Holiday Savings at Warehouse Clubs
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11 Ways to Stretch Your Holiday Budget at Costco, Sam's, and BJ's

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Holiday Savings at Warehouse Clubs
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

STOCKING UP

The holiday season can do a number on credit card bills and bank account balances. But devotees of Costco, Sam's Club, and BJ's Wholesale Club can find savings at the warehouse stores on seasonal decor, food, and gifts for all, among other holiday necessities.

Dinner
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DINNER

Costco, Sam's Club, and BJ's sell ready-made rotisserie chickens, about 3 pounds each, for just $5 (Costco's is so beloved it has its own Facebook page).At that price, shoppers picking one up for a holiday meal may want to buy another to use later in chicken salad and other cheap and easy recipes good for serving a house full of family and friends.

Dessert
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DESSERT

No holiday meal is complete without an array of dessert options. Pies, cakes, and the like are all available from warehouse clubs in large sizes perfect for parties. Sheet cakes at Sam's Club cost $49 and feed up to 96 people, while a variety of seasonal pies start at about $6.

Alcohol
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ALCOHOL

Sam's Club, Costco, and BJ's make it easy to stock up on wine, beer, and liquor for holiday gatherings on the cheap. A little-known Costco secret: Some $12 to $16 bottles of wine are actually $50 bottles that have been rebranded, and Costco's beer selection holds similar gems. How else would the makers get rid of extra stock?

Buying Single-Serve Bottled Water
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BOTTLED WATER

Every holiday celebration needs beverage options other than alcohol. While buying bottled water seems like a waste (hello, tap water), it cuts down on dishes after a party, and guests can grab one for the road. At Sam's Club, a 32-count package of Aquafina half-liter bottles costs less than a smaller 24-pack of the same bottled water at Kmart and several regional grocery stores (about $4 versus $5). The cheapest option is a 40-pack of store-brand Member's Mark bottled water for just under $3.

Don't Buy: Gift Cards
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GIFT CARDS

Warehouse clubs offer good deals on gift cards, which typically come in packs that can be divided among stockings. BJ's sells two $25 gift cards to Steak N' Shake for $40 (a $50 value), and three $10 Starbucks gift cards for $27 (a $30 value), for example. Other cards are good for movies, steakhouse meals, and iTunes purchases. Costco currently has a notable deal of four gift cards for $15 each to Krispy Kreme for $45 (a $60 value).

Take Flight: Last Night at the Museum
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GAMING GIFTS

Shop for the gamer in you life at warehouse clubs and you won't regret it. Costco offers a 24-month Xbox Live Gold Membership for $80 (roughly $3 a month) – notable because it would typically cost $10 per month or $60 per year. Sam's Club has a similar deal, while you can also buy whole gaming systems, games, and accessories from both warehouse stores.

Build-a-bear Gift Cards
Courtesy of costco.com

STOCKING STUFFERS

Splitting up bulk buys such as packs of socks can be an economical way to fill stockings. Divvy up the four pack of Build A Bear gift cards valued at $25 each, but cost just $80 for the pack. Some small items are sold individually, including touchscreen compatible gloves that start at $10.

Party Gifts
Courtesy of costco.com

PARTY GIFTS

With so many holiday parties to attend, it can get expensive to bring a host gift to each one. A four-tier pack of sweet treats goes for $25 at BJ's, but split it comes to about $6 per box of candy and makes a thoughtful hostess gift, or good last-minute gifts for mail carriers, babysitters, hairdressers, teachers, and anyone else on the list for a small gift at the holidays.

Gift Baskets
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GIFT BASKETS

The warehouse clubs sell pre-made gift baskets starting at about $20, with themes ranging from Coca-Cola to "Star Wars," to popcorn and wine, to a movie night in gift basket, but consumers may be able to save even more by divvying up bulk purchases to create homemade gift baskets.

Pre-Lit Christmas Trees
Courtesy of samsclub.com

OUTDOOR DECOR

Don't forget outdoor decorations — the neighbors won't. For a sense of the warehouse club savings available on holiday lights, consider that a two-pack of outdoor red and green laser lights can be found for $40 at Costco compared with a single-pack of a similar outdoor display that goes for $38 on Amazon.

Family Tree Christmas Card
Courtesy of shutterfly.com

PHOTO GREETING CARDS

Send holiday cheer through warehouse clubs on the cheap. Costco for example allows you to make personalized photo cards and purchase them in sets of 50 for $14 or roughly 27 cents per photo. For the same type of holiday greeting card Shutterfly charges 86 cents per card for the same quantity.