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The Other Andy 05-05-2016 07:58 AM

Costco Membership?
 
Hello all,

There's a Costco very near me, and I've been toying with the idea of getting their basic ($55/year) membership. It's just my girlfriend & I though, so I'm not sure if we'd use it enough to make it worth it.

We'd definitely be going there for gas, and she loves to travel so their travel deals have her interested. I'd prefer to stock up on non-perishables in bulk, and there are a couple of bigger purchases I'd like to make this year (tires, laptop, desk, other office stuff [I'm setting myself up to take on more freelance stuff]).

Would a membership be worth it? The price seems pretty reasonable. How are their vacation packages?

UltArc 05-05-2016 08:19 AM

I can't speak for Costco, but I have experience with Sam's and BJs (the store darn it, not "that's what she said!" Lol).

I find that both don't actually offer deals, maybe slightly over a retail store, but not if you shop online or are a smart shopper. Both offered bulk, but the limited selection means there is often only a brand, maybe two. Usually I find what I need cheaper at WalMart or Kroger's. Travel packages are easy enough to find online, same with the other things you asked of.

No judgement! But I find those clubs are just for people who don't want to shop with the rest of us normies. I have a Sam's card now, because it pays for itself when I do the Groupon/whatever deal and the free stuff one gets. I only buy a specific snack there. They only have one flavor, but their price is 25 or so per bar less.

If you want to take the easy way for an okay deal (no judgement! You do you :) ), then go for it. Otherwise I'd say really check the exact pricing and see if it really is a deal. At least for Sam's, now, it isn't.

rustedgoat 05-05-2016 08:19 AM

I have one very close to me. The cheap lunch, rotisserie chicken, milk, eggs and free samples make it worth it for me.

Fat Charlie 05-05-2016 09:05 AM

I was with BJ's for a few years. Lots of products gave the appearance of savings, but either the price wasn't actually a deal or they only came in a variety pack loaded with flavors/types you didn't want to buy. Getting diapers and wipes by the case made up for a lot, though.

vskid3 05-05-2016 09:32 AM

Costco seems to have better fresh produce and more organic foods (if that's your thing) than Sam's. I try to go as infrequently as possible because it seems like we always end up spending at least $100 no matter what we went in for originally. Gas is the cheapest in town by about 10 cents, but I usually just fill up at the gas station close to us (which usually has the second cheapest gas). I got a pretty good deal on the Prius' tires from Costco, though I could have probably found a similar deal with some shopping around.

Xist 05-05-2016 10:55 AM

I have always enjoyed going to Costco and maintained my membership even when I was overseas. The people are helpful and the products are high-quality. One year I upgraded to Executive right before purchasing tires for Dad's truck and a laptop.

I still did not make back my money.

I read the other day that if a price does not end in nine it is marked down, although I wonder why they do not tell you.

Fat Charlie 05-05-2016 11:53 AM

They don't want to encourage you to wait until it's marked down for clearance. They want you to think everything's as low as it'll ever be and just buy it.

solarguy 05-05-2016 12:29 PM

Some items are a few percentage points cheaper, but you better like buying in bulk. I happen to like it b/c then I can shop less. Like 2/3 less. That's the big win for me.

The quality is often a notch better than at the typical big box stores. Sam's has the best salted nuts ever. The stuff I get at Wal-mart is older and has a stale taste. Are they cheaper per pound? No, unless you count the high volume/freshness factor.

Benedryl, prescription meds and the pizza and hot dogs for lunch probably make back my membership in year, or pretty close.

jamesqf 05-05-2016 01:06 PM

Laptop, or pretty much anything electronic, you can almost certainly get better/cheaper on-line. Better because the big box stores just carry mass consumer stuff. Try e.g. Newegg.

redpoint5 05-05-2016 01:11 PM

Probably not worth it, depending on what other options are near to you.

I bought a membership when they did their periodic promotion that gives you a free chicken, some batteries, cheap tuna, and something like $20 off the membership fee.

If I were to pay full price for a membership, I would need a big family and would then get the executive membership since it pays a percentage back, and the extra fee is refundable if you don't make back the fee in savings.

My roommate has a membership, so I'm on his account.

Just go shopping once a year with someone that has an account. Stock up on ibuprofen and other common drugs, cleaning supplies, etc. Just about everything else is more expensive than buying elsewhere, especially electronics. Some things are cheaper though. They have some excellent WR toilets that were $80 and perform better than units that cost $350+ at other stores. Synthetic oil is usually cheaper. Sometimes local utility rebates make things like LED bulbs cheap there.

Costco fuel is the cheapest around, and they are now TopTier certified, so the detergent quality is on par with Chevron, Texaco, Shell, Arco, etc


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