – 99¢ per 2 L
These are the same price, but there is no membership fee required for Walgreens or Publix.

This was just a few items, but pretty much anything that you compare will have the same results.  Wanna get started and learn how to coupon?  It’s super easy and really does save you money!

    • Sylvia Hix

      I have never thought Sam’s or Costco were a great bargain. I don’t like to buy in that large a bulk purchase anyway. It is easy to spend a lot of money in them and not have a wide variety of things to show for it. I think it is a lot of hype.

    • Debbie

      I think you are mistaken about the Pizza price at Rite aid vs Sams. Their pizza’s are not $2 each. 2/$11 w/coupon B2g1free.. still $3.66 each.

      • Don’t forget that when you buy 3 you get a $5 reward back. So three for $11 after the coupon, then get back $5, that makes it 3 for $6.

    • Kim

      Some things though are a lot cheaper or of better quality – especially if you buy them every week! I buy each week at Sams 2 gallons of milk, 2 bags of apples,1 bag of oranges, lettuce for salad. I probably could get them cheaper if I traveled all over town, but may not get the best quality. I know that my fruit is always of the highest quality! During the summer months we do frequent the pick your own fruit, but during the winter Sams fruit cannot be beat!

    • EA Fritz

      We tried out Costco this year because they had around $30 in free items with their coupons. We actually upgraded to the executive plan and got the Amex card since we get a percentage back. (Pay it off monthly) We buy our gas there too and on my last statement I had received a credit for an entire gas purchase as a bonus. It has worked out well for us to buy Thomas’ english muffins, two 9 packs for $4.50 and loaf bread. Their vitamins come out to be a much better price than anywhere else. We also buy their fruits and veggies. Not sure we will keep it up after this trial year but with the free gas and $13 propane fillups it already paid for itself. (That is not common) We also bought a new microwave and saved around $25 from the Lowe’s price. I don’t buy paper goods and such there though. I actually get those from Amazon with coupons and SnS. I guess I use it in combination with coupons, online shopping, and zaycon foods :) We will have to see what our final savings equals at the end of our sign up year to decide if we want to reup. I think if you are choosy about signups and really research things outside of just food, Costco can be a good deal but you have to know costs else you will easily over pay and over buy

    • Lana

      My husband’s employer pays for our membership so that is not an issue for us. They do have the best price on milk in town and there are some items that are always cheaper there for me. Definitely pick up a rotisserie chicken because they are delicious and much larger than you will get anywhere else and the price on chicken cannot be beat besides not having to cook it! I buy spices and yeast, cheese, pepperoni, produce, milk, some meats and real maple syrup. Hubby also has a very expensive drug that is $40 cheaper for 30 days at Sam’s. Even if I did have to pay for the membership it would pay for itself for us.

    • jenjav

      i split a costco membership with a friend, 27.50 each for the year. my family is partial to the tillamook cheese which is 4.50/lb at our local walmart, i can get 2lb block for $6 at costco. they also sell produce at way cheaper prices. again we split the large packages with family/friends if we do not think we can use it all. i dont usually buy paper products from there but i do buy toilet paper. the kirkland brand is $15 for 30rolls and these are huge rolls, after doing the square footage, comes out to 0.007 cents a square foot, even the target deal this week for quilted northern(which is my favorite brand) comes out to 0.011 per sf. and costco does run specials with extra $2 or 3 off the toilet paper few times a year. i also bought my son a jake and the neverland pirates costume this past halloween with outfit, boot covers, sword, bandana for $16, way better quality than discount stores. and the lunch savings-a hotdog and a soda for $1.50, a huge slice of pizza for 1.99. plus the otc meds, i can get 365 pills of generic zyrtec for $15! i bought last month the mega red fish oil capsules 90ct for $13, they were $24 at walmart and cvs/walgreens they sell regularly for like $28, never are half off even with coupons. now i won’t given up cvs or target deals for costco but i defininately save my membership fee each time i go 1xmonth.

    • guest

      We got a Sam’s membership when a groupon made it very cheap. It’s worth it to us for gas since there’s one at our exit but it’s rarely worth going inside to shop unless it’s for an event like a party.

    • tori729

      I got a free Sam’s membership this year through my husband’s work. I think I’ve had it for six months and have only been once. To me, it’s WAY too overwhelming and I only got a handful of stuff and paid like $50. It’s not really the store for me.

    • andrew

      Costco works out to be a better price but you have to buy big. If my neighbor wants to go half then it’s good

    • clenington

      I recently bought the 3 pack of DiGiorno pizza at Sam’s. They had a sign next to the price that said, “Take an extra $4 off” – they were priced at $11.50 or so at my Sam’s. So I actually only paid $7.50 or so for 3 pizzas – not bad! And milk and fruit are a great deal, too – it’s convenient if you don’t have time to prep coupons!

    • pjaugustine

      I would have to say… the expensive cheeses from grass fed cows are very reasonable at Sam’s. Love the greens, we go through 2 a month! can’t get the organic greens that cheap anywhere! Coconut oil, although I have not compared to Amazon. Coffee bean are also generally cheaper. Although on the rare occasion with a good coupon I find the beans elsewhere, Sam’s becomes the staple. If you don’t mind stocking up – the 25 pound bags of popcorn are great and cheap. Get to Sam’s early in the morning and all the mark down meat is available! This has been better than the grocery store mark downs lately and the quality seems better. There is also a mark down area and food in damaged boxes can be purchased marked down. Sometimes it is not a good deal…

      The advantage has also come in on phone prices. Phones are much cheaper at Sam’s and the savings easily cover the membership cost.

      On a weekly basis gas is cheaper when I don’t have my Kroger gas points.

      They have been having monthly deals, which some have been really good. If I had to go out of my way to go to Sam’s it may not be worth it, but since it is enroute to a job I do once a week I find it to be a great.

      I still take part in my weekly coupon shopping at the big stores, I simply know my price point for the things I purchase regularly.

      I also generally do not spend more than $50.00. Many times I walk out with less. I see people with cart fulls and wonder who is going to eat all that food!?!?

    • Whitney

      I personally like BJ’s, they allow you to stack coupons AND use a manufactures coupon for every item bought. I can get Charmin toilet tissue, 32 rolls (8 pkgs in each) for $15.00 dollars, I use a BJ’s coupon for $3.00 off and I’m able to use 8 (.25 cent) manufactures coupons, ending with a $10.00 balance for 32 rolls of toilet tissue, now that’s a great deal, no other store can beat that.

    • Whitney

      I personally like BJ’s, they allow you to stack coupons AND use a manufactures coupon for every item bought. I can get Charmin toilet tissue, 32 rolls (8 pkgs in each) for $15.00 dollars, I use a BJ’s coupon for $3.00 off and I’m able to use 8 (.25 cent) manufactures coupons, ending with a $10.00 balance for 32 rolls of toilet tissue, now that’s a great deal, no other store can beat that.

    • Marcia Stott Ballard

      Feta Cheese is cheaper at Sam’s, even with coupons I found.