I mentioned previously that we do most of grocery shopping at Aldi. This is certainly true, but another way we help our grocery budget out is by shopping at Sam's Club.
This will not help everyone.
I'm just going to get that out of the way. Membership is $45/year. That is factored in when I say we save money at Sam's Club. I bake a lot and we make our own bread. We find our saving at Sam's Club from buying All Purpose Flour, Bread Flour, Sugar (& Rice) there. We drove to Sam's for those savings, but there are additional, smaller savings as well. Things you might not drive out of your way for, but are worth picking up if you are there. Milk and block cheese are our two regular little savers from Sam's. Now that there is a Sam's one minute off my husband's commute home, it makes sense for us to always get those items there, but we don't calculate those savings in when we're trying to see if it's worth it to us to renew our membership.
Know your prices, though. Sam's has great deals on some things, but other things are actually cheaper elsewhere. Another thing I love about Sam's is their "discount" section. Every Sam's has one, though in some you have to search for it. Basically, this is a place where damaged or discontinued return items or floor models are put at a discounted rate. We have scored some awesome deals by checking this section every time we go. The selection is always changing, so it's definitely worth the couple seconds to run by and see what's new.
Another Sam's money saving tip? Sam's has seasonal items. Keep your eye on the price and you'll usually see it drop. Your signal that the price is (probably) not going to drop further? The price will be $xx.x1 See the 1 at the end? That's your signal.
I don't often buy women's or kids clothes at Sams, as I can find good used clothes cheaper. But for men? It's really hard to find good used clothes. We've been able to get several pairs of name brand slacks and shorts for my husband at a good price at Sams. Not a reason we keep our membership there, but a nice side benefit.
Another nice side benefit? Being able to affordably eat out! Sams has a place where you can order hot dogs, pizza, hot pretzels, and a couple other things in store. Nothing cost more than $2, so our little family eating out for around $6 is a treat. We can't afford to eat out often, and at most (even fast food places) we'd spend that much on one person. Hooray for Sam's Club's eatery!
Caveat: I have not been to other membership clubs and don't know how price & selection vary. My parent's have a BJ's membership. Sam's has bread flour, BJ's doesn't. Right now, that's the reason we are at Sams and not elsewhere. Do your research.
Sam's has a non-members-get-in-free day every year, other membership clubs may as well. It may be that what you need you can get what you need on that day and not have to buy a membership! Or if you literally only need a thing or two, ask a friend with a membership if you can go with her one day. Every member is allowed to get one non-member in for free each visit.
Plus, if you sign up for membership online through my referral link, we'll both get a $10 gift card! This cannot be used for membership, but can be used in store or online. Sweet!