Which Seriously Saves You Money, Costco Or Sam’s Club?

Wednesday, April 20th 2016, 11:27 pm
By: Craig Day

Costco will open its first store in Oklahoma on Thursday. The store is located near 101st and Memorial in Tulsa.

Sam's Club has four area locations, and we wanted to know which store will save you more money.

We took a 200-mile trip to the grocery store, or in this case to the Costco warehouse in Wichita, Kansas - it's the closest Costco to Tulsa and is very similar to the new store.

Shopper Don Knipp said, "Tulsans can expect a very friendly service staff, and lots and lots of variety of things that they can expect."

The new Costco will be 148,000 square feet and will offer brand-name as well as private label merchandise. Plus there are plenty of specialty departments.

"The prices is good, it's nice and a large variety, I like the samples," said shopper Laura Knipp.

Everybody likes samples; but when you check out, who will save you more - Costco or Sam's Club?

Shoppers Don and Laura like both.

"Prices are reasonable in comparison to their competitor, Sam's. We think they're pretty much along the same line as far as the cost," Laura said.

So, we visited the Costco and a Sam's store in Wichita to compare prices.

We avoided electronics since technology changes so fast, and we didn't look at private label brands since they can vary so much. And no big ticket items, our shopping list included everyday items that families buy often - from detergent to dog food and colas to coffee.

First on our list was three 44-ounce bottles of ketchup. Costco saves you 79 cents - $6.89 to $7. 68 at Sam’s; but what you save at Costco on ketchup, you'll pay for on mustard. Two 30-ounce bottles of mustard are $6.99 at Costco, but $2.01 cheaper at Sam’s.

Or, if you prefer Hidden Valley Ranch dressing, the price is exactly the same at both stores; and it's also the same per ounce for Jif creamy peanut butter.

You'll save one penny at Sam's on Folger's Classic Roast Coffee and TIDE High-Efficiency detergent.

Costco will have you cheering about Cheerios, at least to the tune of nine cents less than Sam's Club - $5.69 to $5.78.

And a 55-pound bag of Pedigree dog food is .28 cents less at Costco - $22.69 to $22.97.

We checked the prices of both Coke and Pepsi. Costco is 33 cents cheaper for 36 cans of Coke, and Pepsi is 19 cents cheaper at Costco for a 36 pack.

We did find a big price difference on a 30-roll pack of Charmin Ultra Soft toilet paper. Sam's is cheaper - Charmin would squeeze $2.01 more from your wallet if you buy it at Costco.

So, if you add all that up, our unscientific price check shows Sam's Club would save you a grand total of $2.36 on about a $130 grocery bill, at least on the ten items we checked.

Costco Memberships are $55 dollars a year, or $110. Sam's Club is $45 dollars or $100. Consumer Reports says those membership costs at both are worth it.

We also checked some money saving sites to see what they say you should or should not buy at warehouse stores.

MoneyTalksNews and Nerdwallet say buy books and DVDs online, instead; and that local grocery stores have better deals on canned goods.

Also, perishable food, including condiments like ketchup and mayo, which could pass expiration dates and you end up throwing half away.

They say you should buy appliances, most food - including meats - gift cards and prescription and over the counter drugs.