Another story that caught my eye in the May issue of ShopSmart magazine is where NOT to shop online. The thing is, I totally disagree! What do you think?
- Warehouse clubs – ShopSmart argues that non-members pay a surcharge of 5% online, wiping out savings.
I say, do the math. If you’re spending less than
$952.38 per year at one online warehouse club, there is no point in ponying up the $50 annual membership fee (at Costco and BJ’s; Sam’s Club is $40 annually). If you go over $952.38, however, the membership fee makes sense. Here’s my math:
- Sample-sale sites – This time I agree with ShopSmart’s reasoning: On sites like Gilt Group, HauteLook, and Zuilily, the best deals go super quick, and shipping can take longer than usual because items are shipping to you directly from the manufacturer. Plus, some sites are final sale.
- Swap and second hand sites – Big disagreement here. I’ve had great luck buying used items on eBay. Craigslist is an incredible resource. And swap sites can be safe if you know the rules and play safely. True, your purchase does not come with the same guarantees compared to a mainstream retailer, but the prices are no where near as high. It’s a tradeoff that many, many people handle safely. I mean, you wouldn’t boycott garage sales just because there is no guarantee, would you?
$952.37 of toilet paper, ice cream, and tomato sauce at Costco + 5% non-member surcharge of $47.61 = $999.98
$952.37 + $50 membership fee = $1,002.37
Once you go over $1,000 in total spending, you are better off buying the membership because that’s the tipping point when the 5% surcharge is greater than the $50 yearly membership fee.
5% of $1,000 = $50