10 Foolish Ways People Waste Money at Sam's Club

Don’t fall victim to these mistakes that’ll cost you time and money at Sam’s Club.

Sam's Club Warehouse
Updated July 18, 2024
Fact checked

We receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

Sam’s Club offers many customers a chance to buy everyday essentials at low prices. But there may be a few errors you’re making when you shop at this superstore.

Make sure you get the most out of your Sam’s membership without making any costly mistakes.

Editor’s note: Prices are subject to change and may vary by location.

Earn cash back on everyday purchases with this rare account

Want to earn cash back on your everyday purchases without using a credit card? With the Discover®️ Cashback Debit Checking account (member FDIC), you can earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month!1

With no credit check to apply and no monthly fees to worry about, you can earn nearly passive income on purchases you’re making anyway — up to an extra $360 a year!

This rare checking account has other great perks too, like access to your paycheck up to 2 days early with Early Pay, no minimum deposit or monthly balance requirements, over 60K fee-free ATMs, and the ability to add cash to your account at Walmart stores nationwide.

Don’t leave money on the table — it only takes minutes to apply and it won’t impact your credit score.

Apply for a Discover Cashback Checking account today

Making multiple trips per month

Tim/Adobe Sam's Club entrance with pharmacy

You may think just popping in for an item here or there while you’re out isn’t a problem.

Well, if you don't make the most of your trips, this can actually waste even more of your time and money.

A monthly visit to snag everything you need can help you stay on track. It will also ensure that you fill your cart with shopping list essentials instead of getting caught up in all the bulk deals.

Buying too much in bulk

Heorshe/Adobe Sam's Club store in Shenzhen

Speaking of bulk, it’s key to ask yourself if you really need bulk-sized versions of everything in your home.

While it can be cost-effective sometimes, there are many items that may go bad more quickly (like eggs or bread) and don’t need to be bought in bulk for your household.

Consider which items on your shopping list will benefit from a bulk purchase, and which you can buy at other stores.

Not utilizing Sam’s Club brand

Robert/Adobe Sam's Club brand logo

Member’s Mark items give you name-brand quality at a much lower price point.

Many shoppers can save when they swap their name-brand favorites for the Sam’s Club brand. You can find everything from home goods to groceries and more under this brand, and as a result, save even more.

Get a protection plan on all your appliances

Did you know if your air conditioner stops working, your homeowner’s insurance won’t cover it? Same with plumbing, electrical issues, appliances, and more.

Whether or not you’re a new homeowner, a home warranty from Choice Home Warranty could pick up the slack where insurance falls short and protect you against surprise expenses. If a covered system in your home breaks, you can call their hotline 24/7 to get it repaired.

For a limited time, you can get your first month free with a Single Payment home warranty plan.

Get a free quote

Not price checking before

JHVEPhoto/Adobe Sam’s club store Saint Louis

If you really want to stay frugal on your shopping trip, doing your research ahead of time can be helpful.

Sam’s Club makes it easy to check their prices ahead of time through their website, ads, or app. This way, you can budget accordingly for your monthly grocery shopping and not overspend by accident.

Overfilling your pantry and fridge space

John Hanson Pye/Adobe Sam's Club trolley

Ensure that you’re shopping for the space in your house and not overfilling any areas.

This could potentially cause food waste or clutter if you are buying everything in bulk without accounting for your available space. It also helps to clear out your fridge, pantry, or freezer of old items so you can leave room for your new ones.

Not using the app

Timon/Adobe Sam's Club app on smartphone

Pro tip: The Sam’s Club app is a serious time saver you might not be utilizing.

With the app, you can not only find deals ahead of time but also use the Scan & Go feature during your shopping trip.

This lets you skip the checkout line since you scan the items throughout your visit and pay via the app when you’re done.

Buying an upgraded membership

jetcityimage/Adobe Sam's Club Warehouse parking

A regular Sam’s Club membership costs $50 per year, and for many families, that’s enough for their needs.

If you won't use the extra perks, then it’s worth saving that $60 for a normal Club card. The only extras you get with a Plus card that costs $110 per year are free shipping, early shopping, free curbside pickup, and savings at their pharmacy and optical center.

Not taking advantage of sales

jetcityimage/Adobe Sam's Club Warehouse board outdoor

It’s important to keep an eye out on sales and deals before and during your Sam’s Club run.

Some of your everyday items could be marked down, so doing your research ahead of time online can help you seriously save. It’s also worth checking in stores for yellow signs indicating special savings.

Falling prey to samples

jetcityimage/Adobe Sam's club store board outdoor

Picture this: You just tried a tasty sample during your shopping trip, and now you absolutely have to buy the item.

But do you? A busy Sam’s Club experience likely has you a bit famished and ready to snack on anything, and those “free” samples could end up costing you if you buy each one you try.

So be sure to stick to your shopping list or buy just one sample that you know your household will use.

Stop overpaying when you shop online

Shopping online has its perks. It's super convenient, but it can be time consuming to find the best deals. Instead of hunting for coupon codes (that don't always work!) and opening tons of browser tabs comparing prices, you can try Capital One Shopping.

Capital One Shopping makes saving money effortless. Just add the browser extension and when you check out, it'll scour the internet for coupon codes to help you save cash. And before you check out at 25+ major retailers, Capital One Shopping will notify you with a friendly pop-up if the item you're buying is available cheaper somewhere else.

Capital One Shopping is free to use and won't show you ads. Add it today and stop overpaying!2

Get Capital One Shopping now

Not buying exclusive items

JHVEPhoto/Adobe Sam’s club store buffalo

Many bulk stores have similar items in stock, but it’s crucial to buy exclusives so you know you’re getting the best deal.

The Member’s Mark products offer exclusive items, but there are also many other brands you know and love that only sell bulk deals at Sam’s Club.

Be sure to check out which items are only offered at this store to help you save time and money.

Bottom line

Игорь Головнёв/Adobe sam's club logo on tablet

When you keep these tips in mind during your Sam’s Club run, you can save more on everyday essentials and even big-ticket items.

After all, isn’t that what your membership is there for? Be an even more mindful shopper when you follow these frugal tips and tricks.

Lucrative, Flat-Rate Cash Rewards


Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Current Offer

$200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months

Annual Fee


Rewards Rate

Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases

Benefits and Drawbacks
Card Details

Author Details

Ariel Taranski

Ariel Taranski is a writer for FinanceBuzz. She has worked as a content marketer for CPAs and financial advisors, and she enjoys being frugal and money-savvy in her day-to-day life. Ariel has also worked with clients such as The Knot, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Alpha Prime, and many more in her time as a freelance writer.