Is a Costco membership worth it?

by Kristina Tahnyak on February 2, 2015 · 8 comments

Is a Costco membership worth it? Well, not always. It depends on your situation and if your savings cover the fee. Find out more..

Good morning Dinks.  I have a question, should a household of two people have a Costco membership?  The reason I’m asking is because this week a woman in my office was eating a granola bar that I’ve only ever seen abroad and when I asked her where she bought it she said “At Costco”.

I found this to be a bit unusual because I always thought a Costco membership was for big families and people who owned small convenience stores; she lives with her husband and they don’t have any kids.  I just never thought Dinks would have a membership to a bulk store, especially if you had to pay a fee for it – but I guess I was wrong.

Do you have a Costco membership?

When Costco first came out it was called The Price Club and it was all the rage in my hometown.  People either loved it or hated it.  My mom got a membership for our family of four and kept it after my parent’s divorce.  Her new husband doesn’t believe in paying a fee to go somewhere and spend more money so he avoids Costco at all costs (pun intended).

I personally don’t shop at Costco for a couple or reasons; the first being Nick and I don’t have a car and the second reason is because I don’t think it’s worth it.  However maybe I’m wrong.  My co-worker does all her shopping – from groceries to household items – at Costco.  Every first Friday of the month she goes shopping and buys everything she’ll need over the next few weeks from paper towels to ground beef.  She even buys fresh produce there, but of course it doesn’t last all month.

Is it really cheaper to buy in bulk?

I’m a big fan of buying in bulk because I believe in paying the cheapest price per unit for the best possible quality.  I will shop at Wal-Mart and Target and buy 12 rolls of Bounty if they’re on sale AND if I have a coupon.  This is a great deal and it’s guaranteed to last us until Bounty Paper Towels go on sale again.

Would I buy 24 rolls of Bounty if they were on sale?  I’m not sure.  On one hand we always need paper towels, but on the other hand where would I store 24 rolls of paper towels?  I think there is a very thin line between being a smart shopper and being a complete hoarder.

I love One-Stop-Shopping

This may be because I have to walk and take the subway when I shop or maybe it’s because I hate wasting time travelling from store to store.  I’m not sure, but either way a Costco membership ensures efficient one-stop-shopping. I like the idea of going to one place to get everything I need and then going straight home.

I also like to avoid crowds whenever possible, this is why I don’t shop on Saturdays – which I’ve come to understand is “Free Sample Day” at Costco.  I guess the benefits of a Costco membership is in the eyes of the beholder.  If you’re paying for something it’s best to get your money’s worth.  Costco also has a really outstanding return policy. You can return pretty much anything anytime (electronics have a 90 day cutoff).

Do you have a Costco membership? Is a Costco memberships worth it to you?

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 E.D. February 2, 2015 at 7:39 am

We’re DINKS and think it is worth it, but only in some areas:

Laundry detergent
Canned tuna
Peanut butter
Paper products (if you have storage space)
Razor blades
Some cheeses
Alcohol – we don’t drink but hear that it’s a great deal
Halloween candy

Also, if you throw a few parties a year, the other deals (especially produce) are worth it.

2 Kathy February 2, 2015 at 8:44 am

I don’t have a Costco or Sam’s Club membership because I don’t believe in having to pay to shop somewhere.

3 MrsK February 2, 2015 at 9:32 pm

We have a BJs membership…pays for itself just in bottled water (it’s a lot cheaper than the grocery store here, even if I stack sales & coupons). We also find good deals on kitty litter, boxed snacks and frozen foods, especially when stacking their coupons (I get a coupon book once a month plus they have extra coupon sheets at the store) with manufacturer coupons. I do better on toiletries and paper products with sales & coupons. Just because it’s in bulk doesn’t mean it’s a good deal, but we find it’s worth the fee.

I do get $10 off a year + an extra 3 months free through work, so that helps as well.

4 BeSmartRich February 2, 2015 at 9:42 pm

I love their good quality meats for reasonable prices and also detergent, canned food, peanut butter, ketchup, mayo etc… are all great food that we get from Costco. Based on what I read from Costco related articles, they don’t make more than 15% margin on what they sell. Considering what other grocery stores make keeping it under 15% is pretty awesome on my end.



5 Olga March 18, 2015 at 9:21 am

We’re a family of 3 and have a Sam’s Club Membership. We shop there at least once a week. I guess it helps that my husband works right across the road. :)

We eat a lot of produce, especially all kinds of berries and tomatoes. Nothing beats SC in that department – both taste-wise and price-wise, all year round, no matter what sales. Bananas are always(!) cheaper there than anywhere else. I use coconut oil for pretty much everything, we go through it fast. A 54 oz jar of cold pressed organic coconut oil is around $15 there. Impossible to beat! We also buy smoked salmon in SC. I love it in salads and on sandwiches. Comes in big filets. I cut it into pieces, put it in the freezer and defrost one small portion at a time. Best price, best availability. Rotisserie chicken – best quality, best price. Plus, the cheapest gas in town.

Of course there are things that are better priced elsewhere, especially if there’s a sale. Or you might want a certain brand that a wholesale club doesn’t carry. Or you don’t need huge quantities of something that you don’t go through fast enough. Or the said club is too far from where you live or work to stop by a few times a week. I guess it would all depend on everybody’s particular situation. But when I decide where to buy something, I don’t only consider the cost and the quality but the time it takes to have all the shopping done. Time is money too, you know. Bargain hunting and matching coupons with sale prices is a full time job in itself, I’ve been there. Sometimes it’s wiser to spend a certain amount of time on whatever it is you do for living and make $20 than spend the same amount of time bargain hunting to save $5. :)

6 Deb March 18, 2015 at 11:51 am

Kids are gone so it’s just the two of us now and we find Costco a worthwhile investment. Their organic products are excellent and at prices you can’t beat. The meat they sell is superior to any regular chain grocery store. Items, such as tuna, come in sizes not available in stores. Chicken of the Sea tuna comes in 7 oz cans vs 5 oz cans and sell for the same price. Plus they sell so much more than food. Additionally, you can use your Costco card for travel, car rental and other things. Check out their website. And best of all, you can split the membership cost with another family. Costco gives two photo id’s per membership, just have the main shoppers from each family go to Costco to purchase the membership and have their pics taken. This is all done at the same time.

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