Last updated: August 4, 2023
- Beware Back-Dating
- Simulation Default Values
- Green Tea Example
- Our Spending at Sam’s Club
- Other Tips
- Summer Schedule
Have you ever wondered if you could save much money by stocking up in your last month of a warehouse club membership (e.g., Costco, Sam’s Club, BJ’s) and then waiting to rejoin some number of months later?
And is it worth the hassle of doing so?
I have been wondering about that for a LONG time now. My intuition said it might, but I really wasn’t sure, especially when you account for the time value of money.
For example, stocking up will mean that much less money is invested in your portfolio, which means that money can’t get any investment returns. BUT, by putting off the annual membership charge a bit, you also can keep that money invested for longer.
And if you wait to rejoin, you’ll also pay less on average for a membership over multiple years. If you pay for an annual membership, then stock up right before it expires such that you can wait 6 months before renewing membership, then you’ll save 33% on your membership fee over multiple years. You’d only pay for 2 years of membership fees over the course of 3 years. Or 10 years over the course of 15 years.
However, stocking up could mean spending quite a bit of money in your last month of the membership. And it does mean keeping careful track of your membership dates. And we’re also talking about $50 to $60 per year for membership fees, not thousands of dollars.
So what’s the optimal answer? And is it worth optimizing? Let’s find out.
(And strap yourself in: you’re looking at a ridiculous nearly 6000 word post below.)
As usual, we have a number of assumptions to address before diving into simulations and results.
- You have checked prices and confirmed you nominally save money by joining a warehouse club. E.g., if you’re spending $250/month ($3K/year) and saving 20% overall on those items vs your local grocery store, you’re saving $750/year – much more than the $50 to $60/year you’ll spend on the membership fee.
- You’re not an impulse purchase shopper. You get only what you need at the warehouse club. If you do make impulse purchases, then it’s a pretty sure bet that joining a warehouse club will be worse for your finances.
- You use 100% of anything you buy at warehouse clubs. If the larger quantities that warehouse clubs sell mean that you often get sick of the item or it goes bad before you use it fully, then you probably shouldn’t buy those things at a warehouse club. And maybe you shouldn’t be a member.
- Shopping at a warehouse club does not involve a substantial increase in your normal driving. E.g., the warehouse club is relatively close to a route you already take for commuting to work, etc. If you do have to drive much farther to regularly shop at a warehouse club vs closer alternatives, then make sure to include that in your calculations.
- You have the space to stock up as needed, and you won’t stock up more than your home can support. If the required stock-ups lead you to getting a larger home than you actually need, any savings with this stocking up strategy could easily be completely wiped out.
- You will calculate the maximum amount you can stock up that ensures nothing will go bad, based on your consumption rate, and you won’t go beyond that limit.
- All input and output dollar values shown below are in present-day dollars. So if you find yourself thinking “well what about inflation?”, then remember that we’re keeping everything in today’s dollars so that we don’t have to mentally account for higher prices in the future.
A big caveat to the “present-day dollars” assumption though: membership prices have historically not really kept up with inflation. For example, Costco last raised membership prices to the current price of $60 in June 2017. If the membership price had kept up with inflation, it would be about $75 today. Thus it would seem that memberships are actually getting cheaper over time. But to keep the math simpler and be conservative with our calculations, we’ll just assume the membership pricing stays constant in present-day dollars.
When I first started doing this analysis and writing this post, I assumed that you could let your membership expire and rejoin at any point, with a new membership anniversary always set to the new date you joined.
Later on though, I discovered (and kind of remembered) that all three main warehouse clubs (Costco, BJ’s, Sam’s Club) have policies that prevent people from letting their membership expire for short periods of time and not paying for that gap.
“Memberships renewed within two months after expiration will be extended 12 months from the expiration date. Memberships renewed more than two months after expiration will be extended for 12 months from the last day of the month of renewal.”
Sam’s Club has a slightly different policy, using “60 days” instead of “two months”, since a Sam’s Club membership can expire any day of the month (vs always the end of the month for Costco and BJ’s):
“A renewal initiated within sixty (60) days after your expiration date will extend your Membership for twelve (12) months from the expiration date. If your Membership has been expired for more than sixty (60) days, Sam’s Club has discretion to extend your Membership for twelve (12) months from the date you initiated the renewal.”
SO: if you try to do a membership gap of less than two months, these companies will just back-date your membership to the original start date, and you’ll see no savings.
That means if you’re wanting to let your membership expire to save on the membership fee, you’ll need to wait at least a couple months. And check very carefully the dates based on the company policy.
Fortunately, as you’ll see in the results section below, the optimal wait time is nearly always at least 3 months.
But if you really prefer to have a membership gap of less than two months, you do have a couple main options that I can think of:
- If you have convenient access to more than one type of warehouse club (e.g., Costco and Sam’s Club are across the street from each other, as they are here in Northwest Austin), you could just switch clubs each year (waiting however long you want before joining). This assumes you can get the same stuff you need at either store for a good price (e.g. diapers). However, if you join a more expensive warehouse club than you need (e.g. Costco at $60 instead of Sam’s Club at $50), and/or the prices are higher at one of the clubs, that could wipe out any savings with this strategy.
- Shop with a friend or family member (as long as they have a different address I think), alternating memberships each year. More of a hassle to do this though.
Simulation Default Values
We’ll start with some default values for our simulation, then vary some of them to see how the results change.
Since BJ’s fee of $55 is right in the middle, we’ll use that for our nominal membership fee.
Average Monthly Spend At the Club
In March 2022, the average monthly sales per customer was $371 at Costco, $261 at Sam’s Club, and $224 at BJ’s Wholesale.
Since $371 is much higher and both Sam’s Club and BJ’s are closer to the mid-200’s, I’ve used $250/month as the nominal monthly spend amount.
After-Inflation (Real) Annual Return On Investment (ROI)
We’ll use a default real annual ROI value, otherwise known as a “discount rate”, of 5% to account for the time value of money.
The simulation divides that ROI by 12 to do monthly propagation of the simulated assets (and yes, that’s an approximation, which is good enough for this analysis).
Some folks might argue that a discount rate closer to 1% would be more appropriate because of the “more certain” return for these savings, but I’m going to stick with 5% as the default value and we’ll look at higher and lower ROI values in the results below.
Price Discount Vs Other Stores
It’s important to compute the overall price discount rate for your collection of items vs buying them elsewhere, but I needed a nominal value to use in one of the analysis questions below.
A variety of organizations have looked at average discount rates for different categories of products, but I needed a single overall value. So I just picked 20%, because that was about the middle of the various rates I found for different categories.
Number of Years to Simulate
I picked 20 years for the simulation, just because that’s a nice round larger number of years to show long term trends. But of course a lot of things can change in your spending habits over a couple decades, so keep that in mind when considering the results below.
We’ll start by using the nominal simulation values provided above. I also use an initial balance of $50K for the portfolio, just to keep all the numbers above zero in the plots. But it really doesn’t matter in terms of comparing different scenarios. The difference in performance will be consistent, no matter what initial portfolio balance you select (even $0).
Let’s first take a look at how your balance changes over time if you never have any gaps in your membership, automatically renewing every 12 months:
It’s a bit tough to see, but if you look closely you can see how the balance jumps down a bit more every 12 months, revealing the membership fee deduction.
Now what if you stock up for a two month gap in your membership in the last month of your membership, then wait two months before rejoining?
You can see the large dips for the stock-up months and then bumps upward for the months when nothing is spent. Then the slightly larger drops for that first month when you pay for the annual membership.
The final balance in this scenario is $30,516, which is just $132 higher than the “no-gap” scenario above. So over 20 years you saved just $132! Ha! That is a pretty dang tiny impact for such a long simulation time.
Let’s now look at wait periods ranging from 0 to 9 months on a single plot. Remember the “Back-dating” warning above, so in practice you’ll probably have to wait at least two months, but I just want to show the trends here.
Unfortunately this view doesn’t really cleanly show how the different wait periods differ from each other. So let’s compute the difference for each wait period plot from the “no wait” plot:
In this plot, any values above $0 indicate savings vs just automatically renewing every 12 months. You can see a number of the plots do slowly creep above $0 over time, but they also can have really large spikes below zero during the stock up months.
To better look at the region around the x-axis ($0 diff), let’s zoom in:
If you look at which plots have the highest values above $0 towards the end of the simulation, it appears for this nominal scenario that it’s optimal to wait 3 to 4 months between renewals.
However, even over 20 years, you’re still looking at just a couple hundred dollars of savings by doing this waiting strategy. That’s not a huge amount of money for a couple decades worth of carefully tracking your membership gaps, even if that $200 is in present day dollars.
Now that result is for the nominal scenario inputs. We shall see below that the result can change quite a bit with different inputs.
Paying Higher Prices Instead of Stocking Up
Before we dive into changing the simulation inputs, let’s first confirm that it doesn’t make sense to pay higher prices during a membership gap instead of stocking up.
For our nominal price discount rate of 20%, that means you pay 25% more elsewhere.
(If X = (1-0.2)*Y, then Y = X / (1 – 0.2) = X / 0.8 = 1.25 * X)
If we simulate paying those higher prices during the membership gaps:
You can see how the results are clearly worse for every wait period. Over the course of 10 to 20 years, you can finish down quite a few thousand dollars. And the more months you wait, the further down you finish.
No Stocking Up, Just Not Buying During Gap
What if you don’t stock up and instead of paying higher prices elsewhere, you just don’t buy the items at all during your membership gap, anywhere? That may or may not be realistic for some or all of your purchases, but it’s still interesting to see how much you could save over a couple decades:
Over the course of 10 to 20 years, you can finish up quite a few thousands of dollars, with longer wait periods producing higher total final balances. Which is logical, as you’re spending overall less of course.
Different Membership Prices
Now let’s return to the nominal “stock up” scenario described above (“Simulation Default Values”), and let’s turn some of the knobs in that scenario.
First, let’s consider the impact of different annual membership fee. What if it’s $50 (Sam’s Club) instead of $55 (BJ’s)?
The results don’t change much, with the 3 to 4 month wait period still the best options over time. The improved balance is just a bit lower than the default nominal scenario.
What if the annual membership fee is $60 (Costco) instead of $55 (BJ’s)?
The results don’t change much, with the 3 to 4 month (maybe 5) wait periods still the best options over time. The improved balance is just a bit higher than the default nominal scenario.
Overall the membership fee amount between the three companies doesn’t have a significant impact.
Different Monthly Spending Rates
The next knob to turn is how much you spend at the warehouse club.
If you increase the monthly spend by 2x to $500:
Yikes, now only the 1 to 3 month wait periods show any improvement at all, and less than $100 of savings over 20 years.
That result suggests that higher spending makes it even less worth it to have gaps in your membership.
So what if we reduce our spending? Let’s cut the nominal spending by 50% to $125 per month:
Now all wait periods consistently beat the “no waiting” option (except for the stock-up months). Though the 3 to 5 month wait periods roughly match the top level performance of the longer wait periods, with the advantage that you don’t have nearly as huge drops in the stock-up months. And we’re still talking about just a few hundred dollars over 20 years.
Let’s cut the monthly spend by 50% again to $62.5:
Whoa! Now the long-term savings by having gaps in your membership are starting to be far more substantial. Also now for the first time we see a fairly linear progression from lowest wait times to highest wait times for the total savings. The 9 month wait period provides the largest savings, hitting nearly $600 after 20 years.
Let’s cut the monthly spend by 50% again to $31.25:
Fortunately the trend continues, with savings now even greater for all wait periods, and the longest wait periods providing the most savings.
What if we take spending down to $0? Obviously there’s no point in having a membership anymore, but let’s take a look so we can understand the limit of savings by having wait periods:
Again the trend holds all the way to the (ridiculous) limit of $0 monthly spending.
So in general, the less you spend each month at a warehouse club, the more beneficial it is to stock up in your last month and wait to rejoin.
Different Assumed Real ROI
The next knob to turn is the ROI you assume for the real (after inflation) time value of money in the simulation.
If you have a portfolio consisting entirely of equities, you can assume a roughly 7% real ROI:
In this scenario, the top performing results from waiting 2 or 3 months are slightly worse versus the nominal scenario, but overall the spread between the plots is larger, and the “wait 8 / 9 months” plots are now SIGNIFICANTLY worse.
If your portfolio consists of about 35% equities and 65% bonds, that roughly corresponds to an ROI of 3% (0.35 * 7% + 0.65 * 1% = 3.1%):
Very interesting! Now all the wait periods are beneficial, with the 3 to 8 month wait periods all about the same. So with a lower ROI, the benefits of waiting are far more significant. Or another way of putting it, the detriment to your portfolio growth of the large stock ups is less powerful.
What if you have just bonds in your portfolio, and you assume just a 1% real ROI?
These results continue the trend seen already: all wait periods are beneficial, with even greater long term savings. And the longer the wait period, the better.
And if you think about it, this makes sense: as the ROI value becomes smaller, the time value of money becomes less important.
So overall, the lower the ROI you assume (which you can nominally compute from your portfolio asset allocation), and the less you spend at the warehouse club, the more sense it makes to stock up and wait as long as you can to rejoin.
To do this, you’ll want to identify which product expires after the least amount of time, compute your consumption rate of that product, and then determine how many months you can buy in advance.
Green Tea Example
Now let’s consider a very concrete example, which is very near and dear to me.
Green tea has tremendous health benefits, and Bigelow’s Premium Organic Green Tea is by far the most delicious green tea I’ve had (the standard Bigelow Green Tea is also good, but not as good as this version). Every person I’ve seen try it has also been impressed – even folks that aren’t normally big green tea fans.
The above Sam’s club link shows that they sell a 160 count box for $9.67, or about 6 cents per packet. You can also find the same product in a 168 count box on Amazon for $20.95, or about 12.5 cents per packet. Finally, you can find the 160 count box at Walmart for $19.99, so about 12.5 cents per packet.
So buying at Sam’s club yields a slightly greater than 50% savings rate! Nice!
I try to have at least four packets (equivalent to four cups of green tea) each day on average, so that’s 40 days per box. Over the course of a year, that’s 365/40 = 9.125 boxes, so we’ll just go with nine boxes a year.
So if I buy nine boxes per year, saving $19.99 – $9.67 per box, that’s (19.99 – 9.67) * 9 = $92.88/year. And with a Sam’s club membership costing $50/year, I’m thus saving $42.88/year, even if all I do is just buy green tea there.
Before I look at how much I might save by stocking up on green tea in the last month of our membership, I need to consider how long the tea lasts on the shelf.
The three boxes I bought in June 2023 (when our membership expired) all have an expiration date of September 26, 2024. So I’ll assume that on average the tea is good for 15 months after I purchase it (though I suspect it will last quite a bit longer than that, especially since each tea bag is individually sealed, but we’ll be conservative with our calculations here).
So that means I can buy up to 15 months of tea boxes in advance (ignoring how much space that would take up in our house). At 40 days/box, that’s about about (365 + 3*30)/40 = 11.375 boxes. So let’s just say 11 boxes. At $9.67/box, that’s 11*9.67 = $106.37.
Now let’s run a simulation where the only thing I buy at Sam’s club is this green tea.
The relevant simulation inputs are thus:
- Annual Membership Fee = $50
- Monthly Spend At Warehouse = 9.125 boxes / year * $9.67 per box / 12 months = $7.35 / month
If I never have a membership gap, I’m down $4773 over 20 years.
If I wait one month between annual memberships, I’m down $4670 over 20 years, so I save $103 over 20 years.
If I wait 5 months between annual memberships, I’m down $4326 over 20 years, so I save $447 over 20 years.
If I wait the maximum 15 months between annual memberships (somehow finding room for 11 big boxes of tea in our house), then I’m down $3907 over 20 years, so I save $866 over 20 years.
So, if all we got at Sam’s club was green tea (and it’s not, especially with one kiddo still in diapers), and we were willing to buy and store 11 boxes of tea in our last month of membership each time we joined, then waited 15 months to rejoin, we’d save $866 over a couple decades, or about $43.30/year (on average). Not too bad. 11 boxes of tea is pretty crazy though. Guess we could find a corner in a closet somewhere…
We can also look at multiple wait periods plotted for this scenario:
Note how similar this plot is to the “$0 monthly” plot above, since we’re only spending $7.35 / month.
In both plots you might notice something interesting: for the one month wait period plot, the spikes reverse direction after 150 months.
Why does that happen?
It’s because at that point you’ve saved a full year’s worth of membership fees, so now the baseline is that full membership fee savings (plus investment growth over time), and it spikes up to 2x the annual membership fees depending on what month it is.
You can see this happens after 12 cycles for the one month wait period plot, 6 cycles for the two month wait period plot, etc. Thus the longer wait periods can rise much faster relative to the “no waiting” scenario, since they hit that “saved a full year of membership” status far faster and more frequently.
Our Spending at Sam’s Club
Obviously we didn’t just buy green tea at Sam’s club this past year of membership. So how much DID we spend?
We spent $204.20 in June 2023, $122.43 in April 2023, $95.58 in March 2023, $188.40 in January 2023, $127.06 in November 2022, $71.86 in October 2022, $40.03 in August 2022, $29.10 in July 2022, and $52.53 in June 2022 (when we first joined).
Grand total of $931.19, which averages to $77.60/month.
That spend rate is closest to the $62.50 monthly spend scenario above, which clearly shows the benefits of longer wait periods between memberships. That implies we should stock up for quite a few months during our last month of membership.
And I visited just nine times over the course of a year’s membership, with plenty of two month gaps. So at the very least it should be pretty easy for us to have a couple months gap between memberships, unless an urgent/unexpected needed purchase comes up that has the best price at Sam’s.
Another important note is that a very high percentage of our spending at Sam’s was on diapers, which we should be buying far less of as we potty train our daughter over the next year. So our spending at Sam’s should go down even further as a result, which further strengthens the argument for stocking up as much as expiration dates and our house’s storage capacity can provide.
If you’re not currently a member of a warehouse club but you’re thinking about trying one, keep an eye/ear out for membership sales.
We joined Sam’s Club in June 2022 for just $8 instead of $50 during a sale, and then we promptly got a $10 coupon as well. So it was actually effectively free for us to join. I also saw a $25 membership deal recently.
Even If You Don’t Stock Up: Visit Right Before Membership Renewal Date
Even if you can’t / don’t want to do a big stock up during the last month of your 12 month membership, if you tend to have at least two month gaps between your visits (see “Beware Back-Dating” section above), then you can still save on membership fees over multiple years by just being aware of your membership renewal date.
For example: if you go to Costco once a quarter usually, and you visit a few days before your membership expires, then you can easily wait 3 months before rejoining with essentially no extra effort or stock-piling. Over the long term that’ll save about 20% of your membership costs, or $12/year. (I get 20% as follows: every 5 years (60 months) you’d have four 3-month gaps (12 months).)
Or if you don’t live near any membership clubs, but once a year you travel to an area with one and you do a giant stock-up, then you can just go a few days early the next year right before your membership expires. Long term you’ll be cutting paying for membership effectively every other year, cutting your membership costs by half.
I recommend having several reminders on your calendar to visit right before your membership expires (making sure to not buy stuff you don’t actually need and not buy more than you can store / consume before it expires).
Turn Off Membership Auto-Renewal
Something that the membership warehouses try to push hard is having everyone keep their membership on auto-renewal, so your membership renews the day after it expires.
As a consumer though, there’s very little reason to do this. If you do visit within a couple months, you can just pay for the renewal at that time. And if you don’t end up visiting within a couple months (for all kinds of reasons, even if you normally go weekly), then you save the cost of membership for those two months!
The lone exception is if you really need the membership fee to hit the same month every year to fit within your budget. But hopefully your budget has more flexibility than that.
Make Your Price Comparisons Fair
When you’re computing how much money you’ll save by shopping at a warehouse club, make sure you’re comparing the warehouse products to the products you would actually buy at other stores.
Not the exact same brand. I know comparing the same brands would seem like the fairer comparison, but the products you’re actually choosing between are what you need to compare.
For example, the price for name-brand items at HEB is nearly always higher per unit than it is at Costco/Sam’s Club. However, the HEB generic versions of those products are nearly always lower in price than the name-brands at Costco/Sam’s Club.
Unfortunately some stores (Costco, Trader Joe’s) don’t publish their prices online/in-app, but fortunately some do (HEB, Sam’s Club), which makes price comparisons much easier.
Of course I’m assuming for this price comparison you can find equivalent versions of warehouse club products elsewhere, and I know that’s not true some of the time. Costco in particular is famous for having items you can’t find elsewhere.
However, I think it’s getting harder and harder to make that claim though, especially with Amazon’s mind-boggling selection (including Kirkland products!) (Affiliate link).
But not impossible: e.g., all raw cashews we’ve ordered via Amazon and purchased at Sam’s Club are terrible, so for a while Costco was the only place we could buy decent quality cashews. Fortunately we eventually found good cashews at a good price at Trader Joe’s.
Consider Generics and Coupons At Other Stores
Getting back to generic products, we’re totally fine with generic HEB products 99% of the time. And most of the time they are cheaper per unit than any name-brand equivalent at Costco/Sam’s club.
For those kinds of products, the only way Costco/Sam’s Club can offer lower prices is if they have their OWN generic brand (e.g., Kirkland, Member’s Mark, etc.). So you’ll have to see what’s available.
If over time you find that every item you got at a warehouse club can now be found less expensively (or even at the same price) as a generic product elsewhere: poof! Your reason to have a membership is now gone.
And if you’re willing to deal with coupons, and there are good coupons regularly at other stores for the items you buy at warehouse clubs, then again you can completely eliminate the need for a warehouse club membership.
And every few years you might want to try a generic equivalent that you didn’t like before, or from a store you haven’t considered before. There’s a good chance you might be pleasantly surprised (or you can hopefully return it if not).
For example, we avoided buying generic tissue for many years, instead buying Kleenex brand in bulk from Costco because it was so much better than the generic brands we’d tried in the past. But one day we decided to try the HEB generic tissue, and we were super impressed! Boom, another thing we no longer need at Costco/Sam’s club.
And yes, I know we’re spoiled by HEB.
Here are the top level take-aways I’ve gathered from the above analysis:
1. The less you spend at warehouse clubs, the more worth it is to stock up and have a gap in your membership. Run the numbers for your spending though.
2. The lower the ROI you assume (e.g., if you have a higher bond allocation in your portfolio), the more worth it is to stock up and have a gap in your membership.
3. Assuming you do save enough money via lower prices at warehouse clubs to at least offset the membership cost, it does not seem to be worth buying products at higher prices elsewhere to reduce your membership cost over time.
4. If having a membership gap results in just not buying unnecessary items, that can be very beneficial financially.
5. For many scenarios, including the nominal scenario I created from national averages, you’re not looking at much savings by having membership gaps. Especially for the long period of time you’d need to see more significant savings. So if you find this optimization a big hassle, it’s not a big deal to skip it.
6. Green tea is delicious and will improve your health and you should start drinking it right away. (OK, that didn’t come from the above analysis, but it’s very true.)
Overall, do I really need to be stressing about this? Not really. We could easily afford to just buy a membership and renew it every year.
And do most people need to stress about this? Is it really going to make that big of a difference? No, not really I suspect.
But, I still like this analysis for a variety of reasons:
- I love the optimization, even if it doesn’t produce big savings.
- I confirmed to myself that I’m not missing out on big savings if I don’t optimize like crazy on warehouse memberships.
- I love showing others how to optimize, and giving them ideas for further optimization.
- I like that it makes you much more conscious of your spending.
That last reason is likely the most valuable of all. If the exercise of optimizing your warehouse club membership forces you to better track your expenses, that will pay incredible dividends.
A gap in your membership can also be a nice forcing function for you to figure out if what you buy at warehouse clubs are things you really want/need, which can often lead to significant reductions in wasteful spending. It’s a nice way to counter the psychological tricks used by the warehouse clubs to get you to spend more, which could save you far more than optimizing membership gaps.
Finally, remember to not let perfection be the enemy of good enough. If it’s too challenging to determine/predict exactly how much you’ll consume per month, or if you’re not sure if you’ll still want certain items more than a few months into the future, then just stock up for those few months instead of longer periods. You’ll still probably come out ahead (assuming your spending pattern aligns with the beneficial results above), even if it’s only a little.
I’ve placed the analysis code I used to generate the above plots in the EYFI github repo, which you’re welcome to download and run yourself if you’d like to plug in your own values or just play around with different inputs.
When I get more time, I will also place an embedded Python interpreter here as well, so you can run the analysis directly from this page.
This has been the first summer I’ve worked a half-time job and had my son home from school (and not in daycare), so I knew I would have less time for working on content. And that has definitely proven true.
But I’ve also gotten to do a lot of really fun things with my son this summer, and spend a good deal of time with him. I try to remind myself that’s what’s really important overall.
So, I now accept that I’ll likely just have less time for creating EYFI content during summer school breaks for the foreseeable future, at least until our kids are substantially older. And that’s a tradeoff that seems really worthwhile.
Fortunately he’ll be headed back to school in just a couple weeks!