8 Subtle Ways to Save Time & Money Shopping at Sam’s Club

Penny Hoarder staff writer Lisa McGreevy has been an expert Sam’s Club customer since the early ’90s.

For her, the warehouse club means less visits to the grocery store and more savings — about $200 a month, she estimates.

And it’s not just the wholesale prices that help her save. Whether it’s free prescriptions, heavily discounted fresh meat or knowing how to spot clearance items, there are a ton of tricks that can help you spend even more at Sam’s Club.

We recently followed her around on one of her shopping trips to see the many specific ways to save money at Sam’s Club. (Also, see the video above.)

1. Download the Sam’s Club Scan & Go App.

Sam’s club scan & go app
Penny Hoarder writer Lisa McGreevy uses her Sam’s Club Scan & Go App. Michael House/The Penny Hoarder

McGreevy estimates she saves at least 30 minutes each shopping trip by using the Sam’s Club Scan & Go app.

Basically, you scan your items’ barcodes as you shop, click “Pay,” then the nice greeter at the door will check your receipt and your cart, and you’ll be on your way.

2. Know Your Numbers and Letters

Sam’s club scan & go app
McGreevy shops at a Sam’s Club in Pinellas Park, Fla. Michael House/The Penny Hoarder

There’s a method to the pricing madness. Did you know that prices ending in .01, .31 and .91 (etc.) mean products are on sale or clearance?

Then look up at the inventory code. A “C” means the item will soon be removed from inventory, so the price will drop again.

3. Get Free Prescriptions

Sam’s club scan & go app
The pharmacy is stocked at Sam’s Club in Pinellas Park, Fla. Michael House/The Penny Hoarder

If you sign up to be a Sam’s Plus member, you can snag up to five free prescriptions.

4. Look for Discounted Meat

Sam’s club scan & go app
Meat is displayed at a Sam’s Club in Pinellas Park, Fla. Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder

If you’re looking for a bargain on meat, hit up Sam’s Club in the morning. That’s when you’ll find “quick sales” on premium cuts of meat.

5. Use the Buddy System!

Sam’s Club members: Did you know you can bring up to two guests in with you? Share the love why don’t you?

6. Stop by the “Freeosk”

Sam’s club scan & go app
The “freeosk” at a Sam’s Club in Pinellas Park, Fla., offers free samples. Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder

Have you ever seen that weird looking vending machine in your store? It’s a Freeosk. Scan your membership card and grab a freebie — anything from a coffee mug to pet items.

7. Get Cash Back — Immediately

If you have a cash-back credit card, check to see if it offers cash-back deals from Sam’s Club. When you make an online purchase, you can bank 5% back!

8. Roll in Cash Rewards

Sam’s Plus member cards not only give you great deals on prescriptions, you’ll also earn $10 back for every $500 you spend.

Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. When she was a kid, she tagged behind her parents when they made their Sam’s Club hauls. The food samples were awesome; the lines were not.