Clark Howard

How Can I Buy Coke or Pepsi for Cheaper Than the Warehouse Club Prices?

Americans love soft drinks.

You don't have to visit the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta to realize the scale of the product. A 2012 Gallup poll found that about 48% of Americans drink at least one glass of soda per day.

That tracks with a December 2023 poll reported by Statista: the share of Americans 18 to 64 years old who consume soft drinks (including lemonade or ice tea) is well above 50%.

It may not rival your monthly budget for your mortgage, groceries or gas for your vehicle. But it is a significant and consistent expense for most households.

As such, finding the best price matters. And the usual suspects aren’t always the cheapest when it comes to Coke, Pepsi and other soft drinks.

Can I Get Soft Drinks Such As Coke for Cheaper Than Costco and Sam’s Club Pricing?

Can I buy soft drinks for cheaper than the prices that warehouse clubs such as Costco and Sam's Club offer?

That’s what a Clark Howard listener recently asked.

Asked Brad in Georgia: "I noticed the warehouse clubs are now charging over $18 for a 35-pack of Coke. What are some shopping strategies to purchase this stuff at a lower price?"

It’s important to recognize that warehouse clubs, big box retailers and supermarkets have separate business models. Some companies and industries make use of “loss leaders.” That means selling a product at a price that isn’t profitable to attract customers (who hopefully buy other things while at the store).

Costco and Sam’s Club sell huge quantities of soft drinks. But it’s just one of many items they sell. Warehouse clubs don’t do loss leaders, Clark says.

Walmart owns Sam's Club. Yet the price of Coke or Pepsi will be more or less expensive at Walmart vs. Sam's Club depending on whether Walmart is running a sale. That's an example of the difference.

At $18, the price Brad sees for a 35-pack of Coke equates to more than 51 cents per can. Let’s see how that compares to the price target Clark uses.

“Both Sam’s Club and Costco are charging an absolute fortune for those of us who still drink what [podcast producer] Christa calls poison,” Clark says.

“I never buy them at Sam’s or Costco anymore. Because it’s a ripoff now. I buy them at supermarkets or I buy them at Walmart when they’re on promotional [sale]. My target price now is between 25 and 30 cents a can in a 12-pack and 40 to 50 cents a bottle in a 16.9-oz. bottle.”

Final Thoughts

Warehouse clubs (and buying in bulk) usually can save you money on groceries. But soft drinks such as Coke and Pepsi are cheaper at Walmart or at supermarkets when they’re on sale. You won’t find those types of sales at Costco or Sam’s Club.

The post How Can I Buy Coke or Pepsi for Cheaper Than the Warehouse Club Prices? appeared first on Clark Howard.


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