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11 Ways to Shop at Sam’s Club Without a Membership

Updated: Mar. 14, 2022

A Sam’s Club membership costs as much as $100 a year if you opt for the Sam’s Plus card. Luckily, there are ways to benefit from this big box store’s perks for little—or no—cost to you.

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Florida Georgia Line's Tyler Hubbard, center, and Brian Kelley check out at Sam's Club in support of Outnumber Hunger, in Nashville, Tenn
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Find a shopping buddy

Know someone who already has an account? That’s all you need! You can accompany them on a shopping trip to Sam’s Club and take advantage of their membership. Of course, you’ll need to pay them back for your own groceries, but you’ll get the perks of the membership.

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Cashier Jillian Capko, second from right, helps customers at a Sam's Club store in Rogers, Ark
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Join a family member’s account

If that person with the account is a family member, you’re in luck. All Sam’s Club members can add a complimentary card to their account specifically for family members. You’ll get your own card and won’t need to be with the primary cardholder to shop.

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Female African Optometrist Doing Sight Testing For Patient In Hospital

Stop in for an eye check-up

That’s right, you don’t need a membership in order to get an exam from the optometrist at your local Sam’s Club. However, the only thing you’ll be able to take with you is your prescription. If you need to buy glasses or contacts, you won’t be able to purchase them without a membership. Check to see if your insurance will cover the exam beforehand.

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Close-up Of Doctor Measuring Patients Blood Pressure With Stethoscope

Visit the pharmacy

An eye exam isn’t the only medical testing you can get done at Sam’s Club. Locations with a pharmacy offer free quarterly health screenings that don’t require a membership. These take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the second Saturday of January, April, July, and October, according to the club’s website. Among the tests you can have done are blood pressure, body fat percentage, blood glucose, and cholesterol screenings.

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Closeup hand of woman pharmacist with prescription and medicine at drugstore
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Pick up your prescriptions

While you can’t buy prescription optical products without a membership, non-Sam’s Club members can buy prescription drugs. Plus, you won’t be charged an extra fee if you come in to buy medication and have a note from your doctor.

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Woman buying and holding bottle of wine
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Buy alcohol

Consider this your excuse to pick up a bottle of wine for dinner. Because Sam’s Club has a public liquor license, it can’t prohibit non-members from buying alcohol at their stores, cheatsheet.com reports. However, liquor laws vary by state, so you may want to double-check this policy before making a booze run. Make sure you know these money-saving secrets from America’s top grocery stores.

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Shopper Leslie Corridon pushes a cart at a Sam's Club store in Rogers, Ark
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Get a Guest Membership Pass

This one-day pass lets you shop for free, but you get hit with a 10 percent fee on all purchases at checkout. Nevertheless, you don’t have to pay for a full year’s membership.

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Milan, Italy - November 1, 2017: Sam's Club logo on the website homepage.
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Shop online

Anyone can shop at SamsClub.com regardless of whether you have a membership. However, since this also comes with a 10 percent surcharge, we’d suggest avoiding large purchases.

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Rear view of a young couple deciding what to buy in a concession stand at the movie theater

Eat at the concession stand

Big box stores like Costco are known for their cheap, hot meals that attract hungry shoppers, and Sam’s Club is no different. Luckily, you don’t need to be a member to chow down on their concession stand meals, which include pizza slices, cheeseburgers, and even churros. You can also get a hot dog/soda combo for $1.50—very interesting, considering one of their biggest competitors has the exact same deal. Here’s the real reason Costco sells $1.50 hot dogs.

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A customer walks past a sign promoting Sam's Club MasterCard credit cards at a Sam's Club store store in Bentonville, Ark
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Get an add-on membership

You may eventually start to feel guilty for constantly nagging your friend with the Sam’s Club membership about when she’s making her next trip. If and when that happens, you can ask to become an add-on cardholder on their existing account. That way, you get all the perks at a discounted price of $40 a year (down from $100 annually for a Sam’s Plus membership and $45 for a regular Club membership).

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Shopping carts in a corral in the parking lot of a Sam's Club store in Concord, N.H
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Go to an open house

At a Sam’s Club open house, you get to shop without the price of a membership, and the big box store pulls out all the stops in hopes of attracting potential new members. Win-win! Follow Sam’s Club on Facebook and watch for notices about upcoming open houses near you; they happen several times throughout the year.

Next, check out these things you can do at Costco without a membership.