16 Items That Aren’t Worth the Trip to Sam's Club (Even on Black Friday)

You may want to stick with your local grocery store or skip some of these items entirely at Sam’s Club.
Updated May 8, 2024
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sam's club store logo outside warehouse

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Sam’s Club can save you money on plenty of products that you stock up on every time you visit.

But other items could end up being wasteful and not worth the trip or possible ding to your wallet.

Before you head out on your next Sam’s Club trip, here are some items you might want to consider scratching off your shopping list so you keep more money in your wallet.

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Name-brand items

_KUBE_/Adobe woman checking products on shelf

A great hack for Costco, Sam’s Club, and other retailers is buying the store brands of products to save money.

You may be surprised how much more the name brands cost compared to store brands, and how good the store versions are in quality compared to their more expensive name-brand rivals.


Monkey Business/Adobe african american checking out fresh produce

Sam’s Club is great if you’re buying staples in bulk that can sit on your shelf for a while.

But buying produce in bulk might not be worth it, especially if you can’t finish it quickly. A bulk amount of produce can go bad before you’re able to use all of it.


Art_Photo/Adobe woman buying milk at dairy section

Milk is another item that can go bad if you don’t use it daily.

Sam’s Club has some great options if you have kids who drink a lot of milk or you need it for cereal, cooking, and other items. But you may want to skip it otherwise.

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RaspberryStudio/Adobe diapers besides baby in white sheets

Kids can be expensive, which is why you want to find a good bargain on everyday items like wipes, formula, or diapers.

But buying diapers in bulk could also work against you if your kids go through a growth spurt or are on the edge of moving to the next size up, leaving you with a bulk amount of diapers you can’t use anymore.

You also may want to check the per-unit cost compared to other retailers to see if you’re saving money by picking up diapers in bulk.


sosiukin/Adobe woman applying sunscreen at beach

You might think you’re getting a deal buying sunscreen on sale at the end of the summer, but be careful before you put it in your cart.

Sunscreen has an expiration date so you’ll want to be careful about using it beyond the date listed or buying it in the winter and having it go bad before warmer weather arrives again.


agungai/Adobe hand holding delicious hot dog

Condiments are a great thing to buy in bulk if you’re hosting a summer barbecue.

But you may want to hold off buying the one-gallon jar of Kraft Real Mayo at Sam’s Club if it will take you a while to work through it in the winter.


Farknot Architect/Adobe woman reading book while having coffee

You may be excited about the latest book releases and ready to stock up your Sam’s Club cart with plenty of novels and non-fiction stories.

But Sam’s Club doesn’t have the same extensive selection as your local bookstore or perhaps even your local library. You also might find that you’re not getting much of a deal at the book table compared to buying it somewhere else like Amazon.


ACphoto/Adobe pills out of prescription bottle

You could save money on your prescriptions if you buy them from your local Sam’s Club pharmacy.

Over-the-counter medication can also help you keep more money in your wallet, but make sure you pay attention to the expiration dates on the medications you buy in bulk.

It might be a good idea to buy allergy medicine if your entire family goes through it during allergy season, but a bulk-size version of aspirin could expire if you don’t use it often.

Toilet paper

thayra83/Adobe toilet rolls over blue background

Toilet paper can be a good find to help you save money, but you might want to check on the per-unit cost compared to other local retailers. You may be surprised to find you’re not saving as much.

Another issue with a big item like toilet paper is storage, particularly if you live in a smaller space. Take into account the cost compared to the inconvenience of finding storage for all those rolls.

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Christian Delbert/Adobe wine bottles decorated on wooden rack

Sam’s Club can be a great place to save money on alcohol for your bar or a party, and you may be surprised to find out that you don’t need a membership to get discounts on alcohol in some states.

But you may be buying a bulk-sized version of vodka when a smaller bottle will do just fine on your shelf or at your next get-together, and it could cost you less than the big version at Sam’s Club.

Laundry detergent

Roman Tiraspolsky/Adobe tide detergent for sale at store

A big family needs a big-sized laundry detergent to get loads and loads of clothes cleaned.

But you may be surprised that laundry detergent has an expiration date and may not be able to clean your items as well when that date expires. So buying in bulk may not be the best option if you don’t do many loads of laundry.


Valerii Apetroaiei/Adobe couple trying out smartphones at store

It’s a good idea to do some comparison shopping before you buy your next television or computer at Sam’s Club.

The retailer may not have the same features you’re looking for or you might be able to find a cheaper option somewhere else.

You should also factor in the return policy of the retailer you purchase an electronic from. Sam’s Club has a generous return policy for most items, but it has restrictions for electronics.

Baked goods

likophoto/Adobe croissants doughnuts and muffins at table

Sam’s Club has delicious options for breakfast or your next family celebration like a birthday or anniversary.

But like produce, baked goods can go bad quickly. Make sure you have a plan to eat them or store them in a way that they won’t get moldy or stale too soon.


Melica/Adobe black coffee cup besides coffee beans

Coffee may not be great to the last drop as it can lose its strength and flavor over time.

It may be important for you to buy some and get your morning pick-me-up, but you may want to consider a non-bulk version if it will take you a while to get through it.

On the other hand, making coffee at home is a great way to save money if you’re struggling financially.


Alexander Raths/Adobe herbs and spices in spoons

Spices are a good staple to have to give your food more flavor or a little bit of an extra kick.

But spices can also lose their flavors over time, which can be a big issue if you’ve bought a bulk-sized version of a spice you only use a few times a month or even less.

Sam’s Club membership

Игорь Головнёв/Adobe tablet screen with sam's club logo

Sam’s Club is a membership club and you need to pay an annual fee to get the benefits of shopping there.

But that could be a waste of your money if you don’t use it often or find that you prefer to not buy items in bulk.

If you’re worried the membership won’t be worth it, sit down with your budget before you sign up to see how much you could potentially save — or not save — with bulk-version discounts.

Bottom line

Prostock-studio/Adobe african american family doing grocery

Sam’s Club is a great way to save money if you’re trying to keep extra cash in your pocket for a big purchase or to retire early.

But remember that membership isn’t for everyone, or there could be certain products that don’t work for you when it comes to buying the Sam’s Club size.

If you still want to make those purchases, consider checking your wallet for the best rewards credit cards to earn extra points and perks when you head out for your next Sam’s Club visit.

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Annual Fee


Rewards Rate

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Card Details

Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.

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