Do the savings at BJ’s Wholesale Club justify the cost of membership? The big box wholesale club concept has been around for over 20 years and the debate about the benefits of membership continues. With a $50 annual fee for the “In circle” membership, the only real test to determine if the cost of membership is justified is whether there is a savings of at least $50 over the course of the year. If membership doesn’t save an amount equal to or greater than the cost of membership, then it isn’t worth the cost. For those who can save more than $50 shopping at BJ’s, then the cost is worth it. For those who buy strategically and regularly, the savings can easily total hundreds of dollars annually.
Saving money with bulk buys and the BJ’s brand
To make the most of a BJ’s membership, one key way to save money is to buy in bulk if you have the ability to store the items bought. Prime examples of bulk purchases that can save money are paper goods such as paper towels, facial tissue, napkins and bath tissue. Other items used about the house include washing detergent that is sold in large containers for much less than most local grocery stores. At the same time, while it isn’t the best for America’s waist line, BJ’s also sells large boxes of various cookies and snacks for far less than grocery stores, and it is even possible to buy a multi-pack of prepackaged cookies or snacks for about one-third what the same cookie would cost at the corner store.
Another area where consumers can save a lot of dollars is the use of the BJ’s brand. BJ’s offers many brands such as coffee, nuts, spices, vanilla extract and a host of other items that can greatly reduce the long-term spending of a smart consumer if they are willing to pay the upfront cost of buying in bulk. For those items where BJ’s doesn’t offer a brand, the store is able to offer large packages of various food materials in regular sized cans so that the recipes will work out correctly.
Use BJ’s for lunchtime savings
Another area where a BJ’s shopper can make the most of membership is at the Deli. The savings of packing your own lunch is well known and since BJ’s Deli charges about a $1.00 a pound less for most meats, buying a pound or more of deli meat for each week’s lunch can save over $50 over the course of the year and if there are several people in the same household the savings add up quickly. Other lunch time items, such as a low-carbohydrate deli wrap to use with the deli meat purchased is half the cost of an identical item in the local store.
Coupons and automotive
As well priced as many items are in relation to the price in local stores, BJ’s also sends out a monthly coupon book that often contains as much as $100 in coupons that are valid only at BJ’s. While it is doubtful that anyone would routinely use most of the coupons, even casual use can result in savings that are many times the annual membership costs.
Another prime example of making good use of a BJ’s membership is the automotive section when it comes to replacing tires or brakes. As a general rule, BJ’s tires will beat the price of almost every other dealer and BJ’s often runs specials or has coupons available that lower the cost further. Their brake service, under the Monroe franchise, is also very favorably priced and carries a nationwide warranty.
Making the most of a BJ’s membership requires smart shopping on the part of the consumer. Being aware of the competitors pricing and being flexible enough to vary brands can result in significant savings. At the same time, if the buyer can’t store or use the extra large purchases then the benefits will not be as rewarding. The smart consumer will match the opportunities that BJ’s offers with their own consumption needs and storage capabilities, and make the most of a membership fee that enables a typical family to save hundreds of dollars a year.