Dave Ramsey says this is the “biggest problem most people run into” at Costco or Sam’s Club

A person shopping in the freezer aisle with a cart full of groceries.

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Don’t shop at Sam’s or Costco without reading Ramsey’s warning.


Key points

  • Stores like Costco and Sam’s Club can save you money by allowing you to buy in bulk at a discount.
  • Sometimes, however, membership in these warehouse clubs can cost you.
  • Finance expert Dave Ramsey warns of the biggest problem many members of the warehouse club run into: overbuying.

Joining Costco or Sam’s Club might seem like a great idea if you’re trying to keep your credit card your bills by spending less on groceries. These warehouse clubs offer discounted bulk purchases as well as private label products that can be great value.

But while you may want to join one of these members-only clubs if you can cut your spending by switching to shopping there, it’s important not to make mistakes that end up costing you dearly.

Finance expert Dave Ramsey warns of a common mistake that many people find in these types of stores.

Don’t Make This Mistake Dave Ramsey Warns About

Ramsey is generally a fan of wholesale clubs, even stating that he and his wife are members of Costco and Sam’s Club. However, he believes there is a potential pitfall when buying from them, and it’s one many members run into.

“The biggest problem most people run into with wholesale clubs is over-buying,” Ramsey said. “A lot of people think that over-buying isn’t a big deal, especially if it’s something that only happens by mistake from time to time. But the truth is, it’s very dangerous.”

Ramsey believes that overbuying can be a big mistake because you could end up wasting money on items you don’t ultimately use. He gave the example of buying a very large jar of mustard that you don’t use before it goes bad, but this could happen with a wide variety of different products.

In fact, you could end up spending too much at warehouse clubs by not only buying too much of an item and seeing it go bad, but also buying on impulse and buying things you don’t need because you’re drawn to store displays, samples, and a promised bargain.

How to avoid falling into the overbought trap?

Ramsey is absolutely right that overbuying is a huge risk of warehouse club membership. Many people overspend because they feel they need to justify their membership, while others do so because they don’t have a realistic idea of ​​how much of a particular product they’ll end up using.

The good news is that you can avoid this common problem to get the benefits of warehouse club membership without the drawbacks. There are a few ways to do it:

  • Track your family’s spending habits before you go shopping. Pay attention to how much of a particular item you use over time. If you consume a regular-size ketchup every few months, for example, buying an industrial-size bottle probably isn’t the best option.
  • Shop with a list. You’ll be less likely to buy random items because they look like a bargain if you have a plan of what you’ll buy before you go to the store.
  • Split bulk purchases with friends or family: Some of the best deals come from buying large quantities of items. So see if you can partner with your loved ones to split the cost and each take home the amount they need.

By following these tips, you’re less likely to end up making the mistake Ramsey warns about. This will ensure that his membership in the warehouse club ends up helping you financially instead of hurting you.

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