Why Should I Pay for a Costco Membership? Reviewed.com Has the Answer

August 26th, 2015 · 3 Comments

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of chatting with Dave Swanson, a writer at Reviewed.com, for an article he was writing about Costco.  I like talking about Costco of course, but his article is on one of my favourite topics too: is the Costco membership worth the price?  I could talk for quite some time on this topic because it is one of the things that I have had people ask me most frequently over the years.  There are so many ways to answer this question!  And I’ve probably used them all in the last decade to answer various people questioning me about the value of a Costco membership.

If you’re on the fence about getting or keeping your Costco membership, or know someone that is, then Dave’s article “Why Should I Pay to Shop at Costco?” is a great summation of exactly why Costco can be a good deal for people.  I really like that he points out that Costco isn’t just about buying bulk food products, like the giant jar of mayonnaise.  There are plenty of things you can get at Costco that aren’t in bulk really at all, or are things that don’t have a short shelf life.  But even if you’re not there for the food at all, there are also appliances, electronics, clothes, shoes, jewellery, office supplies, paper products, and a thousand other items to save your money purchasing.  And that doesn’t even include the tremendous deals that you can get from Costco’s other member benefits like prescription medication, optical services, hearing aids, travel, photo development, or the very popular auto program.  To prove his point, he’s got a great list comparing a nice variety of items that you can find great deals on at Costco when compared to other retailers.  I often find price comparisons are the most persuasive piece of evidence when people ask me about the usefulness of a Costco membership and it is hard to refute the actual numbers.

Of course, as I always say, and he quotes me in this article too, Costco isn’t necessarily for everyone.  Depending on your lifestyle and what you buy, the Costco membership might not really work for you.  Though, I do sometimes question people who say that to me because you can make up your membership fee when you purchase just a few things like eyeglasses, a new sofa, a rental car, steaks, various electronics, gas, or even clothing and accessories.   Plus with Costco you always have their great return policy to fall back on, and that goes for the membership fee too.  If you sign up for a membership and realize that it isn’t for you and you’re really not getting the benefit you wanted or expected, then you can get a full refund of your membership.  So really, what do you have to lose from signing up?

Dave has done a great job of presenting the case for a Costco membership, so be sure to check out his article.

Read the whole article:



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3 Responses so far ↓

  1. 1 Tonya P // 2015.08.27 at 2:13 pm

    I wish our Costco had gasoline, but it doesn’t. I also wish our Costco had more organic items. I sometimes watch Costco grocery hauls on YouTube and many of the stores in other areas have Organic Valley cheese and lots of organic fruit. We only seem to have bananas, salad mix, and apples. All of those are also available as conventional, so you can choose which you prefer to buy. We have had organic strawberries once this year and had organic blueberries a couple of times last year.

    Our eye exams and glasses cover our membership each year, even if we were to never set foot in the store for anything else. Before we wore glasses, the cat litter savings alone for the year was enough to cover the membership.

  2. 2 Mike // 2015.08.26 at 10:53 pm

    An important point not mentioned (or I missed) is fuel. Right now it’s more $0.20/gal cheaper than any non Warehouse. In Hawaii, my friend saw Costco was $0.70/gal. Even on the low end, a week of filling up the car breaks even before you go inside.

    My neighbor didn’t think it would worth it, but when he told me he needed a smartphone, the exact one he wanted was $50 less than Verizon, so he basically got a free year membership. I’m pretty sure he seems the value and renewed.

  3. 3 Greg // 2015.08.26 at 9:53 am

    Why should you … is easy if you can do math. If you save on a regular basis a fair amount more than the cost, then go for it.

    For me (single guy) the basic membership makes sense and I far out-save the fee. The exec membership when I do the math is on average at best a break even deal – I’d never save (get refunded) much more that the additional cost, and usually less, so I won’t bother. This year with a couple extraordinary purchases, however, I’d probably have saved an additional $8 … I think I’ll survive that financial hit … but I do wish that every time I check out a Costco there wasn’t some salesperson who sees this flag on their screen and think that I feel like tolerating their upsell nonsense. The last guy (2 weeks ago) I asked politely to drop the issue 3 times, and he kept back at it. The 4th time I was no longer polite.

    My preference for Costco in some ways is strong, but their pushy merchants, now pushy upsellers, and occasional serious lapses in service and living up to their commitments often weakens it. If not for their basically great monthly coupon deals, I’d likely consider forgoing the membership because despite the really good pricing, the experience there has been slowly degrading. It’s a bit relative, however, because the experience at the normal stores has also gone downhill too.

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