The 6 Worst Things to Buy at Sam's Club


Besides Costco and BJ's, Sam's Club is next on the list when you think of buying in bulk. The appeal of these stores is that you'll have to shop less frequently and you'll save money by purchasing larger quantities. While some items are worth the extra space they'll take up on your shelves, others might not be the best value and are better purchased at the grocery store or pharmacy. To help you get the most out of your next Sam's Club trip, we spoke to a consumer analyst about what you may want to think twice about getting at the bulk store. Keep reading to find out the six worst things to buy at Sam's Club.

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Fruit and veggies tend to go bad pretty quickly and should be eaten shortly after buying them. Unless you have a plan to use it right away (or need a ton for a party), produce purchases should stay small.

"There's a good chance you'll end up having to toss some out when it goes off, and that can destroy the value of buying in bulk in the first place," Julie Ramhold, Consumer Analyst with, tells Best Life. To keep everything fresh, it's best to buy these items as you need them and not all at once.

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Buying sauces and dips—like ketchup, mayo, or mustard—in bulk doesn't make sense, Ramhold says. "Unless you're eating ketchup with literally every meal," it'd be hard to use the whole bottle before it goes bad.

Even though condiments typically have a longer shelf life, they do start tasting strange after a while, so it's better to buy smaller bottles when you know you'll need them in the pantry. An exception might be if you're hosting a big barbeque and plan on grilling hamburgers and hotdogs.

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Vitamins and daily medications like allergy relief are the best to buy in bulk. However, medications that are needed less often—such as cold and flu pills, pain relievers, or burn cream—aren't worth the hassle.

Ramhold believes that you might find a great deal once in a while, "but these aren't things you take every day so unless you have a large household, you're running the risk of these items hitting expiry dates or losing their efficacy before you can use them up." And in that case, the deal you thought you were getting isn't the case.

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Buying sunscreen in bulk is similar to buying medication; as it hits its expiration date, it starts losing effectiveness. "Unless you're heading to the beach and planning to slather everyone in your party with sunscreen every single day for the whole stretch of your vacation, you probably won't use a bulk-sized container up before it expires," Ramhold tells Best Life.

Be honest; do you really need 10 bottles of sunscreen at one time? It's easier to pick up a bottle on the go instead of storing it until the next summer.

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Giant canned foods
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Buying multiple cans at once isn't a huge issue, as standard-sized canned goods last quite a while and come in handy when you need to whip up a quick meal. It's the oversized cans that, more often than not, turn into a waste after you've opened them.

"Those are meant for serving crowds of people, and unless you have the food storage to store leftovers after you open these giant cans, odds are good you're going to end up tossing some of it out, which means you didn't really get a deal," Ramhold shares. These are typically made for camp or cafeteria settings, not one family's kitchen.

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It might seem like you're getting a deal when it comes to the book aisle at Sam's Club, yet, in reality, the options are slim. Most of the books are for children or young readers, and there aren't many choices for adults. "You're better off looking at traditional bookstores or even indie bookstores for a bigger selection and potentially better deals on some items," Ramhold says. And if you own an e-reader, even better; e-books are almost always cheaper and the selection is much larger.