KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Shopping at wholesale clubs can help shoppers save big bucks, depending on their needs.

So, why not save on the actual membership to Sam’s Club or Costco to help you keep more money in your pocket?

Sam’s Club

Sam’s Club has a deal through Sept. 11 that will basically get you a 1-year membership for free.

The club is offering a 1-year membership for $45. With the deal, you’ll get $45 in instant savings when you spend $45 or more of qualifying purchases on one transaction within the first 60 days of membership.

The fine print says you must show the offer on your phone when you buy a membership to get the deal.

If $45 is too much to spend on a membership right now, Sam’s Club has another offer available.

The club is offering a 1-year membership for $14.99, which is a deal in itself. The same membership normally costs $55 a year.

If you purchase the deal before August 31, you’ll also receive a $10 Sam’s Club e-gift card. After factoring in the gift card, the Sam’s Club membership will cost $4.99.

WHAT TO CONSIDER BEFORE BUYING

This deal is really kind of a no-brainer, but there are a few things to consider before buying.

  • If you buy this deal, you’ll be enrolled in Sam’s Club Auto-Renewal and will be charged normal price when it’s time to renew your membership, unless you cancel before then.
  • The membership is not available for existing members.
  • The $10 e-gift card will be emailed instead of being loaded onto your membership card. Make sure you receive it. Contact Sam’s Club, or the membership desk in a store location if you don’t.

EXTRAS

Sam’s Club offers discounts on more than just groceries, clothing, and home goods.

Club locations also offer free health screenings and hearing tests. You’ll also be able to fill up at Sam’s gas stations at lower prices, and take advantage of Sam’s Club vacation discounts.

Costco

Costco does not offer free memberships, but there are several ways you can still save at the club.

COSTCO SHOP CARD

If you have a friend with a Costco membership, ask that person to buy you a Costco Shop Card. The card will be mailed to you with a zero balance, but it’s reloadable.

While you have to be a member to buy a Costco Ship Card, you don’t have to have a membership to use it in stores or online.

You can also use a Costco Shop Card at Costco Gas Station locations.

SHOP ONLINE

Nonmembers can technically shop online at Costco.com.

Some items are priced higher than in stores, and some items are marked members-only.

Nonmembers will also pay for delivery, unless a certain amount is ordered.

DISCOUNTED MEMBERSHIPS

If you’ve decided you want to buy your own Costco membership, keep an eye on Groupon. Once or twice a year a Costco deal will be offered.

It’s usually something like a $60 1-year-membership that comes with a $40 Costco Shop Card and a $40 off $250 coupon. If you use both bonuses, you’ll technically make $20 on this deal.

Costco last offered the deal in July, so it may be months before it’s offered again.

BJ ‘s Wholesale Club

If you live in an area with BJ’s Wholesale Clubs, you can also get a free membership.

The company ended it’s 3-Month Free Trial membership.

It now offers a 1-Day Online Pass for free, but it can only be used on BJs “Ship It” service.

The company also offers discounted Inner Circle Memberships in some, but not all locations.

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