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Thread: Is Costco worth it?

  1. #1

    Is Costco worth it?

    A Costco opened this fall about a mile from my house. In the past, I never considered joining b/c I didn't have room to store a week's worth of stuff, much less anything in bulk. Our new house has ample room for storing staples. Is membership worth the cost?

    (sigh...if we would only get a Trader Joes....)

    Thanks!

    mary jo

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Liverpool, NY
    Posts
    1,476
    We don't have Costco here, just BJ's & Sam's, but I can absolutely tell you that it's worth it, especially if the Costco has a gas station. I paid $3.21 a gallon at BJ's yesterday, and the price at the Sunoco down the road was $3.35.

    My in-laws have a Costco near them in California & they buy their gas there all the time.

    If you have plenty of storage space, then go for it. I have a little space in my basement where I store all the toilet paper, paper towels & Kleenex.
    Sue

    I'm here with my best friend... my fork!! ~ Paula Deen

    If you always keep your head up, you'll never find that lucky penny on the sidewalk.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Renton, WA
    Posts
    6,588
    In my opinion, it is very worth it. We pay $50 per year for our membership. We buy meat in bulk because we have a large freezer in our garage and a FoodSaver. I buy the Pacific Organic chicken broth in a six pack of 32oz boxes and store them. A 40lb bag of Lamb & Rice dog food is $19. Since I bake a good amount of cookies, large bags of sugar and brown sugar are a good value, as well as chocolate chips and Craisins. Non-food items like toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, toilet bowl cleaner, Soft Scrub, contact lens products, vitamins, feminine products, etc are also good values for us. I also buy my FoodSaver bags at Costco, and one box lasts me for a year!

    Others use their memberships for electronic items, furniture, clothes, TV's, office products and such, but that's not a priority for us. We use it for food items, cleaning products and personal items mainly. And for some reason, we never leave Costco without a HUGE rotisserie chicken for $4.99! I can always find something to do with that chicken for the week!
    ~ "The right shoe can change your life...."- Cinderella ~

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    1,204
    Depends on what you are going for. Don't join for the gas since the one by me fluctuates from .02-.03 cents less to .09 cents less. Since you only live a mile away though it would be worth it. The place is packed full on the weekends though.

    The savings on the electronics/clothes/books will pay for itself though.

    Make a list when you go there its very easy to walk out with a bunch of unplanned purchases.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Hollywood, California
    Posts
    10,928
    It depends on what you are buying in my experience.

    Ironically one can go into a Costco without a card but need a card to buy stuff so you could see.

    Even WITH storage some of the stuff is just too massive in quantity for normal use.

    Meats and chicken breasts are good quality and well price -- I really like the FF boneless chicken breasts that are in individually sealed packages of 2 each at $2.99 a pound.

    There is the "buying ridiculous items" syndrome which Costco counts on in terms of sales.

    Personally I would check it out at the time you would be shopping as no amount of savings could get me to go to Costco on the weekend.
    Some days I pray for Silence, Some days I pray for Soul,
    Some days I just pray to the God of Sex and Drums and Rock 'N' Roll.

    Meatloaf

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Danvers, MA
    Posts
    6,925
    I split my membership with a friend so it's only $25. I only have my membership for contact lenses. They are the absolute cheapest anywhere, inlcuding online companies. It is worth my membership (and would be worth the full-price membership) that's how cheap the contacts are.

    I find that most food items are comparable price-wise to supermarket items. They may have different foods sometimes, but always in too big a bulk for me. Sometimes it's a bit cheaper but not enough to make it worth trying to find storage in your house/fridge/freezer.

    Sometimes if you're having a large crowd and don't want to buy multiple bags of chicken wings, for example, it is nice to buy 1 10-pound bag rather than several smaller packages but in this example, the price/pound is the same at both my supermarket and at Costco so I wouldn't buy them just for us.

    As to appliances/computers, they may be cheaper if they happen to have what you are looking for.
    The term "working mother" is redundant.

  7. #7
    DmOrtega Guest
    We think it's worth the money and with what we buy there, mostly consumables, we do save money. We buy gas, toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, laundry, dish, and bath soap, bread, tortillas, salsa, smoked salmon, fruit, cheese, roasted chicken, meat, fish, books, lightbulbs, envelopes, notepads, school supplies, glasses, pictures, clothes, seasonal item like easter baskets, gardens gloves that I love, and just recently I bought 5 solar outdoor lanterns for $80, .... I could go on and on.

    I'm very impressed with the quality of what they carry, like the organic products. Everything we have ever purchased has been of top quality.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Gracie View Post
    I split my membership with a friend so it's only $25. I only have my membership for contact lenses. They are the absolute cheapest anywhere, inlcuding online companies. It is worth my membership (and would be worth the full-price membership) that's how cheap the contacts are.
    Ditto, except for my prescription glasses rather than contacts. Between that and buying TurboTax at Costco each year, which usually comes with a rebate, free e-file and free state software, the cost of membership is more than covered.

    We generally buy only non-perishable food there, and only things we would be buying anyway.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Nebraska
    Posts
    1,509
    Does Costco take most credit cards? I have thought about it...I had a Sam's membership that I let go and am thinking about Costco instead of Sams.

    Pam

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    1,204
    Just American Express and their card. You can use a Visa / MC on their website though

    or you can use debit.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Nebraska
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    Thanks for your information on credit cards! I guess I'll stick to Sam's as cash is too difficult, I don't want to write checks and I don't want another credit card.

    Pam

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    In my heaven on earth
    Posts
    13,242
    You can use a visa/mc check card though as long as you use the pin and don't sign for it. I much prefer Costco for many reasons over Sams.


    "Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself" ~ George Bernard Shaw


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    2,716
    We belong to Sam's, although it's been awhile since I've been. The nearest one is quite a distance, IMO. When we do go it's to refresh our supply of non-perishable items: TP, paper towels, canned goods (tomatoes, spices, laundry detergent, etc. ). I think it does save money but, again, you do have to have space to store it. Fortunately, we have a space in our basement.

    Our freezer isn't large enough to accomodate large amounts of frozen foods.

    My DH marks each item with a marker with the date each item was bought. We had a bulk supply of dryer sheets that lasted 2 years. It makes you realize how long items last when bought in bulk.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Arlington, WA
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    5,649
    If you get a costco Amex card you get 3%to 5% back on gasoline purchases, and I think 1% on all other purchases in an annual rebate. I buy almost all my gas there now and have arranged my other shopping around the costco location. I believe the card is free but you need to apply for it. makes gas purchase extremely easy and I save .20-.25 a gal even before the rebate.

    I save way more than membership cost. In addition to cleaning products and paper goods they have great prices on printer cartridges and cell phones. the produce prices for lettuce, spinach, broccoli, green beans, mushrooms are (guessing) 20% of what you'll pay in a reg supermarket. quantities are large so you need a plan to use it though or your savings evaporate. I buy cheese and portion it out with the food saver. Cereal,pea nut butter, contact lens supplies. toothpaste. canned tomatoes and chicken broth mouthwash. shampoo. bar soap. Dw detergent. clothes detergent. Rinse agent. prescription drugs. Go with a list and stick to it until you are sure you can use "whatever".

    I appreciate buying cleaning products, paper goods and soap products maybe twice a year. .
    "If the world were a logical place, men would ride side saddle." Rita Mae Brown

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Central Florida
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    1,065
    I just got my Sam's bill in the mail yesterday. I am seriously thinking about canceling my membership. $100 annually??? I wish I had a Costco nearby. Like Robyn, I prefer them and it looks like their membership fee is half Sam's.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Liverpool, NY
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    Quote Originally Posted by manetta View Post
    I just got my Sam's bill in the mail yesterday. I am seriously thinking about canceling my membership. $100 annually??? I wish I had a Costco nearby. Like Robyn, I prefer them and it looks like their membership fee is half Sam's.
    Manetta, I just went to the Sam's Club website to check out the various membership levels... it looks like you have an Advantage Plus membership?

    I have the regular Advantage membership, which is only $40. Are the extra perks worth the additional $60 you have to pay?

    I also belong at BJ's, which has a lot of locations in Florida. I actually prefer BJ's to Sam's but I belong to both so that my kids can be my secondary members at no charge to them. Plus my oldest son only had Sam's nearby when he was in college.
    Sue

    I'm here with my best friend... my fork!! ~ Paula Deen

    If you always keep your head up, you'll never find that lucky penny on the sidewalk.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Atlanta
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    1,450
    Quote Originally Posted by manetta View Post
    I just got my Sam's bill in the mail yesterday. I am seriously thinking about canceling my membership. $100 annually??? I wish I had a Costco nearby. Like Robyn, I prefer them and it looks like their membership fee is half Sam's.
    I just got my Sam's membership bill and it is only $40 (it had been $34, but just went up to $40). There are two cards attached to the membership - my neighbor and I went in together a long time ago. Not sure if non-family members can share a membership anymore. I know you can't at Costco). Do you have some kind of special membership?

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Richmond, TX USA
    Posts
    2,218
    My sister has a COSTCO business membership and ours is tied to hers. She gets a rebate on all that we buy that pays for our membership. The COSTCO is about 20 miles from the house, but they are building a new one about 5 minutes from my office.

    SSM
    Now Robin's Mom too...10/21/02

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Dadeville, AL
    Posts
    12,741
    One of the reasons I have heard that Costco is better than Sam's is because of their money-back guarantee. Some here on the board have purchased washers, vacuums, etc. -- even mattresses because of that guarantee.
    Kay
    I'm a WYSIWYG person -- no subterfuge here!

  20. #20
    We have the Executive membership ($100) and we get a rebate every year that covers the cost of the membership, plus about $40 or so. I try not to calculate how much that means that we spend at Costco on a yearly basis.

    I use my regular bank debit card - no problems there (I never have cash or checks either). We have an AmEx we could use as well. I don't usually get gas there b/c it's just as cheap or maybe a few pennies more at HEB, and I'd rather support a local store (Costco is in Austin - we're in a small town in the suburbs).

    We buy:
    • WINE (must be most of our budget) and beer for parties
      sharp cheddar cheese, goat cheese, laughing cow (we're so high-brow)
    • meat (organic ground beef, filets and tenderloins, pork tenderloin, lamb, frozen shrimp and boneless, skinless chicken breasts, lobster). Their rotisserie chicken is the one thing I've bought that I can't stand - it's too salty or something. I wish I liked it, b/c it sure is cheap!
    • eggs
    • frozen veggies and berries
    • bottled water (occasionally - trying to cut back on that)
    • contacts ($60 for the YEAR in disposables )
    • books and the occasional magazine
    • tires
    • paper towels / TP / kleenex
    • plants (orchids, bulbs, fresh flowers)
    • electronics occasionally - b/c of their warranty, even if the price is slightly higher
    • butter, pecans and chocolate chips during Christmas baking season
    • diced organic tomatoes and whole tomatoes, peanut butter,
    • vitamins, allergy meds, soap, razor blades
    • random things like steak knives, DVDs, toaster ovens, etc.


    It's gotten to the point where people no longer ask where I got such-and-such. They just point, and say, "Target or Costco?"

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    South Lake Tahoe, CA
    Posts
    3,250
    Our nearest Costco stores are 45 minutes east and 100 minutes west. Although we use our Costco less than a family would, it is still worth it for us for gas and a variety of other items. I am also a fan of the Amex card (which also serves as your membership card). We like the perks as Valerie so clearly explained.

    Kay

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    NJ USA
    Posts
    3,222
    We have several Costco stores around. We have an executive membership, and get 2% back on our Am Ex purchases over the year. I buy the boneless chicken breast, pork loin (which I cut into chops and smaller roasts, and package with the FoodSaver), and pork tenderloin (for WW Take Out Tonight recipes). I get bulk paper towels, toilet tissue, and facial tissue. I frequently get frozen fish and some convenience foods. The wine and liquor is a good price, as are CDs, DVDs and books, if they happen to have what you want. I also really love their packages of fresh, cut-up pineapple and (when I can find it) mango.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Central Florida
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    Quote Originally Posted by suebear37 View Post
    Manetta, I just went to the Sam's Club website to check out the various membership levels... it looks like you have an Advantage Plus membership?

    I have the regular Advantage membership, which is only $40. Are the extra perks worth the additional $60 you have to pay?

    I also belong at BJ's, which has a lot of locations in Florida. I actually prefer BJ's to Sam's but I belong to both so that my kids can be my secondary members at no charge to them. Plus my oldest son only had Sam's nearby when he was in college.
    My card says "Advantage", not "Advantage Plus". I called Sam's Customer Service and they said at some point I must have upgraded my membership. I don't recall doing it. I guess the difference between Advantage and Advantage Plus is a medical discount card that I don't have either. To downgrade my membership, I have to visit my local Sam's Club. I am definitely canceling. :mad:

    We do have a new BJ's fairly close. I am going to check them out. I like that I can use my Am Ex there.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Upstate New York
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    980
    Another BJ's Member here. I think our membership is about $45 a year. And I think it's worth it. Some of their prices are about the same as the Wegmans, but I don't like running to the store all the time and sometimes having a bigger package of something means you don't have to. I love BJ's meats (ground round, flank steak, pork loin). We buy our shampoo, vitamins, cat food and cat litter, sports drinks, bottled water, coffee beans, canned fruit and veggies, cereal, and sometimes fresh fruit and vegetables as well.

    The nice think about BJ's (don't know if Costco does this or not) is that they send out a "journal" about once a month and it usually has some good coupons in it, along with a monthly coupon booklet. I don't always need the stuff the coupons are for, but sometimes I hit the jackpot. About a month ago, I needed some stuff, the coupon book came in the mail and I cut out the ones I needed and went shopping. With the coupons I saved $26! True, I spent over $100, but I probably would've bought the stuff anyway.

    So if Costco does that too, it's definitely worth it.
    barbara-cook

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Mount Prospect, IL
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    338
    Quote Originally Posted by leightx View Post
    We have the Executive membership ($100) and we get a rebate every year that covers the cost of the membership, plus about $40 or so. I try not to calculate how much that means that we spend at Costco on a yearly basis.
    We are in the same boat. Our rebate is always $120+, so I try not to think about how much we are spending either but I love it. I also think they have great customer service...

    Ex: My loving DH bought me a beautiful gold necklace, but I kindly told him after Christmas that while I appreciated the gesture, I probably wouldn't wear it very often (because it really wasn't my style) and wanted to return it because he spent alot of $$$. Of course, he lost the reciept, but we went to the store and they returned it no questions asked. They looked up our account and gave us the refund.

    Another friend of mine bought an i-pod from costco and had issues with it after 7 mos. She brought it back in with the reciept and they exhcanged it for her no problem.

  26. #26
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    3,453
    One item I haven't seen mentioned here is milk - we can get it at Costco for $1+ cheaper a gallon than at the grocery store, which easily pays for our membership.
    Anne

    When you start to cook, as when you begin to live, you think that the point is to improve the technique until you end up with something perfect, and that the reason you haven’t been able to break the cycle of desire and disillusion is that you haven’t yet mastered the rules. Then you grow up, and you learn that that’s the game.

    Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker

  27. #27
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Austin, Texas
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    2,959
    Quote Originally Posted by beacooker View Post
    One item I haven't seen mentioned here is milk - we can get it at Costco for $1+ cheaper a gallon than at the grocery store, which easily pays for our membership.
    I agree. Costco isn't always cheaper than the regular grocery on every single item, but it is 30% cheaper for milk here. Costco is $3-something and it is well over $4 at the grocery. Fortunately, it is on our way home from work, so it is easy to stop for our weekly lettuce and milk purchase. Not that those are the ONLY things we buy - heavens, no! .

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