Costco – Benefits of Membership

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by Elle Martinez · 16 comments

Warehouse club memberships are usually presented as a frugal choice for everyone. Joining Costco, Sam’s Club, or BJ’s is always the smart choice, but is it really? Can you save money with it? Can everyone find it worthwhile for their budget.

I decided to share my take on our Costco membership and how it has worked out for us. Maybe it can help you to decide if a warehouse club is the right choice for you.

Types of Membership

One of the first things you have to decide with Costco is the which membership you want to sign up for. As you can see below, being a member of Costco is a bit more expensive than other clubs. Upfront cost is just one factor in deciding what to get. It’s more important to look at the overall value of what you’re getting.

Each one has its pros and cons. We definitely didn’t fit into the business membership, so we were left to choose either the basic Gold Star or the Executive Gold Star.

We decided to sign up for the Executive membership to take advantage of the cash back option. After the first year, we saved enough that it paid for itself several times over.

Getting a Costco Membership at a Discount

If you can, try getting a discount on your membership fee. Believe it or not, you can lower the cost to yourself.

  • Professional Associations: You may be able to get a lower membership fee if you’re a part of an association.
  • Web Deals –  Survey sites, like My Points, can sometimes
  • Costco Direct Deals: If you check on the web, you can sometimes find a deal on their memberships.

If you have any other ways to get a discount, please leave a tip in the comments.

Gasoline Savings – Money Back in Our Wallet

Costco’s gasoline has been considerably cents cheaper per gallon then other gas stations on my side of town. I’ve noticed a difference of 10-15 cents, which is a nice bit of savings. Whenever I’m right by Costco, I try to fill up. Not only am I getting a discount on my gasonline, but I’m also earning 2% with our Executive Membership.

Shopping Deals

As many people are aware, you can get some great deals shopping at Costco. When looking at flat screen TVs, my husband was able to get one much cheaper than the next choice. If you’re looking for good warranties, Costco has some of the best. Unlike some retailers, they have a generous return policy.

Costco’s pharmacy offer some wonderful deals on prescriptions. You may also want to check if there is an optometrist at your local store. Take advantage of any deals they have.

Even though they typically have lower prices for great quality products and items, you should still price check.

Saving Money From Membership Deals

There are added benefits to Costco membership including discounts on certain services.

Car Insurance – We’ve managed to cut our insurance bill by switching to Amerprise through Costco. Our bill used to be almost $120/month and now it’s $80/month for more coverage.

Towing/ Roadside Assistance – Executive members have towing and assistance included for free with their insurance policy.

Some other deals Costco offers that we haven’t taken advantage of are:

  • Event Tickets
  • Sharebuilder Bonus
  • Travel Deals

Thoughts on Saving with a Warehouse Club Membership

I shared my experience, I’d love to hear your take on warehouse clubs. Have you been able to recoup your membership costs? Is your warehouse club a great deal for you?

Photo Credit: greenwenvy08

About Elle Martinez
Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..

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  • Ram

    Thanks for the great article.

    I don’t know about Costco, but with BJ’s, you can further save on Membership by teaming with your friends and taking advantage of the ‘supplemental’ memberships they offer. For example, with BJ’s, if you pool four families together, the cost per family works out to $37.50 for 2% rewards membership. ( $90 + $20 + $20 + $20 = $150 divided by 4 )

    I’m a fan of BJ’s. The problems I have with Costco (here in NJ) are :
    1. Only American Express or Debit
    2. Closes earlier (8:30PM) and opens later (11:00AM)
    3. No self checkout – the checkout process is painfully slow every time.
    4. No manufacturer coupons acceptance
    5. No Costco in upstate New York, where I frequently visit.

  • Elle

    Thanks Ram for sharing your BJ’s tip and highlights. I’ve never been to one. Next time I get the 60 day trial in the mail, I’ll make a visit.

  • http://www.joetaxpayer.com JoeTaxpayer

    My wife and daughter joke that I love Home Depot and Costco.
    I’ll be the second (wife was first) to admit the gallon of mustard wasn’t my brightest purchase. But the big pickles? A gallon for just more than the quart size at supermarket.
    Costco is a huge saver for those who are aware of prices and can judge when a large container makes sense.
    If you “buy too much” there, you may be saving time and trips to the grocery store, and are ahead long term. The only real #fail is when you buy a perishable and let it spoil.
    They even have their own private labled beer. A 4 flavor variety pack, 24 in case for $18.99.
    Last – I discussed a book I read and reviewed “The Paradox of Choice” with my local Costco manager. Part of the attraction of Costco is the lack of too many choices. I don’t need 35 difference choices on bread, salad dressing, etc. The selection at Costco is small enough to be a benefit.

  • http://esaandzed.blogspot.com/2010/09/are-warehouse-memberships-worth-it.html r wentz

    Memberships are not worth it for us – there are only 2 of us in the house and all the deals you can get at Costco (or any membership), I can get just as good deals by looking around.

  • Ram

    I forgot to mention this earlier:

    If you use BJ’s Visa card in BJ’s along with your 2% rewards membership, your cashback is 4%.

  • http://knsfinancial.com Khaleef @ KNS Financial

    Costco member here. We love shopping there because they have such a huge selection. Plus we love getting those free samples! My major complaint is that they don’t take manufacturer coupons. If they did, they would rival CVS as our favorite store!

  • http://www.moneygreenlife.com Charles

    I recently wrote an article why I don’t shop at costco. But you offer very good reasons to shop at costco. It’s just that for me, as an unmarried guy, sometimes it just doesn’t make sense to buy in bulk. I only need 1 gallon of milk, not two…hehe…

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  • Corinne

    I recently lost my insurance. My major drugstore chain was going to charge me $470 for one of the prescriptions I take. I could not afford that so I checked Costco. They filled the same prescription using the same generic manufacturer for $53. Along with the 2% cash back I will receive – this savings is huge!! I am thankful for my Costco card.

    PS. Their fruits and vegetables last longer than local grocery store equivalents and you can buy your meats, fish and poultry for far less than your grocery store charges. Wines too!! Costco saves you money – no doubt about that!

  • Momime

    I love shopping at Costco. I buy groceries there on a weekly basis. I buy produce, meat, paper goods, laundry soap and regular stuff like cereal, soups and juices. I bought a Foodsaver there which allows you to vaccum seal meats and cheeses to name a few into manageable portions to freeze for a later date. That’s where the great savings add up. I stay away from the bulk stuff or large jars of food that I know I won’t eat. If I do buy in bulk it’s only after I check the expiration date that way I can better guage if I will consume the item before the expiration date. On average I spend about $100-$120 a week there so long as I stay out of the tv side of the store and the center section where the clothes and books are. I have the Executive membership which means I get 2% back. For every $2500 I spend I get $50 back. I also have a Costco American Express which earns me another 1% back on everything including anything I buy using my card everywhere else. The best thing is I get 3% back on gas and if I buy any major electronics I get an additional 2 yrs on my warranty. If you can just look and not buy on impluse shopping there is alot of fun.

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