drives home with a new flat-screen
TV and enough prime rib for a football team. In a 2007 paper, Harvard
marketing professor Michael Norton
argued that the mere presence of
membership fees encourages more
spending. If you’re an undisciplined
shopper, don’t stray from your list,
and follow these rules for saving
when you join the club.
Take only what you can use
A 61.9-ounce box of cereal might sell
for less than half the supermarket
equivalent, but good luck finishing
it before it goes stale. A small household might take a year to use a large
container of detergent. Also, make
sure you have space to store items.
Divide to conquer Shop with
friends or family members, splitting
apart the big packages to share.
Buy before it flies Product
lines change frequently, so stock up
if you see an item you really need.
Don’t swear off your local
supermarket Weekly store pro-
motions at traditional grocers can
offer bargains on staples, such as
cereal and laundry detergent, that
rival those at the clubs, a 2007
Consumer Reports study found.
sold by other firms.
charge that they use
tactics to lure mem-
bers. When shoppers
click on a pop-up that
offers a discount for
an online purchase,
accept a “free trial”
from a telemarketer, or
cash a small check
award mailed to their
home, they often miss
the fine print that says
they’ve agreed to a
monthly fee ranging
from $9.95 to $19.95.
“I estimate consumers
lose about $2 billion a
year to these kinds of
companies,” says Iowa
attorney general Tom
Miller, who sued two of
the largest firms that
run these clubs.