Sam’s Club is a popular warehouse store where you’re able to buy products in bulk.
It’s part of the Walmart chain, but you need a special membership to shop at Sam’s Club.
You pay an annual fee to have access to everything in a Sam’s Club store.
Considering that you need to pay a yearly fee to shop there, some might consider Sam’s Club to be quite expensive.
Since it’s just a store, you may wonder what about it makes it so expensive.
Why Is Sam’s Club So Expensive? (10 Reasons)
The basic Sam’s Club membership costs $50 a year.
However, they also have a more expensive membership that costs $110 a year.
Certain factors like buying in bulk and the number of services that the store provides all impact the price of membership.
Let’s look at these factors in more detail.
1. Membership Fees
One of the reasons some people consider Sam’s Club expensive is that they need to pay an annual fee to even shop there.
At other stores, you simply walk in and start buying.
Without a membership, Sam’s Club won’t let you enter the warehouse.
They have employees who check your card and match it to your identification.
The membership prices make shopping at Sam’s Club expensive because it’s something you have to pay just to shop there.
You have the price of your groceries, but then you also have the price of the membership that you need to pay every year.
Sam’s Club does have two tiers of memberships, however.
The cheapest is $50, and you only have to pay it once a year.
The more expensive membership is $110 a year.
Obviously, the more expensive membership also comes with additional perks and benefits.
Depending on your budget, however, you might find paying for groceries difficult as it is.
Having to pay an annual fee just to shop somewhere may not be something you find financially possible.
Sam’s Club is expensive because it charges its shoppers an annual fee just to shop there.
2. Bulk Buying
Shopping at Sam’s Club isn’t like shopping at other stores.
At a typical grocery store, you buy one or two items and that’s it.
Now and then, they might have a multi-package of the same item, but by and large, they usually sell products in individual packages.
That isn’t the case at Sam’s Club.
Most of their items are in bulk packaging.
You’re essentially buying a lot of the same product.
That’s because Sam’s Club operates as a warehouse store.
It buys items in bulk which allows them to save money.
They then pass those savings on to their customers.
The membership fee helps ensure they’re still making a sizable profit.
The benefit of buying in bulk is that your items tend to last a bit longer.
The bad part of buying in bulk is that it does come with slightly more expensive prices.
That’s because you’re buying more than just one product.
Buying in bulk can save you money in the long run, but it also depends on what items you’re buying.
For example, if you’re buying a lot of products that expire quickly, it may just end up being wasteful if you’re tossing most of the food out anyway.
As such, Sam’s Club is expensive because they sell in bulk.
3. Pharmacy Services
A Sam’s Club membership comes with many perks.
One of those perks is access to their in-store pharmacy.
At their pharmacy, you can have your prescriptions filled at discount prices.
One of the best perks is that you can also receive some generic medications for free.
With the Plus Membership, for example, you can fill certain generic prescriptions like Metformin, Montelukast, and Escitalopram Oxalate for free.
Under the Club Membership, you only need to pay around $4.
Clearly, that’s an incredible savings.
However, Sam’s Club has to pay some money to be able to offer such an incredible deal.
Part of that comes from its membership fees.
It charges expensive membership fees, so it can provide pharmacy benefits.
It also has slightly more expensive prices on its products than other stores.
Those higher prices also allow them to provide their members with pharmacy savings.
Sam’s Club is expensive because it offers pharmacy savings, and those costs need to be offset with higher prices.
4. Telehealth Services
Another great benefit of having a Sam’s Club membership is that you have access to their telehealth system.
Sam’s Club offers its own virtual healthcare system.
You’re essentially able to speak to a doctor whenever you need it.
Scheduling an appointment still applies, but since the program is available 24/7, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to meet with a doctor sooner rather than later.
These visits aren’t free, however.
Members tend to have to pay around $45 for a standard visit.
That said, certain members who have government-backed health insurance like Medicare or Medicaid are not able to receive this service.
This makes Sam’s Club expensive because you might be paying the membership for the benefit of having access to their telehealth program.
If you find out you don’t qualify for it, then paying $50 or $110 a year may not be worth it to you.
Others might find that paying around $45 isn’t a steep enough discount.
Depending on their health insurance plan, they might be able to receive those visits for free.
As such, you’re paying Sam’s Club money when you don’t actually need to pay.
Sam’s Club also takes on a certain amount of cost by providing the service.
Those costs are then offset by expensive membership plans and prices.
Sam’s Club is expensive because of its telehealth program.
5. Auto Buying Program
Sam’s Club doesn’t only have its fingers in the health industry.
It also has its own auto-buying program.
Through Sam’s Club, you can connect with various car dealerships that are part of their program.
You’re able to receive a certain discount by being a Sam’s Club member.
However, you may find that the savings aren’t worth it if the only cars you can buy through the program are junkers or extremely expensive.
You’re not really saving money if you’re buying a car that’s outside of your budget.
If the car is a dud, then you’re going to spend even more money fixing it up.
Sam’s Club also has its own repair shop.
While you can receive a discount by using its services, if you bought a junker car through them, then you’re only paying them more money to fix the car you bought at their suggestion.
That said, Sam’s Club does offer some free services, too.
Tire rotations can come for free, and they also provide some battery services.
Those services no doubt cost them some money to provide.
As such, they charge an expensive price for their memberships and have slightly higher prices on their products.
Sam’s Club is expensive because of its auto-buying program.
Sam’s Club tries to make its shopping experience as relaxing and indulgent as possible.
That’s why most Sam’s Club stores also come with a cafe.
At the cafe, you can find cafeteria staples like pizza, pasta, hotdogs, and other food items.
It also has its share of drinks.
It’s a good way to fill yourself up before doing your shopping to ensure you don’t overspend on food just because you’re feeling hungry.
Of course, that also means you’re paying Sam’s Club more money.
You’re not only paying an annual membership just to shop there or buy their products, but you’re also buying food from them to eat in the store.
You might find that the prices at their cafe are a bit high as well.
Sam’s Club certainly takes on quite a few costs by offering a cafe.
They have food, cooking, refrigeration, and storage costs to consider.
Then they have extra labor costs to cover since they need cooks and servers.
Because it costs them more money to provide cafe services, they charge higher prices.
Sam’s Club is expensive because it has a cafe.
7. Club Credit
You can also take out a credit card with Sam’s Club.
The credit card is exclusive to Sam’s Club.
It can also double as your membership card.
The benefit of the Club Credit card is that you can earn cashback on certain purchases.
Your membership tier also determines the percentage of your cashback.
For example, Club members earn 2% on certain cashback purchases.
Plus members, on the other hand, can potentially earn up to 5% on certain cashback purchases.
This essentially means that their shoppers have a chance of earning some of their money back whenever they shop at Sam’s Club.
Some products offer this bonus.
However, you can also earn money back when you buy gas from Sam’s Club or when you buy takeout or dining options from them.
The card also works on some purchases made from Walmart.
Since Sam’s Club is essentially paying you back some money, it means they’re also losing out on that money.
As a result, they need to make up for those losses with higher prices and membership fees.
Sam’s Club is expensive because it offers cashback with its Club Credit card.
8. Member’s Mark Products
Sam’s Club also has a line of products that it calls Member’s Mark.
Member’s Mark is a premium line of products.
It focuses on high-quality products.
As you might expect, the products also come at premium prices.
While you can enjoy the benefit of a product made from better quality ingredients, it’s going to cost you more.
Premium products tend to cost more because high-quality ingredients and materials cost more to source.
Labor costs also tend to be a bit higher.
To offset those costs, manufacturers sell at higher prices.
Sam’s Club is expensive when you buy from their Member’s Mark product line.
9. Sales And Clearance
Sam’s Club doesn’t always run a lot of sales like Walmart or other stores.
However, it does run some sales on occasion.
It also has a clearance section where you can find some deep deals.
Because it runs sales, Sam’s Club isn’t producing as much profit as it might like on those products.
To ensure it’s still able to make the amount of revenue that it needs, it relies on higher prices elsewhere.
You’ll find that Sam’s Club is expensive because it still engages in sales and runs clearance sections.
10. One Free Membership
A final reason Sam’s Club is expensive is that it allows you to share one free membership with someone in your household.
The expectation is that you’re going to share your membership with your spouse or child.
Those who share their membership with their adult children tend to milk the membership for all its worth.
The child can enjoy the benefits of Sam’s Club without having to pay for it.
Unless, of course, the family splits the membership payments between them.
By allowing their members to share a membership, however, Sam’s Club essentially handicaps themselves.
They’re losing out on that membership.
It’s done to make their customers happy, but it certainly ensures they lose out on money in the process.
To compromise, they have higher prices on their membership fees and products.
Sam’s Club is expensive because it allows its members to offer a free membership to someone within their household.
Sam’s Club is a unique warehouse store that requires a membership to shop there.
Its membership prices can be quite expensive to some people, but it does cover several services and benefits.
Those services and benefits, however, cost Sam’s Club money which they offset with high prices on their memberships and products.