Do You Think a Costco Membership Is Worth It?

I have had warethouse memberships since the 80’s, including Price/Pace, Sams and Costco. At present Costco is my only choice. Being in the mid-Pacific, we pay more for many items because of shipping logistics and we are a tourist location. Fuel costs are high too.

Costco here offers a reasonable cost for items and in some cases, a real bargain. An example from this week is Kings Hawaiian Sweet Rolls normal price is 2 packages for the price of 1 pakage at Walmart. Costcos rotisserie chicken is half the price of local (vendor at the side of the road) chicken.

Before COVID, Costco was $1 a gallon cheaper than the next higher station. Recently that gap is a lot narrower. Still it saves me money for gasoline for the farm and ethanol-free gas and diesel that I use for the farm.

I keep an eye out for deals and during a remodel, found LED lights for my ceiling at over 90% off.

There are a couple of things which are not a deal such as xases of soda. In an unusual condition, some of the meat offered is a lot more expensive for me at Costco. I helped a neighbor set up a Co-op for pet food. We buy meat directly from the producer and many of the items are a lot cheaper and we don’t have to buy in bulk. We might pay $8 for something sold for $12 at Costco. Our meat is USDA inspected, local beef (unlike Costco). The same beef goes to restaraunts, supermarkets and even our local hospital. All of them pay more than I do.

I was working for a (gasp) timeshare organization (I was front office and we did not sell timeshares there or else I never would have set foot there). Each Monday morning we had an orientation where activity vendors came to explain their trips and events. I would go to Costco on Sunday and buy fruit, melons, bagels, pineapples, sweet rolls and so on. I used my credit card and was reimbursed for the cost, thus making a ‘boatload’ of extra money in my rebate check from Costco. Oh, and a few times I had to buy air conditioners and other items for room at places like Lowes and Home Deport. Those charges also went on the Costco card.

I buy items that can be frozen like extra milk. In some cases I can buy items and exchange them for other things with a neighbor. When I buy a Caeser salad I end up having to eat it fairly quickly or it goes bad. If I buy a large bag of frozen vegetables I tend to eat more of them to try to use them up. Although that doesn’t always happen, it certainly forces me to eat more vegetables than I normally would, so I guess that is a good thing. Compare that to the 5 pounds of assorted mini bars of candy I just bought. Too bad we don’t do Trick or Treak here, so I guess I’ll donate the remainder with friends :slight_smile:

All in all, I like Costco, probably spend a bit more than I want to, but certainly save money over local prices. I am pretty good at looking at the unit pricing both there are at chain supermarkets.

I forgot to mention:

When I worked at the Condo/timeshare, people checked in on Saturday for a week. Many would head to Costco for things like snorkle gear, liquor and bulk things like water (assuming Hawaii was a 3rd world country I guess). Anyway, they often checked out and left all sorts of stuff. Some was donated to places here and some I guess was retained by the cleaning staff.

Visitors would head to Costco and buy all sorts of Hawaiian shirts. You could tell many of the visitors because the whole family had the same shirts on. I guess it was easy for them to ask if someone has seen their kids who were wearing the same shirt.

I saved $500 renting a vehicle through Costco Travel for ONE WEEK while on vacation in Colorado. We wanted a minivan and did extensive research, and Costco beat the best deal we found by $500. They ended up not having a minivan, so we got a Toyota Sequoia 4x4 SUV for the same price. It ended up being a lifesaver as I’m sure we would have gotten stuck in a minivan trying to get to one particular trailhead.

We also booked a Walt Disney World trip through Costco Travel and saved over $3,000 from the best prices we could find elsewhere, including direct from Disney.

Besides the fact that nothing at Costco is marked up more than 14%, my favorite thing is the fact that while they won’t have a big selection of any one type of item, you can be pretty sure that Costco’s buyers have selected one of the best of that item that’s available on the market. They do the homework for you. And you know you’re getting a pretty good deal.

I always check their website too before buying anything major online to see what they have to offer.

We just had a refrigerator replaced FOR FREE by General Electric even though it was out of warranty because they wanted to keep the folks at Costco Technical and Warranty Services happy. The folks at Costco stayed on top of the local service company and GE Corporate throughout the process. I was very impressed and will definitely be buying appliances from Costco in the future, wherever possible. And it’s always free delivery and haul-away of the old item.

I bought a membership on 11/24/23 so I could buy a computer on
I was assured that I could use my Discover Card ( could not use it to buy my membership in store though) on line. The web page listed Discover Card along with Visa and Master Card as being accepted. ( I don’t have either of the latter cards)
I wanted to order on line as I would get cash back and paying by check or debit card I would not. I drove home and logged in to their web page, entered my order and it was not accepted. I repeated doing so over the weekend and it kept asking for a valid card #. I used the chat feature on Monday morning and a person(?) called Nai L stated that Discover Card was no longer accepted but, as I stated, their web page stated it was a valid card! I suggested they have their webmaster update their page ASAP! I also suggested it might be a good Idea to inform their employees of policy changes as the young woman at the membership desk and a young man in a red vest at the electronics department assured me that I could order it on line and have it shipped to my home as I live 70 miles round trip from their store.
Now I have to drive back to the store and get a refund on my membership and no, I don’t trust them to cut me a check if I call customer service,. Once bit, twice shy!!
I found out that the policy changed on 11/15/23. You would think management would have had the brain power to inform everyone of the change that took place over a week in advance.

No need to make a special trip. You can do it anytime within a year for a full refund.

Besides the Visa Cash Back, and the Costco 2% end-of-year Refund, which pays for the Membership, I recommend the Costco Connect Auto and Home Insurance Benefits. This last Dec. I checked the Costco Connect Auto Insurance Cost against a AARP Auto Insurance AD and with the same coverage, Costco was $50.00 Cheaper for the 6 month coverage.