Membership rates at Costco, Sam's Club comparable

In just a short week, we will have a new store opening in our area.


Costco will finally be opening its doors to the public on Wednesday. My family was curious to see the store, so we hopped into the car and decided to go exploring. When we got there early Saturday evening, we were surprised to see a large group of people gathered around a tent near the tire center. I had already known that they were accepting early registrations for the store, but I was surprised to see so many people signing up.

So what is the difference between our two local warehouse clubs? What’s the same? Is using a wholesale club worth it to a savvy couponer?

My interest in Costco began when I received a booklet from Costco in the mail. Two things caught my eye. First, if you sign up before Jan. 2, Costco is giving a $10 Gift Card when you sign up to be a Gold Star Member, which is the basic membership level and costs $50 for a year.

You can receive a $20 Gift Card when you sign up for an Executive Membership, which costs $100. The stand out feature of the Executive Membership is that a person at this membership level actually earns a 2 percent reward (up to $500) on qualified purchases, which is paid out as a gift certificate for store merchandise. Secondly, I was impressed by the number of coupons it contained.

So how what are the differences in Costco’s and Sam’s Club? Well, a basic yearly membership to Sam’s only costs $40. After the rebate, Costco is comparable. Both places do not accept regular manufacturers’ coupons and do not have printable coupons available on their Web sites.

A free coupon class with Carol Gunter, above, will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at The Augusta Chronicle News Building, 725 Broad St. Seating is limited; to reserve a spot, log on to smartshopper



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