Costco Membership Review #894

Costco, many people hate it and many equally love the warehouse membership.  I’m a lover, not a fighter, so I’m all for a trip to Costco.  You have to be careful shopping at Costco just like anywhere else.  If you choose the 5 pound of Olives you better be either planning to live off olives for a month or have one heck of a olive finger food fiesta. 

We use Costco primarily for grocery shopping and toiletries, you will not see us purchasing the fan with no blades, Chris Angel of fans,  sitting in the aisle.  Our visits to Costco are a simple search and destroy mission.  I’ve asked Suspicious Sheep along to ask a few questions because like many he thinks Costco is another quest at America trying to over indulge, get larger, and pay more money.  Suspicious Sheep(if you like Suspicious Sheep, please check out my friend’s website to show some love at Afro Pig) ask away.

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How much does a Costco Membership cost, sounds terrible you have pay to shop at a store?

They have 2 memberships for the individual customer.  One is the $55 Gold Membership, the other is a $110 Executive Membership which also includes a 2% Annual Reward.  If you purchase around $3000 year or $250/month the Executive Membership is worth the extra money.  The reason Costco charges a membership fee is to keep costs down and get the best prices for the members.  Costco needs to make money so the membership fees are the beginning once they get that money flowing through, they can then negotiate and pass on savings to the members.

What kind of membership do you have?

We have the Gold Membership as of yesterday.  We switched because in the beginning we were purchasing more things for our new home and spent extra money that we have since cut out.  Items like garbage cans, cleaning supplies, and some other household items add up and we were looking to take advantage of the 2% Annual Reward, which paid off.  We made the switch as weknow primarily use Costco for meat, toiletries, and dog food.

Don’t you need a credit card to become an Executive Member?

That’s actually what we thought until we switched our membership yesterday, but you do NOT need to have the credit card.  Mrs. Even Steven wanted to have a credit card when we signed up and the American Express credit card being offered had some good selling points, especially since they incentivize using the card at Costco.  I DO NOT BELIEVE IN CREDIT CARDS, I HAVE BEEN IN CREDIT CARD DEBT AND THINK IT IS A BAD IDEA TO USE A CREDIT CARD FOR ALMOST EVERY SINGLE PURCHASE, I HAVE LUCKILY CONFISCATED THIS CARD AND WE ARE BOTH HAPPIER PEOPLE!

So is Costco worth the money?

When we first looked into Costco all I could think about was why would I purchase 30 granola bars, I’m going to eat them in a week and become Tubby Tubby Even Steven.  I was right that’s exactly what I did in the beginning, but I learned 30 granola bars is not a good idea for Mr. Even Steven.  Less than a year ago I switched to primarily Paleo diet, which increased my need for lean meats, non-processed foods, and a major switch to organic items whenever possible.  So basically I became health conscious, cut out processed foods and lost and maintained my weight, it’s been really great for me.  My local grocery store is slow to the movement of organic and tend to go with a low cost value grocery which is great for the frugal side of me, but lacks sometimes for my health conscious paleo movement, so off to the cost friendly Costco it was.

You didn’t answer my question, Is Costco worth the money?

Do I save $55.  I do not have the hard numbers to back it up, let’s Google it and take a look at other articles out there.  Is Costco worth the money, here are some great blogs that share their thoughts.

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/09/30/is-a-costco-membership-worth-the-cost/

http://www.saveoutsidethebox.com/9-items-that-will-pay-for-your-costco-membership/

http://wealthyturtle.com/is-the-costco-membership-fee-a-bargain-or-a-scam/

http://www.ourfreakingbudget.com/is-costco-worth-it/

Many people ask the question and unless Costco has some crazy vampire spell on every finance blogger out there, it is a resounding YES it’s worth the money.  Mr. Money Mustache said “Holy Shit! My Costco habit is even more useful than I had been assuming!”, this is the same guy who bikes through Colorado in snow storms to pick up lumber in his bike trailer, for those of you that are unfamiliar who he is, I would say he is the Chuck Norris of Financial Independence.

So what to you buy at Costco that’s so freaking great?

We have a few staples that we buy once a month.  We buy our dog food for our siberian husky, which is grain-free and has quality ingredients, researched extensively by Mrs. Even Steven and for the cost is a great purchase for us.  Our dog is full of crazy energy and I want her to be ready for a 3 mile run, walk at the local park, and jumping through the snow during the Chicago winters,  Costco gets the job done.

Meat.  This is our go to for purchasing quality meat in bulk at a great price.  We purchase frozen chicken breasts/tenderloins almost every time we go,  skirt steak for Carne Asada, lean beef for my Paleo Pasta recipe, and a change of pace meat like ribs/pork, and an organic whole chicken from time to time.

Butter, Bacon, and Eggs.  This one is all about the organic quality and great prices.  Kerrygold butter, Coleman bacon, and Kirkland Organic eggs, and I’m ready for a delicious breakfast.

There are other purchases we make like organic tomato sauce, organic frozen vegetables, cold pressed olive oil,  but these are our big winners.  For us it’s not only the great prices but the known quality with Costco and the brands they choose to stock in there stores, we are sold.

How long does your Costco haul last you?

I usually estimate our Costco trips are about 3-5 weeks apart, I’m actually going to keep track to the day for this most recent visit, expect a spreadsheet and cost breakdown on everything in about a month.

Well thanks for all the questions Suspicious Sheep, I think you really brought out all the answers behind saving money at Costco.  Suspicious Sheep are you still suspicious?  Yes, but then again I’m suspicious the sun will come out again tomorrow so take my answer for what it’s worth.

What’s your opinion?  Are you a Costco member?  Do you think the Costco membership fee is worth it?

Featured image courtesty of:  savingsmania.com

17 Responses to “Costco Membership Review #894

  • Never been to Costco and don’t really have a desire to. I think a big part of it is that there isn’t one close to us and we save so much money at Target and Cub Foods each week that I don’t feel a need to pay to be a member of Costco.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted…Why You Should Pay the Minimum on Student LoansMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      Location will certainly play a key in your grocery store search. We use Costco for larger items like meat and dog food, so the every day items our purchased at our local grocery store, Target gives me too many options. My grocery store has about 5 choices for frozen pizza, Target has about 50, I struggle with having 50 choices for pizza. Really liked the paying Minimum on Student Loans article, thanks for stopping by YAM.

  • I love Costco and my family definitely gets our money worth every year! Thanks for mentioning my article!
    Mike Collins recently posted…Backyard Projects and Wish ListMy Profile

  • I did my annual Costco excursion lately, just to snap pictures so I can compare prices. I came to the same conclusion as I always do: it’s not a good buy for our house. I’m surprised it is for others, but there are some really good deals on staples. If you’re selective, and just buy those, then you can come out ahead, even figuring in the membership.

    But the fresh produce & meat just seems expensive to me. And in such high quantities, it makes the delta larger.
    Done by Forty recently posted…I Am Miley CyrusMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      I think with meat at Costco you are getting high quality at wholesale prices. For us and most families it works, but discipline is needed not buying the 30 bags of doritos.

  • I’m a fan of suspicious sheep–he’s cute! We are devout Costco shoppers. We go once a month (sometimes once every two months) and save a ton on groceries and household products. We get our grain-free dog food from Costco too–such an awesome deal & very healthy for the pup. Just renewed our Gold membership last week!
    Mrs. Frugalwoods recently posted…How To: Cheap Homemade Seltzer with a Modified SodastreamMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      Dog food for a Husky certain adds up so I need Costco to reduce the cost, have you ever done the math on your Costco purchases?

  • I have a membership at Sam’s Club and make my money back easily. I make one trip per month since it’s not too close to me. I stock up on soda, corn flakes, paper towels and anything else that doesn’t go bad fast.
    Edwin @ Cash Syndrome recently posted…8 Ways I Hack Amazon And Save Big BucksMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      Anything that you are going to use in quanity, like soda and paper towels is the best way to make back your money. Thanks for stopping by @cashsyndrome

  • I actually visited a Costco for the first time recently to see if they can save me money. I am really not sure that I will, I haven’t ran the numbers yet for all of the items I looked at. I think buying alot of one time items for furnishing your house it definitely helps.

    Problem for me is stocking up on meats, I get a quarter of a cow which provides alot of my meat needs.
    Kipp recently posted…Save Over $25.00 a Hour Making Your Own Laundry SoapMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      Stocking up on meat works for us, but getting a quarter of a cow trumps that.

  • We actually upgraded to the Executive Membership a few months ago as we moved the large majority of our grocery shopping to them. They have so many different organic fruits/vegetables at a good price that it made sense for us. Our local grocery store is much higher so it’s working out to be a savings for us. I will say that you have to be purposeful though as not all things are a good deal…of course. There are still a few things we need that we can’t get at Costco, more toiletry type items that we’re debating whether or not we should pony up for Amazon Prime or just get them at Target as we hate Wal-Mart.
    John @ Frugal Rules recently posted…Buck the System and Do Something DifferentMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

      Switching entirely to Costco would be a challenge, I think a larger family could do it and do it on the cheap. I haven’t tried Amazon Prime for anything let me know how that works if you go that direction.

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    • EvenStevenMoney
      3 years ago

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