Here's how to shop at Sam's Club without a membership

Sometimes it can be tempting to join a discount warehouse like Sam's Club just so you can shop in bulk. Not only does that mean less trips to the grocery store, but it also means you could save money on some items in the long term. Though you have to be smart about what you buy in bulk, there is a way to skirt buying a membership while picking up the items you need.

If you're someone who finds it easy to use bulk items like paper goods, canned goods, or laundry detergent among other shelf-stable items, then it might be worth buying a membership (via Coupons). However, if you can't use everything often enough to warrant more than a couple of trips to the store per year, a guest membership might be the perfect solution for you. 

To shop at Sam's Club with a guest membership, all you have to do is visit the website. When you sign up as a guest, you'll essentially have a 24-hour window to shop online through the website (via Sam's Club).

The catch is all in your location

Naturally, there is a catch to just how sweet this deal could be for you. Typically, if you use a guest membership at Sam's Club, you will end up paying more for the items you buy. Those who shop at the retailer without a regular membership are charged a 10 percent service fee. That obviously adds up quickly, but depending on your shopping needs, it might be worth it.

The loophole to this catch depends on your location. Those who shop at Sam's Clubs in California, South Carolina, or Elmsford, New York are exempt from this 10 percent charge. That means all of those fortunate frugal shoppers can get the same products for the same price as members as long as you shop online. Keep in mind shopping online this way means products are shipped to you from Sam's Club, so there's no way to arrange store pickup without a regular membership. That means no last-second purchases if you need them immediately.

So, do your homework and consider if occasional guest membership shopping is the right fit for you.