If you shop at Sam's Club, you're likely someone who knows how to score the best deals. These warehouse clubs are similar to Costco Wholesale stores, where you can buy quality products in bulk for lower prices. Depending on how long you've been a member, you might consider yourself a Sam's Club aficionado. But even diehard fans probably aren't aware of certain things the warehouse club doesn't want you to know. Read on to find out six secrets Sam's Club has been keeping from you.
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They won't let you use coupons, but there other deals to hold out for.
Bargain shoppers beware—if you head to Sam's Club hoping to cash in your coupons, you'll be disappointed, as the retailer doesn't accept them.
According to Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with DealNews.com, although Costco has a similar policy, you can still expect to see sales and additional discounts when you're shopping there. But while you may be disappointed to learn about Sam's Club's coupon policy, it could actually be a blessing in disguise.
"The fact that they don't accept coupons may make the process easier, as you don't have to worry about showing them for redemption," Ramhold says. "Instead, you can just confidently shop the promotions to get the best prices."
That being said, you could wait to shop the Instant Savings, which occur once a month and mean special offers and deeper discounts. "This means it's a good time to stock up on your favorites, but also to try new things," Ramhold says, adding that sometimes stores replace these events with a Special Savings week. When those come around, it's a good time to purchase bigger-ticket tech items.
You can use Walmart gift cards.
You probably know that Sam's Club is a subsidiary of Walmart, but what you may not have realized is that Sam's Club will accept any Walmart gift cards burning a hole in your wallet.
"Walmart and Sam's Club gift cards are interchangeable," Ramhold says. "So if you have some from Walmart laying around, use them for your next Sam's Club trip!"
Ramhold does offer a word of caution about unit pricing between Sam's Club and Walmart, which is often very similar—if not identical. "In these cases the only real upside to Sam's Club is that you're buying a larger quantity," she says. "If you already have a membership, that's fine, but if you're planning to get a membership solely because you think the prices are better at Sam's Club, then you might want to reconsider."
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You don't have to wait in the checkout line.
Waiting in line for groceries can be a pain, but Sam's Club actually allows members to skip this step with an app. "Thanks to the Sam's Club app offering Scan&Go, you can, well, scan products as you go," Ramhold says. Once your cart is full, you can check out directly on the app and show your digital receipt when you're leaving.
"This is a huge perk for Sam's Club shoppers and one that Costco shoppers desperately wish would be implemented," Ramhold adds.
You'll likely find better deals in-store than online.
For those who prefer to shop at brick-and-mortar locations, you'll be happy to learn that it's probably the best place to find deals at Sam's Club. According to Ramhold, markdowns are often better in-store than they are when you're shopping virtually.
"Shopping online means having to worry about shipping, so the markdowns there may not be as good as what you'll find in-store, where you can purchase an item and immediately take it home," she says. "If there's something you're eyeing, be sure to check your local club to see if it has a better price."
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There are ways around the membership.
Warehouse clubs require a membership, but you may be able to find another way in. Sam's Club used to offer 24-hour Guest Memberships, allowing you to register and shop in-store. At checkout, purchases were hit with a 10 percent non-member fee. This perk is no longer available, according to the Sam's Club website, but thanks to new partnerships, there's a workaround.
Prefer to shop from your couch? You're in luck. You don't need a membership to shop and place an order via Instacart—but you will see higher prices on the platform, Slickdeals reports. If you feel like the escalated prices are worth it, just keep in mind that they might end up costing you more than the $45 Sam's Club charges for a basic membership.
And if you're only looking for certain items, you don't need a membership at all.
If you're looking to fill a prescription at Sam's Club, you can bypass the membership requirement enitrely. The warehouse club confirmed this on their website: "For pharmaceuticals with a script, there is no fee for non-members."
Looking to pick up liquor or a quick snack from the café? Those don't require a membership either. You can also take advantage of the retailer's photo center, if you need your pictures developed in a pinch.
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