When we hit the road one of the first things we did was to quit shopping at big box, members-only warehouse clubs. We knew we were saving money by nixing the yearly membership fee and we assumed that gigantic purchases of groceries and household goods were out of reach for two full-time RVers with a 24′ rig. However through the years we’ve found plenty of good reasons to keep our warehouse club membership – despite the fact that we can’t fit 12 rolls of Scott one-ply toilet paper in our rig! Here’s why it pays to belong to warehouse clubs even when your home is on wheels.
We have a fifth wheel that’s pulled by a Dodge 4×4 pickup truck. About every two years we need an entirely new set of tires because of the amount of driving we do. After researching the retail price of our preferred tires, we found that we save just over two hundred dollars on a whole new set of premium Michelins when we purchase them through our warehouse club. Although these tires are a custom order item at the big box store, we still save about $60 less per tire every time we buy them.
Do you wear prescription glasses? If so, the eye glass department in warehouse clubs can save you hundreds of dollars depending on your type of prescription and which add-ons you choose, such as ultra-thin and tinted lenses, designer frames, etc. I’ve priced my own prescription at a national eye glass company and it starts at over $250 for a new pair of glasses. At my warehouse club I literally paid half that price including a $60 eye exam. The same principle holds true for hearing aids.
Do you enjoy a tasty happy hour cocktail? Does wine accompany your meals? Jim and I do imbibe in wine and spirits and, when we purchase them through our warehouse club, we save about 50% on every bottle. Although we need to purchase bulk quantities of our favorite spirits, which makes them trickier to store in our tiny rig, we just choose more carefully and limit our selection to one or two bottles at a time.
I hate having to buy towels and sheets. But when we need to, we spend wisely and buy quality towels and sheets that can withstand the rigors of a public laundromat. When I’m ready to buy them, I know I can go to the warehouse club where I’ll find premium choices at prices far less than any other bed and bath retail competitors.
We don’t have a gas-powered RV but if we did, the amount of savings we could enjoy by purchasing gas from warehouse clubs would be tremendous. I’m almost sad that we didn’t buy a gas-powered truck just so we could fill up with cheaper gas at these retailers.
About the only drawback of belonging to a warehouse club as full-time RVer is that we have to stay away from purchasing many bulk food items that take up precious kitchen space. That’s OK by me, however, since I know that on any given morning I can stop by my warehouse club and get in line to sample away at all of these tasty offerings in every aisle.
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.