(Updated 9/29/17) There’s no arguing the fact that warehouse clubs can help you save money on certain items. But your savings comes at a price, namely an annual membership fee that allows you in the door. Costco charges $60 a year, while Walmart owned Sam’s Club charges $15 less at $45 annually.
So this begs the question, which club will save you more money on the items on your shopping list? To help answer this question, below is a handy price breakdown of nine popular items at both places so you can decide which club will help you save the most.
HDTV’s (Winner: Sam’s Club)
When it comes to name-brand HDTV’s, Sam’s Club is typically 10-20% cheaper than Costco. Examples of this savings include the Samsung 40” Smart LCD TV, you’ll find it for $280 at Sam’s and the same exact model will cost you $349.99 at Costco.
You’ll also find similar savings on more expensive models like the Vizio 58” 4K; $828 at Sam’s and $999.99 at Costco. The bottom-line is that when comparing prices, always check out the prices at Sam’s. I was actually unable to find any HDTV cheaper at Costco compared to Sam’s Club.
Diapers (Winner: Mixed Bag)
When it comes to name brand diapers, you’ll save more at Costco.
Specifically, Huggies “Little Movers, Size 3” comes out to $0.21 per diaper at Costco, while you’ll pay $0.24 each for a similar sized box at Sam’s. Three cents less per diaper might not seem like much, but it’s significant savings over the course of an entire year.
But when shopping the store brand, Sam’s Member’s Mark, easily beats Costco’s Kirkland brand in price. Sticking with the size-3 example, you can get a 252 count box at Sam’s for $34.94 ($0.14 ea.) while you’ll pay almost $0.20 per diaper for Costco’s store brand.
Toilet Paper (Winner: Sam’s Club)
You’ll clearly save more money on toilet paper with a Sam’s Club membership. For example, at Sam’s you can get a 30-ct package of Quilted Northern Ultra Plush for $0.66 per roll, while you’ll pay $0.83 per roll for the same product at Costco.
Even when comparing the store brands of both warehouse clubs, Sam’s wins fairly easily with a per roll cost of $0.40. The Costco Kirkland brand is only slightly cheaper than the premium Quilted Northern brand at $0.77 per roll.
Frozen Chicken Breasts (Winner: Sam’s Club)
Both warehouse clubs carry their own line of frozen chicken breasts and the Sam’s Club brand, Daily Chef, easily under-cuts the Kirkland brand in price.
Daily Chef Chicken comes in a 6-pound bag and costs $11.98 ($2.00/lb), while the Kirkland bag weighs 6.5 pounds and sells for $17.99 ($2.77/lb).
If you’re like my family, and stock up on frozen chicken breasts and store them in the freezer, Sam’s will save you significant money over the course of a year.
Tissues/Kleenex (Winner: Sam’s Club)
When comparing the generic brand of facial tissues at both stores, Sam’s Club came in at over 50% cheaper per tissue. The Sam’s brand, Member’s Mark, sells in a package of 12 separate boxes (169-ct each) and retails for $11.98.
Costco Kirkland, on the other hand, also sells a package of 12 boxes (only 90-ct each), but sells for a whopping $18.99. Both products are 2-ply tissues, but one is a lot more expensive than the other. In this case, shop at Sam’s and save big on tissues.
Shredded Cheese (Winner: Sam’s Club)
Both clubs sell their store-branded shredded cheese in five pound bags. Costco Kirkland sells for $15.79 per bag, while Sam’s Member’s Mark sells for 6% less at $14.57.
Not a huge price difference, but if you’re buying for a large family, and go through a bag per month, that’s a savings of close to $15 over the course of a year.
Disinfecting Wipes (Winner: Costco)
So by purchasing Lysol wipes from Costco, you’re essentially getting 50% more wipes for an extra $2.
Pain Reliever (Winner: Sam’s Club…Barely)
While the price of Advil pain reliever is very similar at both warehouse clubs, Sam’s wins this challenge based on their low-price of the popular Aleve Liquid Gels.
Also, staying with the liquid-gel theme, Sam’s sells Advil Liqui-Gel for 15% less than Costco too.
Wearable Technology (Winner: Costco)
The current gold-standard, in terms of wearable technology, is the Fitbit Charge HR Activity Tracker Bundle and it’s significantly cheaper at Costco. Specifically, you can get it for $138.69, compared to $149.88 at Sam’s Club.
The low Costco price is actually the cheapest I could currently find anywhere; worth keeping in mind as we head towards Christmas.
Interestingly, Sam’s Club won the majority of my pricing challenges making their $45 membership fee a smart buy for many shoppers.
In most cases, the same can also be said for a Costco membership as it will also easily pay for itself over the course of a year, especially if you’re accustomed to buying in bulk.
Ask the Reader: If you’re deciding which warehouse club to join, do any of the above products sway your thinking one way or another?
By Kyle James
Photo credit to Walmart.