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Ask Dave

Watch your spending while saving

Jessica is curious what Dave thinks about shopping at warehouse clubs. Dave says he's a fan, but he warns Jessica about overspending and overbuying.

QUESTION: Jessica asks what Dave thinks about warehouse clubs. Dave says he likes them, but he cautions her to be careful about overspending.

ANSWER: I’m a member of Costco and Sam’s Club. They’re the two in our neighborhood, and I suspect we save more from my wife shopping there than me.

The thing you’ve got to be careful of with warehouse clubs — and it’s something they’re specialists at — is impulse buying on really large, dumb things. I mean, who needs five gallons of mustard? Who needs 26 gallons of peanut butter? And most of us overbuy, especially those of us who are spenders. I’m a spender by nature. That’s why God makes me teach this stuff every day. I’m still, to this day, bad about overbuying in there.

One of the ways I could tell I had turned the corner spiritually with money after we went broke was I could walk into places like that and not buy anything. It meant that I had reached a level of contentment. So you’ve got to be careful with the overspending and the overbuying in volume.

Are there bargains in there? Oh, definitely. There are some good buys in all those places. We’re big fans.