🔒 Getting a deal on Sam’s Club, Costco memberships: This is how to save big as you commit to bulk buying in Houston

Costco carts shown in this undated image (Pixabay.com/tokaijiru, Pixabay.com/tokaijiru)

HOUSTON – Are you ready to commit?

We’re not talking about relationships or marriage or anything like that. We’re talking about Sam’s Club and Costco memberships that, while not on-par with relationships or marriage, do also have a great impact on your financial life.

If you’re ready to pull out that credit or debit card and plunk down the cash on the promise to save, we’ve got a refreshing fact for you: It’s a lot easier right now because the mega retailers of big, big products are offering great limited-time deals.

Here’s how you can make the most of them.

Sam’s Club

  • Sam’s Club is offering a de facto free 1-year membership right now. Here’s how it works: You get $45 off an in-store purchase of $45 or more. The transaction must be at one time and in a physical store on a register. The offer is valid for 60 days. A membership costs $45 for a year, so that means membership is essentially free if you jump through the qualifying purchases hoop. Act fast because memberships are going up in price -- and soon.
    • Here are the official terms if you’re interested: “Join as a new Sam’s Club for $45 and receive an Instant Savings offer for $45 off $45 or more of qualifying purchases on one transaction within first 60 days of membership. Plus Membership excluded from offer. Must present this offer physically or digitally to receive this offer. This offer is limited and may be terminated or changed at any time. You must be 18 years or older to purchase a membership, and membership is subject to qualifications. Membership cards are non-transferable and are valid at all Sam’s Club locations nationwide. Walmart® and Sam’s Club associates are not eligible for this offer. Primary memberships are valid for one year from date of issue. Visit SamsClub.com/Privacy to view our privacy policy Auto-Renew: By accepting this offer, you agree to the terms and authorize annual recurring charges to any card on file for your Sam’s Club membership fee and any add-on memberships, as well as any applicable taxes at then-current rate for your membership level every year until you cancel. For terms or to turn off auto-renew at any time visit any club location, call 888-746-7726 or sign in to SamsClub.com and go to Auto-renew settings in Your account. Subject to complete terms. The $45 offer Instant Savings offer will be loaded onto new membership account within 72 hours of membership activation and is valid for 60 days thereafter. Offer must be redeemed in a club location on a register. Offer cannot be used on SamsClub.com, with Scan & Go checkout or with Curbside Pickup. Purchases of alcoholic beverages, tobacco, milk, fuel, pharmacy, gift cards, memberships or shipping costs are not included in this offer. Other restrictions may apply based upon local laws and regulations. Return value of merchandise purchased with this offer will be subject to pro-rated adjustment. Instant Savings offers are subject to availability and are valid in U.S. clubs with a U.S. membership, excluding Puerto Rico. Prices shown are pre-tax amounts. State and local laws may require sales tax to be charged on the pre-discounted price. No money will be returned to the member if the price of the item falls below zero after applying Instant Savings discount. Visit SamsClub.com/TermsAndConditions or see a Club Associate for additional details. *Offer Valid February 1, 2022, through September 11, 2022.”
  • Another option to consider is a 1-year membership for $24.99. The same membership normally costs $55 a year, KTLA notes.
  • Another membership opportunity is a flyer you get in the mail like this one. It’s a good deal on the Plus membership and even better if you sign up for the credit card at the same time, which gives an enhanced percentage back if you have the Plus membership.
A mailer from Sam's Club circulated in August 2022. (Copyright 2022 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

If you’re about to click “purchase,” consider:

  • Sam’s Club is really into auto-renewal. In a year, you’ll be re-enrolled automatically at the full price unless you cancel. If you want to cancel, this is what Sam’s Club says about that: “Members may cancel their Membership at any time in Clubs or by calling 1-888-746-7726. Members may cancel enrollment in the Auto-renew Program at any time in Clubs, by calling 1-888-746-7726, or online through their account. Members with a Sam’s Club Credit Account who are automatically billed for Membership renewal via that Account may also be required to contact the card issuer to unenroll from the automatic billing program.” Here’s more information.
  • Offers -- like the first one above -- are valid for a large chunk of the year, so if you’re not inclined to buy right now, you can hold out and see if another surfaces. It’s probably a good bet that another deal will surface at some point around February 2023.
  • If you’re already a Sam’s Club member, the deals are not open to you. However, if you’re a Sam’s Club Plus member, keep your accrued Sam’s Cash to put toward your next year’s membership. With this method, you earn throughout the year and put the money toward the next year’s membership and avoid that cost.

Costco

You may have heard there’s no such thing as a free lunch, well, we’re here to tell you there’s no such thing as a free Costco membership -- unless you work there (but that’s more like compensation, right?).

The thing about Costco is that you have to get really creative and technical in order to save on your membership.

Here are a few ways to save.

  • Get yourself a Costco Shop Card, the store’s version of a gift card. These cards can be purchased by a Costco member and used by others. KTLA noted that a member can buy them online and have them mailed to another address -- yours -- and you can add money to it and use it -- without a membership -- in stores or online.
  • Get yourself some online shopping going at Costco.com. Some items will be priced higher than in stores and other items are members-only purchases. Non-members will also pay for delivery, depending on purchase amounts.
  • Look for deals from discounters like RetailMeNot.com or Groupon on memberships. They periodically have deals on memberships and also opportunities to get Costco Shop Cards to make the membership purchase a little more palatable.

Compound the membership deals if you’re really ready to commit -- with credit cards

If you’re really ready to commit to bulk buying and want to score the best deals, you might want to consider getting the store credit card when you’re signing up for your membership. The credit cards have a lot of perks and savings that go above and beyond the store’s deals.

  • Here’s information about Sam’s Club’s cards. You have to sign in for the details, but here are some highlights: 2% for Plus members in Sam’s Cash on eligible in-store purchases and 3% with Sam’s Club Mastercard in Sam’s Cash on Sam’s Club purchases for Plus members and 1% back for Club members.
  • Here’s information about the Costco credit cards, but here are the highlights: 4% on eligible gas, for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% thereafter, 3% on restaurants and eligible travel, 2% on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com, and 1% on all other purchases.
  • Just remember to pay your bill on-time and if possible, in full. This is about savings, y’all. Don’t cut in on that by missing payments or only paying the minimum. That will defeat the purpose of maximum savings.

Fun and surprising facts about memberships

What deals have you scored on memberships at Sam’s Club and Costco? Let us know in the comments.

Take a look at all of our stories in this bulk buying series:

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About the Author:

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.