How Much Is A Sam's Club Membership?

There's no question that a Sam's Club membership can save you money, but you have to consider whether the benefits make sense for your lifestyle. To help you decide, we took a look into what the card costs, what it provides, and who stands to benefit most from the savings they promote. 

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the food chain took one of the first and hardest hits. Many of the people responsible for growing, preserving, preparing, and packaging our foods became indisposed, hospitalized, and worse, and the lockdowns, adding on, resulted in food shortages and price hikes, according to KFF. But now that the pandemic appears to be easing, those prices remain the same, causing consumers to respond creatively. While some cut their monthly costs entirely, others found new ways to generate income. But if you're looking to stretch your food dollar, you owe it to yourself to investigate box stores that offer membership. And if you're willing to part with just $45 a year for a Sam's Club card, the savings can be substantial.

Places like Costco and Sam's Club can be great money savers for families on a budget. But you have to make sure that the benefits they provide — including cheaper food sold in bulk — work for you. It's great to save money on shredded wheat, for example. But do you need 50 pounds of cereal if you're a family of three?

What a Sam's Club Card offers

As a wholesale retailer, Sam's Club offers its members discounts on various products, including groceries, household items, fuel, and electronics. While the store is similar to Costco, which is publicly traded, Sam's Club is, in fact, a subsidiary of Walmart. The first store opened in Oklahoma's Midwest City in 1983; there are about 600 outlets in various locations across the U.S. But Investopedia says that, as of November 2021, there are no stores in Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. There are, however, more than 80 stores in Texas alone.

When you join, you can select from one of two membership levels. The first is the basic $45 Club option, which gives you special access to all their locations for a year, curbside pickup service, entry to their tire and battery center, and the privilege of adding additional cards. Or you can take the premiere level route, at $100, which offers all the benefits of the basic tier and other services. These include their pharmacy and optical boutique, access to the store before other patrons can enter, free shipping, and other perks like a 2% cash back policy on an assortment of transactions. 

Should you get a Sam's Club card?

Since stores like Sam's Club and Costco have become synonymous with buying in bulk, consumers sometimes forget that the biggest savings are not always scoring enough toilet tissue to last a lifetime.

For instance, consider the cost of fuel, which only seems to increase over time. The $45 annual fee is something you can make back in a few visits with the savings you'll get from a Sam's Club card. Ask the bargain hunters at Mom Deals, and they'll tell you that frequent visits to the store yield greater benefits, especially since you'll be saving between 10% and 20% on gas prices. Even though that's usually the case, Mom Deals cautions that Sam's Club might not always be the least expensive fuel you'll find, even with those discounts. They recommend using an app that compares gas prices in your area — they're particularly fond of Gasbuddy.

Sam's Club also offers "scan & go" shopping, a self-service that allows you to scan your items, pay through the phone, and leave when you're done. You can also shop at Sam's Club Online, which gives you 24/7 access to products and allows you to check out without creating an account. Beyond that, the platform regularly runs promotions for your benefit. 

Sam's Club Card hacks

Whether a Sam's Club membership is worth the expense has everything to do with you and your finances. For some — especially those on a fixed income — it can help stretch each dollar, but others may find that they provide savings on items they do not require. For example, take the pharmacy; you can save substantially on prescribed and over-the-counter drugs. You can also purchase medication for your pets at a discounted or low price. But if you're healthy and don't have any pets, you may not find a Sam's Club membership worth the hassle. 

Sure, you can buy snacks and cereal, and deserts in bulk. But once again, if you don't have that many mouths to feed, you may feel overwhelmed or like you're wasting food since these items are essentially perishable goods, according to U.S. News & World Reports. Even non-perishable items such as sunscreen lose potency over time, so it's essential to be on top of the best before dates. Sam's Club has relaunched nearly 300 store items for its members, selling them under the banner of Member's Mark. The bottom line is simple: To determine if you need a Sam's Club card, consider how you live, spend your money, and your needs.