Flickr / Mike Mozart
Warehouse clubs like Sam's Club, Costco, and BJ's Wholesale Club offer great deals on some items — but not all. That's often because shoppers can find lower prices elsewhere but also because some items aren't wise to buy in bulk. From foods to paper goods, here are 10 things to avoid.
Flickr/r. nial bradshaw
Costco sells a condiment "picnic pack" with two 32-ounce ketchups, one 28-ounce mustard, and one 26-fluid-ounce pickle relish. For anyone who doesn't use relish as often as mustard — or just doesn't care for one of the three — up to a quarter of the purchase price goes to waste. Condiments may sit in the fridge for months but don't stay fresh as long as you might expect once opened.
Ketchup lasts six months, while mayo lasts just two, according to the US Department of Agriculture. Unless you're a business owner in the food-service industry or you're inviting everyone you know to a summer barbecue, sticking to supermarket sizes may be smarter. Related: 10 surprising things you can buy from Costco, Sam's, or BJ's
There are many places to buy cheap diapers: Amazon, Diapers.com, Target, Walmart, and more. Warehouse club diapers are similarly cheap, but their larger packages may not be the best option, especially when buying very small diapers for newborns.
The smallest quantity available at Costco in size 1 (which fits babies up to 14 pounds) is 192 diapers. A child might grow out of the size before the package is empty.
Smaller quantities available at Target and Amazon — both of which have subscription services with convenient delivery and discounted prices — could be a better buy for a fast-growing child.
Trendy clothes and shoes
Via Hunter Boots
Costco and Sam's Club sometimes carry name-brand clothes and shoes, such as Hunter boots at Costco and Carter's brand kids' clothes at Costco and Sam's Club. But sometimes these deals really are too good to be true.
Company representatives say Costco is not a "fashion retailer." If a designer brand turns up at a warehouse club, it is likely to be a fading trend or a style unpopular with retailers. Unless it's a very basic item, it might soon look passé, so don't let a designer label override personal taste.