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Warehouse Membership- Worth it?

December 30, 2008

Amish Parking At Costco, originally uploaded by avramc.

J. and I never really thought much about getting a warehouse membership because we don’t tend to need things in such large quantities. But now that we are focusing more on stocking the basics, cooking more, and stockpiling a bit it doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. Whole Foods offers thing in bulk bins but the prices aren’t that great so when J.’s mom offered us a Costco membership as a Christmas gift we decided to try it out.

We have a couple within 20 miles, and while that may seem far to go we will only use it every month or so. In which case I don’t think it’s that bad and I haven’t found anything closer. I wish we had checked out the Costco when we were in Lancaster, I think it would focus more on the items we were looking for. We ended up going to the one in King of Prussia and it was a bit small. Crazy to say that in relation to a warehouse store, I guess what I really mean was the selection was limited. I had visions of 7th Generation toilet paper in bulk but was sadly disappointed. I didn’t see any 7th Generation products but they offer some organic foods including cases of tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes. Since we didn’t can anything this year they were a great find. We also picked up eggs, rice, vegetable oil, cereal, sugar, and some socks. They had organic produce but I prefer to buy that local. I wanted to pick up flour but the only 25lb bag was torn and I don’t really need 50 lbs right now. The in-laws also picked up an Aerobed and mattress pad.

I realize that warehouse stores don’t offer many green options but but larger packaging (I think) adds up to less overall. It also means I go to the store less which means driving less. The temptation is in buying stuff you don’t need because of it’s there. We tried to behave but doing so meant we just avoided half of the store.

I was torn about the bed. It seems the most efficient bed for guests is an inflatable air mattress but I’ve never had one last more than a year and they seem to develop a slow leak after the first use. We could get a guest bed but it seems like a waste of space for something that would be used one or twice a year. I thought about a feather bed or perhaps one of those foam mattress pads but our parents are older and I think that would be to low to the ground. A fold out couch would have been an option when we bought our couch but it’s too late now and I don’t think it would fit folded out in our living room anyway.

What do you do for overnight guests? Have you found the warehouse membership to be worthwhile or do you end up with too many impulse buys?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 30, 2008 12:59 pm

    We have a Sam’s Club membership and we buy a lot of stuff for our business (tapes, batteries etc.) and it saves a lot of money on those items. Ours carries some organic produce, spinach, salads, apples occationally, and milk, but I prefer to buy those locally or from a small local health food store (even though they’re more expensive). I have found that the more we try to eat non-processed foods the less we buy at the warehouse store. We’ll probably always have a membership for our business, but we don’t buy much food stuff there anymore.

    I buy my 7th Generation TP in bulk from amazon. I have a subscription, so they send me a 48 roll box every 3 months. It’s such a great price from them, the same price as regular TP.

    We also have an air mattress for guests. We have an Eddie Bauer one we bought at Target many years ago. We have gotten so many uses out of it and it’s still going strong. Some day we’ll have a guest room with a proper mattress (when we buy a new green one for ourselves) but till then the air mattress on the office floor is it.

  2. December 31, 2008 7:08 am

    Been reading for awhile and haven’t commented until now. But you asked for input! 🙂

    My family has had a Costco membership for years. Since we are a large family, it makes sense to buy bulk (tp, canned tomatoes, coffee). The cost of $50 per year probably saves very little but the convenience of having it bulk is worth it. Now that we live almost an hour away, we might not renew our membership. But . . . .things like tires are worth the membership cost and the trip.

    Having guests. (I think I’ll post this one on my blog)

    Years ago we started having all our house guests (and their children if they had them) take OUR room as a guest room. Since the Master was bigger than the rest of the bedrooms, it was large enough for everyone to fit. We put the children on the floor with the air bed.

    The advantage of having guests in YOUR room is that it is usually prettier than normal (makes it like a hotel stay), There is usually a bathroom attached (people who are staying hate to be in public until they are dressed and ready to be seen) and it makes a quite place they can retreat to if they want to be away from the common areas. For example, if they are sleeping on a sofa bed and others want to watch TV in the same room!

    It seems to be a big shift from letting people use your room, but once you do it, the benefits outweigh the costs. And besides, when they leave your home, they feel like you have treated them like KINGS AND QUEENS. I still have people tell me they can’t believe I let them use MY room.

    As a side note, a friend just visited me a few weeks ago and I showed him to his room. He asked if it was my room and I told him that it was the guest room. He probably did not want to make me feel put out. After he returned home, in a phone conversation he asked if I had let him sleep in my room. I told him all the benefits of doing what I did, and he agreed that it was a god thing. All this to say tell them it’s the “guest room”. Even though it is YOUR room all the other times. 🙂

  3. December 31, 2008 7:14 am

    I don’t have a membership to a bulk store; we don’t buy anything in large enough quantities to make it worthwhile. That could change in the future, but for now that’s how it is.

    We’ve got a spare bed, but also an air mattress. (Sometimes we have more guests than the spare bed can handle.) The air mattress has been great for us and we’ve even lent it out to friends a couple of times. I went with a more expensive one at Target (it sounds like it might be the same one Susy has, in fact), and the price made me a little queasy at the time, but it’s been a good purchase.

  4. jacquelyn permalink
    December 31, 2008 10:03 pm

    We used to have a Sam’s Club membership that my mom got us out of annoyance—she knows I loathe Wal-Mart and they own Sam’s Club. We used it a bit but not nearly as much as the Costco membership we have. The one advantage to Sam’s Club is you can use MasterCard in store and at the gas pumps.

    That being said we go to Costco about once a month, usually when they have the coupons they send in the mail. We try to stock up on items and I found that the membership was really helpful when we needed new tires for both our vehicles. We used a coupon they sent and actually felt as though we saved money.

    I would miss it if we let our membership lapse. Sometimes they have really neat things there.

  5. Lisette permalink
    January 2, 2009 3:47 pm

    Enjoying your blog 🙂

    We don’t have a Costco in Melbourne, but I believe one is coming. I will certainly consider it, I’m just not sure where I’d put all the stuff. I think I’ll also need to get a grip on menu planning, or I can just see things sitting in the back of the pantry forever like they sometimes do already *sigh*

    As for the guest situation, we have a self-inflating queen sized mattress that has foam inside of it. It is much more comfortable than a regular air-bed, and even if it got a puncture, it would not deflate, just perhaps not be quite so inflated. This I know because once I slept on it with the air intake holes left open!!

    Costs a bit more to start with and is a little bigger to store (although still fits under a bed when rolled up), but it is as comfortable as a real bed. Definitely worth knowing my guests aren’t pretending they have slept well when the bags under their eyes are giving them away LOL

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