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10 Sam's Club Shopping Secrets From Retail Experts

Here's the insider knowledge you might not know, even as a member.

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Sam's Club shoppers are all about the savings, buying in bulk in order to get the best deals. But just having a membership doesn't mean you know all there is to know about scoring big. In fact, there are plenty of hidden tips and tricks that even the retailer's most diehard fans might not know about. Wondering what you've been missing? Read on to discover 10 Sam's Club shopping secrets retail experts want you to know.

RELATED: Sam's Club vs. BJ's Wholesale Club: Experts Say One Is Better.

They won't let you use coupons, but there are other deals to hold out for.

Large stack of money saving coupons.

Bargain shoppers beware: If you head to Sam's Club hoping to cash in your coupons, you'll be disappointed because the retailer doesn't accept them.

And although Costco has a similar policy, you can still expect to see sales and additional discounts when you're shopping there, according to Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with But while you may be disappointed to learn about Sam's Club's coupon policy, it could be a blessing in disguise.

"The fact that they don't accept coupons may make the process easier, as you don't have to worry about showing them for redemption," Ramhold explains. "Instead, you can just confidently shop the promotions to get the best prices."

That being said, you could wait to shop the Instant Savings, which occur once a month and mean special offers and deeper discounts.

"This means it's a good time to stock up on your favorites, but also to try new things," Ramhold says, adding that sometimes stores replace these events with a Special Savings week. When those come around, it's a good time to purchase bigger-ticket tech items.

You can use Walmart gift cards.

Detroit, USA - May 31, 2022 : Hand giving out a Walmart color gift card to another person isolated

You probably know that Sam's Club is a subsidiary of Walmart, but what you may not have realized is that Sam's Club will accept any Walmart gift cards burning a hole in your wallet.

"Walmart and Sam's Club gift cards are interchangeable," Ramhold says. "So if you have some from Walmart laying around, use them for your next Sam's Club trip!"

Ramhold does offer a word of caution about unit pricing between Sam's Club and Walmart, which is often very similar—if not identical.

"In these cases the only real upside to Sam's Club is that you're buying a larger quantity," she says. "If you already have a membership, that's fine, but if you're planning to get a membership solely because you think the prices are better at Sam's Club, then you might want to reconsider."

RELATED: The 10 Worst Things to Buy at Sam's Club.

You don't have to wait in the checkout line.

Sam's Club app

Waiting in line for groceries can be a pain, but Sam's Club actually allows members to skip this step with an app.

"Thanks to the Sam's Club app offering Scan & Go, you can, well, scan products as you go," Ramhold says. Once your cart is full, you can check out directly on the app, and show your digital receipt when you're leaving.

"This is a huge perk for Sam's Club shoppers and one that Costco shoppers desperately wish would be implemented," Ramhold adds.

You'll likely find better deals in-store than online.

SHENZHEN, CHINA - APRIL 22, 2019: interior shot of Sam's Club store in Shenzhen. Sam's Club is an American chain of membership-only retail warehouse clubs owned and operated by Walmart Inc.

For those who prefer to shop at brick-and-mortar locations, you'll be happy to learn that it's probably the best place to find deals at Sam's Club. According to Ramhold, markdowns are often better in-store than they are when you're shopping virtually.

"Shopping online means having to worry about shipping, so the markdowns there may not be as good as what you'll find in-store, where you can purchase an item and immediately take it home," she says. "If there's something you're eyeing, be sure to check your local club to see if it has a better price."

There are ways around the membership.

San Antonio, TX / USA - Mar. 03, 2020: A hand holds a Sam's Club Plus Member membership card, which gives users access to Sam's Club warehouse shopping, rewards, cheap food courts, and chicken

Warehouse clubs usually require a membership, but you may be able to find another way in. Sam's Club used to offer 24-hour Guest Memberships, allowing you to register and shop in-store. At checkout, purchases were hit with a 10 percent non-member fee. This perk is no longer available, according to the Sam's Club website, but thanks to new partnerships, there's a workaround.

Prefer to shop from your couch? You're in luck. You don't need a membership to shop and place an order via Instacart—but you will see higher prices on the platform, Slickdeals reports. If you feel like the escalated prices are worth it, just keep in mind that they might end up costing you more than the $50 Sam's Club charges for a basic membership.

RELATED: The Real Reason Sam's Club Checks Receipts Isn't About Stealing, Worker Says.

And if you're only looking for certain items, you don't need a membership at all.

Sam's Club Pharmacy

If you're looking to fill a prescription at Sam's Club, you can bypass the membership requirement entirely. The warehouse club confirms this on their website: "For pharmaceuticals with a script, there is no fee for non-members."

Looking to pick up liquor or a quick snack from the café? Those don't require a membership either. You can also take advantage of the retailer's photo center, if you need your pictures developed in a pinch.

There are more free things than you might realize.

York, PA USA - November 6, 2019: Sam's Club Sign. Sam's Club is an American chain of membership-only retail warehouse store clubs owned and operated by Walmart.

Most Sam's Club shoppers know all about the warehouse's free samples scattered around the store. But savvy shopping expert Eloisa Hife advises you to also look for the Freeosk, which are kiosks typically located near the entrance of Sam's Club stores.

"Here you can scan your membership card to snag free samples, coupons, or even surprise gifts," she says. "It's like a treasure hunt with guaranteed rewards."

There are codes on the price tags.

Orlando, FL/USA - 5/2/20: Rows of different types of wines and champagne at a Sam's Club grocery store.

Don't forget to look closely at the price tags as well—particularly in the lower left corner.

"The letter there reveals valuable information," Hife explains. "N means Never Out as it's a store staple, so no rush to buy. P indicates limited-time promotions, so stock up if you love it."

RELATED: 5 Warnings to Shoppers From Ex-Sam's Club Employees.

Shopping during certain months can help you save.

Orlando,FL/USA-3/14/20: Customers waiting in long lines to check out their groceries at a Sams Club in Orlando, Florida due to the hoarding of food and supplies during the coronavirus pandemic.

For Sam's Club shoppers, "October is your golden month," according to Hife. This is usually the retailer's member appreciation month so where you can enjoy exclusive discounts, special offers, and bonus cash back.

"Plan your shopping trips around this time to maximize saving," she advises.

There are other services you can take advantage of.

Novi, Michigan, USA - Feb 3 2023 : Membership services at Sams club store

While you may go to Sam's Club to bulk buy your groceries, Hife wants shoppers to remember that Sam's Club offers way more than that if you have a membership.

"Members can access pharmacy services, travel deals, optical care, and even insurance options," she says. "You can explore these perks and unlock additional value beyond just the grocery aisles."

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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