Is a Costco membership worth the price?
Short answer: Yes
Long answer: As with most things, it depends. First off, a basic Costco membership costs $50 annually. The savings opportunities you can find at Costco will typically make up for your $50 membership fee within one or two shopping trips. Typically you’ll find gas prices at Costco are upwards of $.20 cheaper per gallon than your average gas station, that in itself should cover the yearly cost of a membership.
Costco is a great store for anyone who uses a lot of the same thing. Whether it’s shampoo, trash bags, or bagels, if you use a lot of the same product then a Costco membership is a good solution for you. For example, I eat a lot of chicken. Like a whole lot. Every time I go to Costco I buy roughly 20lbs of chicken. Now even if I only save $.10 per lb of chicken at Costco versus another store I’ll save $2 every time I buy 20lbs of chicken, which works out to be about every two weeks. Costco is all about letting the small savings add up over time. $.10 here, $2 there and sooner or later you’re saving $30-40 every time you go to the store.
Just remember though, just because it’s discounted or cheaper doesn’t mean you should buy it. Costco doesn’t stay in business by people buying only what they need and using it efficiently. Plan ahead buy only what you know you’re going to use and don’t waste things. Check expiration dates and learn to buy in bulk and freeze for later.
Reasons you would want a Costco membership:
– you eat/use a lot of the same thing; think batteries, you may not use them all right now but you’ll always need them later on
– you don’t mind spending more now to save later
– you don’t mind having to shop at multiple stores as long as it’s in the name of savings; you’ll save on a bunch of products at Costco but chances are you won’t find everything you need
– you throw parties throughout the year; you’ll save a ton of money over regular stores by being able to buy party supplies (cups, plates, drinks, platters etc.) in large quantities
Reasons you wouldn’t want a Costco membership:
– you’re brand loyal; Costco may only sell one brand of a product so you have to be willing to ditch your current brand if they don’t have it
– you’re bad about expiration dates
– you’re wasteful; throwing things in the garbage doesn’t save you money
– you get tired of the same food/drink/flavor easily; buying in bulk can be cheaper but can also mean you’ll be eating Honey Nut Cheerios for awhile
– you’re shopping for small or unique items; Costco is a wholesale grocer so you’re not going to find a lot of the items a traditional grocery stores has therefore you may not be able to do all of your grocery shopping at Costco
Here are a few more tips on how to get more out of your next trip to Costco:
– plan your trip around refueling your car; it would be silly to buy gas elsewhere during the week if you’re going to be at Costco later on
– plan ahead; wandering the aisles without a plan leads to spending money in the wrong place
– plan meals; planning meals ahead of time will give you a clearer picture of what and how much to buy
– check for discounts; there are often items in the store that are further discounted
– move with a purpose; time is money, you could be doing something else more productive besides wandering around Costco