Don’t Make These 11 Sam’s Club Shopping Mistakes

Even Sam’s Club pros are going to want to read on.



Sam's Club gurus know the backstory, but Sam Walton (yes, the Sam Walton of Walmart) opened up the first Sam’s Wholesale Club in 1983, and now, they have more than 600 stores nationwide and millions of members. They offer two yearly membership options. The first is Club, which costs $50 per year, and the second is Plus, which costs $110 per year. Club membership gives you access to stores and monthly savings, but Plus has the added benefits of more add-on members, free curbside pickup, and more.

Many of us have allegiances to different wholesale clubs– but whether you’re a Costco, BJ’s, or Sam’s Club shopper, you want to make sure you’re making the most out of your shopping trip. So read out to find out how to avoid the most common mistakes.

You’re Not Looking at the Instant Savings

Sam’s Club notoriously does not accept coupons, but that’s because it has its own way of doling out savings, and that’s through its Instant Savings program, which you can grab in booklet form at a Sam’s Club, or on or on the app. You can flip or scroll through dozens of limited-time promotions, and when you buy the items listed, that discount will automatically be reflected in the price. No need to save pages or do anything else.

You Don’t Shop Early

There are two tiers of membership, Club and Plus. Sam’s Club Plus members are able to shop before the store opens to regular Club members, which is extra-helpful around the holidays when the store gets packed and can run out of things more quickly. Check your local Sam’s Club to see exact hours, but most will allow Plus members to start shopping at 8:00 a.m., one to two full hours before the club officially opens at 10 a.m.

You’re Not Taking Advantage of Free Shipping

If you don’t have a Sam’s Club within five minutes of your house, that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of their deals and Member’s Mark products. Plus members get free shipping on most items and Club members can get a limited assortment of items shipped for free. So even if you live nearby but don’t feel like hauling heavy cat litter or a plethora of paper towels home, this could be a real energy saver for you.

You’re Walking Past the Jewelry Section

Jewelry may not be the first thing to come to mind when you think about Sam’s Club, but do yourself a favor and stop by the case. It carries a huge variety of items, including watches. tennis bracelets, and even engagement rings! And most of these items, including fine jewelry, come at lower prices than you’d see at your typical jewelry store. Whether you’re shopping for yourself or for others at holiday time, you’ll definitely want to check out the selection here. Another bonus? These bigger purchases may still qualify for for Sam’s Cash, a rewards program that offers loyal shoppers cash back on purchases.

You’re Not Using Scan and Go

This is like self-checkout but 10 times better! You can avoid checkout altogether when you use this cool feature on the Sam’s Club app and save an additional 10% on marked items. To start, download the Sam’s Club app on your phone, then as you shop, you can scan each item as you put it in your cart. When you’re done, pay on the app and show your digital receipt on the way out. That’s it. You can even pay for the cafe using this function or scan and have larger items shipped.

You’re Not Using Your Walmart Gift Cards

Yes, you can use Sam’s Club and Walmart gift cards interchangeably. So, if you’ve received a Walmart gift card and aren’t planning on using it, you can take it to Sam’s Club and use it there! The only catch is that you need to be a Sam’s Club member in order to use it.

You’re Not Analyzing the Price Tags

When you’re in store, look out for items that end in one cent, like $12.41. That penny means the item is being discontinued, so this is the lowest price you’re going to get, and if you wait around, you might miss the product altogether. Bottom line: If you're interested in an item and you see that .01 at the end, you can feel confident it’s a good deal.

You’re Not Shopping Member’s Mark Products

Sam’s Club’s in-house brand is called Member’s Mark, and it has tons of great products ranging from food to paper goods to beach floats (really). The rotisserie chicken is less than $5, and the Milk Chocolate Popcorn Clusters are simply <<chef’s kiss>>.

You’re Missing Out on Cheap Gift Cards

Sam’s Club sells gift cards for third-party stores, restaurants, and even airlines. Many times you can pay less for the gift card than the actual value of it, which is pretty darn incredible. For example, they’re currently selling $75 to Famous Dave’s for $56.25 and $100 to Xbox for $89.98. Buy them for yourself to use at these places and you’re automatically saving money.

You’re Breezing Past Beauty Buys

Again, you may not be thinking of Sam’s Club when you’re looking to pick up some new skincare products or makeup, but Sam’s Club will sometimes have some incredible brands for a whole lot less. In the past, they’ve carried Drunk Elephant, Charlotte Tilbury, Tatcha, La Mer, Fenty and more. Should I keep going? Yes? They also have items from Kiehls, Shiseido, Stila, and Oribe. OK, now I’m done.

You’re Not Looking for Dupes

Sam’s Club has a whole bunch of products that are cheaper duplicates of trendy pieces you’d buy at pricier retailers. Googling “Sam’s Club Dupes” alone will provide you with tons of options, but my favorite is the Member’s Mark Weekender Travel Bag, which costs $50 but looks just like the coveted $106 Beis bag. And, I can say from first-hand experience, it’s indestructible and going to gain you tons of compliments.

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