I’m not renewing my Costco membership.

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chicagoan23
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Re: I’m not renewing my Costco membership.

Post by chicagoan23 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:59 pm

letsgobobby wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:25 pm
Historically Costco's entire annual profit is represented by its total annual membership fees. Put another way, everything they sell is more or less at cost, net of expenses.
According to their most recent annual report, total revenue from membership fees was $2.85 billion, and net income was $2.67 billion, so that's generally true. They don't quite lose money on the stuff they sell however; there is also a provision for selling and administrative expenses, and federal and state income taxes. But still, a good deal.

We buy: (i) bulk paper goods and other non-perishable items; (ii) groceries in bulk but only the items that we've had before and know that the kids will eat/drink (Orange juice, frozen turkey, Kirkland granola bars); (iii) gas; and (iv) other items that are on sale from the Costco price. If you wander the store and find rebated items, the discount off the already low Costco price makes it a no-brainer.

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Re: I’m not renewing my Costco membership.

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:25 pm

letsgobobby wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:19 pm
We make up our membership fee with savings on car rentals alone.
How does car rental work with Costco membership? I did not know they offer this.
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GW208
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Re: I’m not renewing my Costco membership.

Post by GW208 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:54 pm

Darn, I would have replied sooner but we were out shopping at Costco all morning.

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Re: I’m not renewing my Costco membership.

Post by N10sive » Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:59 pm

Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:25 pm
letsgobobby wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:19 pm
We make up our membership fee with savings on car rentals alone.
How does car rental work with Costco membership? I did not know they offer this.
Costcotravel.com

trirod
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Re: I’m not renewing my Costco membership.

Post by trirod » Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:11 pm

For me the savings on gas alone easily pays for the membership. I just checked Gas Buddy and my Costco store is 35 cents per gallon cheaper than any other gas station nearby. 171 gallons of gas, or roughly 10 fill-ups, will save me $60. That's not counting the 4% rebate I get on gas with my Costco visa card. So anything else I save at Costco is just gravy.

Unfortunately my nearest Trader Joe's is 45 miles away, so that's not a good alternative.

inbox788
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Re: I’m not renewing my Costco membership.

Post by inbox788 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:22 pm

Sandtrap wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:34 am
duckcalldan wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:43 am
We live 35 minutes from the closest warehouse and, as a result, go there at most every other month. At $60/year, that’s a $10 fee just to walk in the door. While there are staples that we do buy there (dog food, maple syrup, pesto, the occasional rotisserie chicken), we can find replacements elsewhere. Yes, their optical shop represents good value...but so does Zenni Optical. Even with Costco, we do 90% of our shopping at Trader Joe’s and aren’t a family that does much grocery shopping at Costco. Our time is valuable and I don’t need a 2 hour shopping expedition unless needed.
I'm not sure if the occasional use of optical or some speciality item is worth the membership either.
If you have family or friends who are members, just join them once in awhile when you need a Costco purchase (or just ask them to buy it for you or buy you some $10 gift cards).

Around here, you need to be a member to use the optical shop, but the optometrist is an independent agent. You can just see the optometrist, get a prescription and send it to Zenni Optical to get it filled. Don't know if technically you have to be a member to buy a hot dog or pizza, but they're outside, and don't think they've ever checked for membership. And if you have a Costco Cash card, you can go and spend it. In some states, the pharmacy and liquor are open to non-members by law.

https://www.rather-be-shopping.com/blog ... embership/

Save your $1.50 for parking meter or a soda.
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Leif
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Re: I’m not renewing my Costco membership.

Post by Leif » Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:42 pm

I'm not sure it make sense for us either. We probably go about once a month. Its about 15 minutes away so it is fairly convenient.

My main issue is the long lines. No express line at Costco. Not in their business model. They want to sell high volume. However, we like the free samples and we have regular items we buy.

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Re: I’m not renewing my Costco membership.

Post by Hukedonfonix4me » Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:34 pm

We live <5 miles from Costco and go there frequently. Sometimes I just stop in for lunch if my wife works during the weekend.

I know I could enjoy 1.50 hotdogs regardless of the membership but we also enjoy savings on household essentials, quality meat/produce, gas, rental cars, vehicle batteries, etc.

If the savings ever start not adding up, I too may consider letting my beloved membership expire. Until then Kirkland is my buddy 8-)
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Re: I’m not renewing my Costco membership.

Post by ChrisC » Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:40 pm

Costco still works for us as empty nesters, and Costco and CitiVisa pays us to shop there once a month. (My rebate from CitiVisa is $350 this February and my Executive Club membership rebate is substantial as well.) We've purchased lots of big ticket items over the years, from electronics to travel to jewelry to HVAC systems to tires to cases of wines/champagne. And we love the return policy (even if Costco went the way of LL Bean we'd still think such a return policy would be fine).

Nonetheless, I'm sure as we age we'll probably rely less on Costco and navigate to purchasing more at Amazon or other online vendors. My adults kids have no desire for a Costco membership and shop there only when they're by our side or we've given them a gift card -- they shop mainly online. Youngest daughter in NYC does 95 percent of her shopping online.

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beyou
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Re: I’m not renewing my Costco membership.

Post by beyou » Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:47 pm

Never set foot inside a Costco.
Not even sure where is the local store.
Buy everything I can online, and if necessary, local/most convenient locations.

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Re: I’m not renewing my Costco membership.

Post by Bacchus01 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:53 pm

We saved enough on one vacation to DR last year to pay for a lifetime of membership

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Re: I’m not renewing my Costco membership.

Post by madbrain » Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:53 pm

annielouise wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:48 am
Although we don't have a Costco membership, we still order a few items online. The extra charge (5%?) doesn't change the value much, especially since sale prices still count and everything I buy ships free. You may want to see if that works for you.
Just be aware that the online prices include the cost of shipping, and are thus higher than the warehouses prices - sometimes much higher, for large/heavy items. Thus, you are paying much more than 5% upcharge for those items, even if you don't realize it.

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BigFoot48
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Re: I’m not renewing my Costco membership.

Post by BigFoot48 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:26 pm

We're 5 miles from one and go once a week to buy mainly food and bulk paper goods, any yes, the $1.50 hot dog. I do think the savings on the weekly milk purchase may pay for most of the membership but haven't run the numbers.

We use to buy all our gasoline there for our in-town car but since replacing the ICE one with a plug-in hybrid I only buy gas once a year - and then only a 1/4 tank. The propane is also much cheaper than elsewhere, if one wants to endure the minor hassle in the buying process.

We also buy eyeglasses, a Moto phone recently, all TVs, etc. there. And the annual flu shot.

I also find the diversity of the customers very interesting. I hear many foreign languages I can't identify and wonder what the Asian/Middle East/etc. immigrants/visitors think of the wealth of goods sold there. They seem to enjoy the shopping.
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charis23
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Re: I’m not renewing my Costco membership.

Post by charis23 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:00 pm

GraduateStudent wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:58 am
Two thoughts:

1. I make my own bread. The 50 lbs sack of flour for $12.50 literally pays for the entire annual membership in its savings versus supermarket. I buy a few 50 lbs sacks per year, so for me membership a no-brainer.

2. I also don't like consumerism. Try walking through the store "backwards". They put all the consumery gadety jewelry watches crap right where you walk in. The good stuff (my sacks o flour) are usually by the registers.
Kind of off topic but what kind of bread w/ what kind flour are you making? I've had some decent success making rustic sourdough bread w/ their bleached bread flour.

Agggm
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Re: I’m not renewing my Costco membership.

Post by Agggm » Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:12 pm

duckcalldan wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:43 am
Costco membership and the Bogleheads community have quite a lot of Venn diagram overlap. I’ve been a Costco stockholder for almost 20 years and I’m a big fan of their business model, their customer-focused return policy, and the way they treat their employees. Having said that, I’m not going to renew my membership when it expires at the end of February.

My wife and I are minimalists. We just don’t buy that much stuff. When something breaks, or is outdated, we will replace it. But I don’t browse the aisles at Costco to see what treasures need to be discovered. It’s just not our style and I don’t like the feeling of large-scale consumption when I’m at a warehouse. I’d be willing to bet that the creators of Wall-E were inspired by Costco when they came up with the idea of Buy-N-Large.

We live 35 minutes from the closest warehouse and, as a result, go there at most every other month. At $60/year, that’s a $10 fee just to walk in the door. While there are staples that we do buy there (dog food, maple syrup, pesto, the occasional rotisserie chicken), we can find replacements elsewhere. Yes, their optical shop represents good value...but so does Zenni Optical. Even with Costco, we do 90% of our shopping at Trader Joe’s and aren’t a family that does much grocery shopping at Costco. Our time is valuable and I don’t need a 2 hour shopping expedition unless needed.

The reason for this post isn’t to be negative on Costco. It’s to show why, for our family, the costs/benefits of a $60 membership just doesn’t make sense and to suggest there might be other Bogleheads that should do the math to decide if a warehouse club membership continues to make sense.
I ended my membership years ago because it's annoying to shop at Costco.

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Re: I’m not renewing my Costco membership.

Post by CppCoder » Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:17 pm

Sacrilege! :D Our family makes back the $60 just from eating their snacks, er, samples...probably by the end of the first quarter. Some days, I think we just go there for entertainment...like a sane person might pay to go to a wine and cheese tasting event :D.

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Re: I’m not renewing my Costco membership.

Post by harrychan » Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:18 pm

neilpilot wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:54 am
If you are really bothered by that $60/year, one way to get around that is to ask a friend or family member with a Costco membership to buy you a $10-$25 prepaid cash card. You can use the cash card to get into Costco and pay for part of your purchase.
You can't do that anymore.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.

Bacchus01
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Re: I’m not renewing my Costco membership.

Post by Bacchus01 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:25 pm

Things we buy there almost weekly. Note, family of five with two teenage boys and one that’s 9.

- Milk
- Frozen waffles
- Bacardi
- Tito’s
- Salmon
- Almonds
- Eggs
- Bread
- English muffins
- Frozen veggies
- Whole pineapples
- Apples
- Oatmeal
- Syrup
- Dried blueberries
- Dried cherries
- Muscle Milk
- Gas ($600/month)

And when on sale:
- Vitamins
- Advil
- Toothpaste
- Whey Protein powder - I’ve never seen it cheaper anywhere else
- C9 pre-workout


I would say we save more than $200 month buying these things regularly at Costco. Add to that the travel savings and it’s thousands per year.

The added warranty on electronics and appliances which doubled when you use their CC is amazing. We got 4 year warranty on our dishwasher, installed, for $25 more than HD had it available with just a 1 year warranty. With the cash back discount, it was close to even.

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Re: I’m not renewing my Costco membership.

Post by madbrain » Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:38 pm

harrychan wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:18 pm
neilpilot wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:54 am
If you are really bothered by that $60/year, one way to get around that is to ask a friend or family member with a Costco membership to buy you a $10-$25 prepaid cash card. You can use the cash card to get into Costco and pay for part of your purchase.
You can't do that anymore.
Really ?

https://www.costco.com/Costco-Cash-Card ... 24438.html
Members and non-members may use the Costco Cash Cards to shop at any Costco location in the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada and online at Costco.com.
Non-members can still shop with the cash card at Costco.
Are you saying they won't be allowed to use another method of payment for the rest of their purchases that exceeds the amount of the cash card ?

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dual
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Re: I’m not renewing my Costco membership.

Post by dual » Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:43 pm

Agggm wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:12 pm
I ended my membership years ago because it's annoying to shop at Costco.
+1

I essentially got paid to get a Costco membership through one of the LivingSocial promotions and did not even think of renewing. The place is deliberately annoying.

They do not carry the same stuff all the time, deliberately keep moving stuff around and do not label the aisles to force you to go through the whole store to find your stuff.

They only carry one kind of any item so they do not have to manage a large inventory. A typical Costco only stocks about 4,000 different items, a small fraction of the 50,000 at a typical supermarket or the 100,000 at the average Wal-Mart .

This is really annoying. Some examples:
unscented moisturizing lotions NA
non-whitening Colgate toothpaste NA
non-sweetened bite size shredded wheat NA

As to price, you can easily beat them if you shop the sales.
examples:
top sirloin steak: Costco $8/lb Safeway $5/lb
whole chicken: Costco $1.29/lb (must buy 2 or 3) Safeway $0.99 /lb for one chicken
blueberries: $4/lb must buy 2 pounds--Sprouts $2/18 oz
almond butter: Costco $8/lb in 2.5 pound jar. Trader Joe's $5.99 for one pound jar. (nut butters are fatty and get rancid fast)
eggs: Trader Joe's always beat their price and you only have to buy a dozen at a time.

As to Costco Travel again you can easily beat them. For example on rental cars, shop carrentalsavers.com or priceline.com to get the lowest price. Can be cancelled at any time. Enter your price into Autoslash.com and they will notify you as lower prices appear.

We do not drive much except on vacations when we rent cars so gasoline and tires do not affect us.

I will say Costco has great PR. Like the nightclubs with no signs and perennial long lines they convince people that they are a great deal by seeming to be exclusive.

edit: as to their vaunted $5 rotisserie chicken, we have a Sclemmertopf clay baker. Just rub one of the aforementioned 99 cents per pound Safeway chole chickens with salt, put it into the oven, turn the oven on and in 2 hours you have a perfectly cooked, juicy bird that is not super-salty or greasy like the Costco chicken.
Last edited by dual on Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Bacchus01
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Re: I’m not renewing my Costco membership.

Post by Bacchus01 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:47 pm

dual wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:43 pm
Agggm wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:12 pm
I ended my membership years ago because it's annoying to shop at Costco.
+1

I essentially got paid to get a Costco membership through one of the LivingSocial promotions and did not even think of renewing. The place is deliberately annoying.

They do not carry the same stuff all the time, deliberately keep moving stuff around and do not label the aisles to force you to go through the whole store to find your stuff.

They only carry one kind of any item so they do not have to manage a large inventory. A typical Costco only stocks about 4,000 different items, a small fraction of the 50,000 at a typical supermarket or the 100,000 at the average Wal-Mart .

This is really annoying. Some examples:
unscented moisturizing lotions NA
non-whitening Colgate toothpaste NA
non-sweetened bite size shredded wheat NA

As to price, you can easily beat them if you shop the sales.
examples:
top sirloin steak: Costco $8/lb Safeway $5/lb
whole chicken: Costco $1.29/lb (must buy 2 or 3) Safeway $0.99 /lb for one chicken
blueberries: $4/lb must buy 2 pounds--Sprouts $2/18 oz
almond butter: Costco $8/lb in 2.5 pound jar. Trader Joe's $5.99 for one pound jar. (nut butters are fatty and get rancid fast)
eggs: Trader Joe's always beat their price and you only have to buy a dozen at a time.

As to Costco Travel again you can easily beat them. For example on rental cars, shop carrentalsavers.com or priceline.com to get the lowest price. Can be cancelled at any time. Enter your price into Autoslash.com and they will notify you as lower prices appear.

We do not drive much except on vacations when we rent cars so gasoline and tires do not affect us.

I will say Costco has great PR. Like the nightclubs with no signs and perennial long lines they convince people that they are a great deal by seeming to be exclusive.
I travel a LOT. I have never been able to beat Costco on rental cars from the majors. Some local rental, maybe, but never the majors.

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dual
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Re: I’m not renewing my Costco membership.

Post by dual » Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:57 pm

Bacchus01 wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:47 pm
I travel a LOT. I have never been able to beat Costco on rental cars from the majors. Some local rental, maybe, but never the majors.
I travel a lot too and I have always been able to beat them. What websites do you check?

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Re: I’m not renewing my Costco membership.

Post by stoptothink » Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:11 pm

I'm always one of the dissenters in the Costco threads. I did a very strict price comparison about 3yrs ago and came to the conclusion that there wasn't a single item that our family purchases on a regular basis that was cheaper at Costco than local alternatives. I cancelled. I finally convinced my mom to actually punch the numbers, and after decades of loyal membership she also let her's lapse. Last year my brother moved into the area from California, his family's apartment is literally in the same parking lot as Costco. They were getting everything there, just walking across the parking lot several times a week, and his wife would take his daughters there just to walk around when they were bored (bad news for their checking account). A few months ago he was laid-off from his full-time position in the oil and gas industry and is now a consultant, so he had plenty of time to examine a lot of their shopping behaviors. Simultaneously he was also starting to get really annoyed by the insanity that is Costco shopping (they live next to an insanely busy store, he would go in to get a single item and it would often take him 15min just to walk out after paying because the lines to check receipts were so long). He's now cancelling their membership. Once the numbers were crunched, it didn't make sense for any of our family members who live in this area (Utah County, Utah). Having lived in 3 other major metro areas in the past decade, I've realized that whether or not Costco is worth it strictly from a financial standpoint is highly dependent on the area.

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Re: I’m not renewing my Costco membership.

Post by MichaelRpdx » Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:23 pm

Should you ever need hearing aids renew your membership.
Why?
  • The testing is better than at the three private audiologists I had experience with
  • Zero, absolutely zero, upsell pressure
  • Pricing is extremely low
  • Batteries are a fraction of the price you'll find elsewhere
  • Get the units cleaned for free and with no upsell pitch
  • If your unit breaks after the warranty expires the cost to repair is less than 10% of replacement.
  • Choice - they carry several brands
Hearing aids at Costco pay for decades of membership.
Be Appropriate && Follow Your Curiosity

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topper1296
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Re: I’m not renewing my Costco membership.

Post by topper1296 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:25 pm

I've never had a membership to a warehouse club because I don't need to buy anything in large quantities because I'm single. I would consider one if I had a large family since I have a Costco about 10 min away.

Bacchus01
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Re: I’m not renewing my Costco membership.

Post by Bacchus01 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:28 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:11 pm
I'm always one of the dissenters in the Costco threads. I did a very strict price comparison about 3yrs ago and came to the conclusion that there wasn't a single item that our family purchases on a regular basis that was cheaper at Costco than local alternatives. I cancelled. I finally convinced my mom to actually punch the numbers, and after decades of loyal membership she also let her's lapse. Last year my brother moved into the area from California, his family's apartment is literally in the same parking lot as Costco. They were getting everything there, just walking across the parking lot several times a week, and his wife would take his daughters there just to walk around when they were bored (bad news for their checking account). A few months ago he was laid-off from his full-time position in the oil and gas industry and is now a consultant, so he had plenty of time to examine a lot of their shopping behaviors. Simultaneously he was also starting to get really annoyed by the insanity that is Costco shopping (they live next to an insanely busy store, he would go in to get a single item and it would often take him 15min just to walk out after paying because the lines to check receipts were so long). He's now cancelling their membership. Once the numbers were crunched, it didn't make sense for any of our family members who live in this area (Utah County, Utah). Having lived in 3 other major metro areas in the past decade, I've realized that whether or not Costco is worth it strictly from a financial standpoint is highly dependent on the area.
You can buy gas cheaper somewhere else? That’s another one I’ve never found anyone close

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Re: I’m not renewing my Costco membership.

Post by angelescrest » Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:33 pm

navyitaly wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:29 pm
So cancel your Costco membership then...what’s the point of posting a post about it? I’m lost....
I’m with you.

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Re: I’m not renewing my Costco membership.

Post by jminv » Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:09 pm

Instead of not renewing your membership, why not ask for a refund of your membership fee and be 60 dollars richer? Costco has a membership satisfaction guarantee and will refund you even if you are 364 days into your membership.

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Re: I’m not renewing my Costco membership.

Post by Iliketoridemybike » Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:23 pm

We go to Costco 2-3 times a month. We don’t buy the “biggie” size items, but we do buy the 2-3 packs of chicken and ground beef. We freeze a few and keep the rest out to use in the coming week. They have great fresh fish. We buy the frozen fruits, laundry soap, coffee, etc. All the things you usually buy, just for less. What makes the membership really make sense is the lower cost rental cars and hotels, The extended return time policy, extended warranties at no charge, came in handy with two computers. We are executive members so they send us a check for 2% back on our yearly purchases. We love it.

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Re: I’m not renewing my Costco membership.

Post by LadyGeek » Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:24 pm

This thread has run its course and is locked (complaint, getting contentious). See: Personal Consumer Issues
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Re: I’m not renewing my Costco membership.

Post by LadyGeek » Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:50 pm

Via PM, the OP has requested to post this reply:
duckcalldan wrote:
angelescrest wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:33 pm
navyitaly wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:29 pm
So cancel your Costco membership then...what’s the point of posting a post about it? I’m lost....
I’m with you.
I started this post mainly to find out if there are other BHs who have decided that Costco is not for them. As an almost empty nester, I’m surprised how many older couples shop there. I suspect I’ve crossed paths with a Boglehead or two at my local warehouse, and wanted to find out who has decided Costco isn’t their thing, and why.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not just about the membership fee. It’s because of expensive splurges that I later regret. If I buy an unplanned goodie at Trader Joe’s, it costs me $4. At Costco, it’s more like $12-15 and is so darn big, it takes awhile to go away. It’s because of their aisles of processed food that’s hard to resist and that I should stay away from. It’s because things like electronics are competitively priced but packed with more features and accessories than I really need, so I end up spending more than I need to (I’m a minimalist). And it’s because I just don’t like the bigger is better vibe I get when I do shop there.

I’ll miss some items I buy there (Kirkland maple syrup, pesto, dry dog food, Cabot 3 year cheddar, Finish dish tablets) but I feel healthier and happier doing my shopping elsewhere.
(Thread remains locked.)
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