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5 Holiday Gifts to Buy at Warehouse Clubs

Buying bulk can save you money on these festive presents

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Buying bulk doesn’t have to be reserved for paper towels and bottled water, you can also save on gifts this holiday season. That’s particularly true if you have several people to buy for on your list. 

Warehouse clubs offer a variety of deals on gifts for just about everyone,” says budgeting expert Andrea Woroch. “You can get more for the same price you’d spend at a big box retailer like Walmart or Target. For instance, you will usually get a bundle set of Barbie dolls for the same price as one or two at another retailer.”

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Making a list and checking it twice is important when shopping in warehouse stores. Shopping experts say to make sure that you get something the recipients will like and that you won’t end up with extras you can’t use. If you aren’t a warehouse club member, factor in the cost of membership to determine if it’s worth it. If you don’t plan to shop there often, it may not be.

The savings depend on how you split the items up, but Julie Ramhold, a consumer analyst at DealNews, says expect to save $5 to $10 per gift. Woroch says if you shop strategically and take advantage of sales, the discount can be as much as 30 percent. With that in mind, here’s a look at five items worth buying in bulk this season:

1. Gift cards.

About 55 percent of holiday shoppers say they would like to receive a gift card, according to the National Retail Federation’s Winter Holidays forecast. That’s good news for warehouse club shoppers since it’s a category in which you can get a deal buying in bulk. “You can get 10 to 20 percent off gift card bundles to restaurants, spas, airlines, select retailers and more,” Woroch says. “During Black Friday sales and other holiday promotions, you may even get an extra discount.”

2. Small kitchen gadgets.

If a blender, espresso machine or other small appliance is on your shopping list, Woroch says, you can save at Costco, BJ’s and Sam’s Club. If you shop at Costco, you can even get a price adjustment for 30 days from purchase of the item if you find it somewhere cheaper. “Online purchases are easy to request a price adjustment too; you just submit the info online at their customer service desk,” Woroch says.

3. Big-ticket items.

You may not have a lot of brands to choose from, but a big-ticket item such as a TV, kitchen appliance, laptop or floor safe, can be cheaper at the warehouse clubs. “Warehouse (or wholesale) clubs do have some incredible holiday deals on certain brands they carry, but that can be somewhat limiting for categories like TVs, electronics, toys and video games,” says Vipin Porwal, founder and consumer savings expert at Smarty, the cash-back shopping app. “While the selection is very brand specific and limited, there are deals that compare to the big box and Amazons of the world that are worth looking into.”

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4. Candles and mugs.

Scented candles and mugs have long been go-to gifts for friends and family. Warehouse retailers often sell them in variety packs, which means you can split them up and offer a more personalized gift. Both can be among the more cost-effective gift purchases you can make, Ramhold says.

5. Holiday bundles.

During the holidays, warehouse clubs roll out gift packs or baskets in several categories, from beauty to candy. Those bundles not only make perfect gifts, they are a great way to save money. But you have to act fast if you see something you like. Ramhold says many of the holiday bundles are unique to the warehouse clubs and when they are gone, they are gone. “From scented candles to the Starbucks mug sets, these items may be warehouse club exclusives. You may be able to track down something similar elsewhere, but don’t count on being able to find the exact item tucked on a clearance shelf at your local Target,” she says.

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