I'm a die-hard Costco fan who shopped at Sam's Club for the first time - and I know which store I'll continue to visit
- Costco and Sam's Club are two of the most popular wholesale retail chains in the United States.
- I'm a lifelong Costco shopper, but I recently took a trip to a Sam's Club to see which retailer was better. And by the end, I knew which of the two retailers I would continue to shop at.
- Here's how my first-ever visit to Sam's Club went, from the perspective of a lifelong Costco shopper.
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There are obvious similarities between the two retailers, including their general layouts, their notoriously generous return policies, and their similar opening hours. But there are also key differences between the two.
Perhaps the most significant point in Sam's Club's favor is its membership pricing. Sam's Club membership is significantly cheaper than Costco's, with a basic membership running $45 per year and a "Plus" membership (offering cash rewards and free shipping) costing $100 annually.
Meanwhile, Costco's memberships are $60 for a basic "Gold Star" membership and $120 for a "Gold Star Executive" membership.
Having only ever shopped at Costco (or occasionally at BJ's Wholesale Club), I wondered whether Sam's Club's lower annual fee might make it worth the jump.
I decided to check out the nearest Sam's Club while visiting family in south New Jersey to find out. By the end, I knew which store I would continue to shop at.
Here's what I found.