Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

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mega317
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by mega317 »

The fresh salmon is usually 6-7 dollars a pound less at Costco than our grocery stores. That’s 10 pounds to cover the membership fee and we probably get there in 2 months.
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CardinalRule
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by CardinalRule »

squirm wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 3:39 pm Sam's club is a better choice, way less people to get in the way and chance if getting sick. Otherwise they're pretty identical. Sam's club list what's in the aisle and doesn't move everything around all the time like Costco, which is to very annoying.
Sam’s closed 60+ stores in 2018, including the three stores closest to me. I always preferred Costco, but it was good to have competition.
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by bhsince87 »

Stinky wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 9:40 pm
bhsince87 wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 4:13 pm Is anyone here a member at more than one wholesale club?
We have membership at both Sam's and Costco. They're about 10 minutes from our house, and about 2 minutes apart.

I prefer Sam's. Our Club has self-checkout, which I hugely prefer to the lines at our Costco (no self check out). And Sam's "meat" pizza at the deli was a wonderful, greasy delight (unfortunately the pandemic has shut down the deli for now).

DW prefers Costco. And Costco Travel has saved us a bucket on money on car rentals and a cruise.

Costco is more upscale, Sam's is more downscale. There's a distinctly different vibe in the places. Different strokes for different folks.
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Luckywon
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by Luckywon »

brad.clarkston wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 10:28 pm
beernutz wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 9:44 pm What percentage of these discussions of the utilty of paying $60 or $120 per YEAR for ANYTHING are necessary?

My opinion is 0% but the mods keep allowing them so I must be in the minority.
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by Slacker »

For us, purchases of cage free eggs alone make the membership worth it. 5 dozen @ $8 and we purchase 10 dozen a month on average x 12 months $192 for a year. Last I checked, Aldi & Lidl charged $3 for one dozen of cage free eggs which would cost $360 a year.

We also get the prepared food from Costco when work is getting very busy. "Street taco", chicken pot pie, chicken chili, chicken soup, rotisserie chicken. Most of these are 20% to 75% more expensive at typical grocery stores and not as good.
mega317 wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 11:06 pm The fresh salmon is usually 6-7 dollars a pound less at Costco than our grocery stores. That’s 10 pounds to cover the membership fee and we probably get there in 2 months.
If you have a Wegmans nearby you can usually get fresh salmon at the same price and I've found it to be "fresher" on average vs costco. I avoid the Chile sourced fresh salmon (horrible farming practices) and only get the norway farmed salmon from Costco. Wegmans gets their farmed salmon from Canada. If you get the wild caught, then this is a moot point.
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by Slacker »

Stinky wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 9:40 pm
bhsince87 wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 4:13 pm Is anyone here a member at more than one wholesale club?
We have membership at both Sam's and Costco. They're about 10 minutes from our house, and about 2 minutes apart.

I prefer Sam's. Our Club has self-checkout, which I hugely prefer to the lines at our Costco (no self check out). And Sam's "meat" pizza at the deli was a wonderful, greasy delight (unfortunately the pandemic has shut down the deli for now).

DW prefers Costco. And Costco Travel has saved us a bucket on money on car rentals and a cruise.

Costco is more upscale, Sam's is more downscale. There's a distinctly different vibe in the places. Different strokes for different folks.
As another poster noted, you may get self checkout at your costco eventually. We've had self checkout at our Costco for just over a year now.
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anon_investor
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by anon_investor »

Luckywon wrote: Sun Sep 20, 2020 2:20 am
brad.clarkston wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 10:28 pm
beernutz wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 9:44 pm What percentage of these discussions of the utilty of paying $60 or $120 per YEAR for ANYTHING are necessary?

My opinion is 0% but the mods keep allowing them so I must be in the minority.
Always a cantankerous codger somewhere on the forum ;)
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

It’s worth to get the basic membership if you save more than $10 a month over local grocery stores. I see the difference between Costco prices and the local store on basic food stuffs, I see it on electronics and I also buy my gas at Costco which is easily 10-15 cents a gallon cheaper than no-name gas which have no additive detergents added. I also buy my tires at Costco.

If you go weekly for most of your food shopping, you’ll see the savings add up. Even their health and beauty section is cheaper for toiletries.
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carolinaman
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by carolinaman »

We have regular membership and find it worthwhile. We live 3 miles from Costco which makes it convenient. If I had to drive a long way I might consider alternatives.

Stuff we buy: OTC meds, eyeglasses, hearing aids, gas, tires but bringing back for rotation is inconvenient, electronics: computers, TVs, security cameras, some food, mostly croissants and rotisserie chicken. vacuum cleaner and other household stuff.

Costco has a limited selection of items but what they have is usually good and at a very good price point. I bought a Samsung Q80 TV from another retailer because Costco does not carry that TV, even though it is an excellent TV. They tend to target items they can sell in volume.

One great thing about Costco is their no questions asked return policy. I returned an item last year past the 60 day time frame and they took it. Their optical and hearing aid depts provide great prices and service.

I am with you on food. I do not want a 30 day supply of something. Their quantities are ridiculous unless you have a large family or run a restaurant.
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by sunny_socal »

Worth it for me! We shop there every couple weeks and I use the costco visa card for all my gas and restaurant purchases. The executive membership literally pays for itself via the rebate and I get about $500 cash back each year. I don't pay for my costco runs on the card, it just gets me in the door.

I use a different card for everything else, that pays over $2k/year.
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by Grasshopper »

We only get executive membership in hearing aid years,
.
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

DW has Sam's Club w/credit card, and I have Costco w/credit card.

Just checked, my cash reward is currently $117.95. I pay for the $60 lower level membership, not much extra offered by the $120 membership that we are interested in.

This year I have purchased four Chrome books, and two Apple IPads, those purchases added a lot to our cash rewards.

I like purchasing electronics at Costco for the extended warranty, even longer if Citi Costco card is used.

We almost always purchase our steaks at Costco, and we buy cases of Prosecco as DD and DDs are very fond of mimosas. As well, I have found the Kirkland liquors to be very good.

At the two Costco locations we frequent, the service is great, and since we are retired, we can shop during the week instead of the weekends. The weekends are crowded, for sure.

Over the last few months we have utilized Costco and Sam's Club online, lots of deliveries, along with Amazon and Target. Purchasing online from Costco reduces my impulse purchases I would have made at the warehouses. :D

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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by drk »

Stinky wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 9:40 pm I prefer Sam's. Our Club has self-checkout, which I hugely prefer to the lines at our Costco (no self check out).
My local Costco store has self-checkout, which was conveniently empty yesterday while the regular checkout had lines six-deep. Maybe they'll roll it out to yours.
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by Teague »

Lalamimi wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 5:19 pm It took time for the 2 of us to find items we loved. The precooked $9.00 bacon is great! 48 slices.
This provides a great example of the difference between Costco and Sam's Club.

Both have Hormel brand precooked bacon in the resealable zip-lock package, as noted. The packages look the same at first glance. BUT, the Costco version is cut thicker and says that on the package. It also has both the Hormel and Kirkland brands on the package. The price is virtually identical to the Sam's version.

This general theme is repeated on items throughout the two stores. The Sam's items will be identical to what can be found elsewhere, whereas the Costco items will have something just a little bit better about them. I've been disappointed with the Sam's house-branded items (Members Mark) enough times that I will go out of my way to avoid those. I've been almost universally pleasantly surprised with Costco's house-branded items (Kirkland.)
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lakja
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by lakja »

Absolutely not. COSTCO is very inconvenient, too large of servings, too large of a store, poorly laid out, and their customer service sucks.

You have to show your card to enter the store, getting a cart, pushing the behemoth among the unwashed masses, and then returning the cart is a pain. You’ll wait in line for 10-15 minutes to check out and then have to put all of your items back in your cart or into boxes. Also, the gas deals are the same: lines are long and aren’t worth the time wasted to save a few pennies.

To each their own, but I find the quality is way over blown, service sucks, and the time wasted isn’t worth the theoretical savings.

I’d pay $120 to never step foot into a COSTCO again.
Last edited by lakja on Sun Sep 20, 2020 11:52 am, edited 3 times in total.
chipperd
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by chipperd »

Family of 2 adults and 3 teens/young adults, so our food bill is a fairly large portion of our monthly budget. That said, I shop on price quite a bit for food. Aldi/Walmart almost always seem cheaper than Costco for our needs. Couple that with the free Walmart delivery 15 day trial we are on and it's a tough combination of price and convenience to beat right now.
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by JackoC »

Zonian59 wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 4:07 pm
Lee_WSP wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 3:02 pm
Zonian59 wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 2:49 pm For that $120 Executive membership to be worthwhile you have to spend at least $6,000/year.
The math is actually $3,000 and change, the ~$60 difference between the basic and executive.
That's true for an upgrade DIFFERENCE and that's the sales pitch the Costco people uses to get you to upgrade.
But when you ask HOW MUCH DO YOU HAVE TO SPEND THE FOLLOWING YEAR when you pay the $120 membership, that's when they become "less enthusiastic and sheepishly admit you'll have to spend more than you're currently spending", to put it politely.

So you do have to spend $6,000 to make the $120 membership pay for itself.
$120 divided by 2% = $6,000.
Or looking at it another way: $6,000 x 2% = $120.
The difference is what's relevant in choosing one membership over the other. With $60 membership you get Costco Added Value*$3,000-$60. With $120 membership you get CAV*$3k-$120+.02*$3k, which are equal no matter what value you assign to CAV, greater for $120 for any value of spending >$3k, and less for the $120 for any spending level <$3k.

There's no particular significance to spending <>$6k at Costco. Whether to shop at Costco depends on the value of CAV for your particular situation, and CAV would also generally vary depending how much you spend there (eg. this or that store is better for X item Costco also has, so we don't buy that at Costco, but Costco is better for Y and Z so we get it there). In that respect there might be some small element of relevance to your general point, that it wouldn't necessarily make sense to lower your average CAV in order to get your Costco spending over $3k (which again is the cut and dried threshold where $120 membership beats $60 neglecting sales tax on the fee, no debate possible on that point). But I don't think too many people are deliberately steering their spending to Costco for items where they get better value elsewhere just to reach $3k. We simply observe that our natural spending at Costco is far above $3k so the $120 is a no brainer. There is though again room for people to debate the items where Costco actually offers better value, depends on preferences ('this is just as good to me'/'well not to me'), alternative stores in area, value of time to go to more stores, etc.
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by nisiprius »

bhsince87 wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 4:13 pm Is anyone here a member at more than one wholesale club?
When we first started, possibly twenty-five years ago, the nearest Costco was nearly 20 miles away, and the proposition was sort of marginal, and we canceled after a couple of years. Then my wife's employer had a great offer on BJ's membership--either free or close to free--and we joined BJ's. Then Costco opened up a store about four miles away, so we re-opened our Costco membership. Then BJ's opened a store a few blocks from the Costco (!) so we had a great opportunity to compare. Then the deal expired and we had to either pay two fees or make a choice, and we decided that a) the two were awfully similar, but b) we had a very mild preference for Costco.

Honestly, though, if you blindfolded me and took me to a Costco or a BJ's, removed the blindfold and challenged me to say where I was, if I couldn't see any Kirkland or Berkey & Jensen-branded items, I might not know.
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by AlphaLess »

Costco membership value hinges on a very narrow proposition.

Especially since the pandemic Costco quality has gone down the drain a lot.

You might like Costco for whatever reason, but it is clearly not the great value proposition it used to be.

We are maintaining the membership only because the fee is not a big dollar figure for us.
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by AlphaLess »

nisiprius wrote: Sun Sep 20, 2020 11:42 am
bhsince87 wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 4:13 pm Is anyone here a member at more than one wholesale club?
When we first started, possibly twenty-five years ago, the nearest Costco was nearly 20 miles away, and the proposition was sort of marginal, and we canceled after a couple of years. Then my wife's employer had a great offer on BJ's membership--either free or close to free--and we joined BJ's. Then Costco opened up a store about four miles away, so we re-opened our Costco membership. Then BJ's opened a store a few blocks from the Costco (!) so we had a great opportunity to compare. Then the deal expired and we had to either pay two fees or make a choice, and we decided that a) the two were awfully similar, but b) we had a very mild preference for Costco.

Honestly, though, if you blindfolded me and took me to a Costco or a BJ's, removed the blindfold and challenged me to say where I was, if I couldn't see any Kirkland or Berkey & Jensen-branded items, I might not know.
I partially agree with this. Costco has higher quality, and better products.

Costco can also be cheaper, especially with coupons.
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by wander »

Most people get by with a regular membership $60. A second card is free, so you can share the cost with your siblings to cut it to $30. Or your sibling may just give it to you for free. It maybe or maybe not worthy for many people. But I don't think too much about spending $60 a year. I am paying more attention to cutting our wireless bill from $70 to $50 a month.
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by JackoC »

sabhen wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 1:11 pm
Per this article, the main way Costco makes its money: membership fees.
Costco is not attractive to all consumers for various good individual reasons. But, this is of zero relevance and I'm always puzzled why anyone thinks otherwise. Let's say I like Trader Joe's more than Shoprite (we go to both within walking distance, as well as Costco 11 miles one way drive). Then I found out TJ's or Shoprite were more or less profitable or what items were profitable for each. How would that enter into my decision in any rational way? I can see what the items and the prices are at both stores by going there. Likewise I can see it at Costco and I don't think it takes genius to then just factor in the membership fee (and cash back on the $120 membership) into that. Why would I care what Costco's profit was or how it was distributed?
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by neilpilot »

wander wrote: Sun Sep 20, 2020 11:49 am Most people get by with a regular membership $60. A second card is free, so you can share the cost with your siblings to cut it to $30. Or your sibling may just give it to you for free. It maybe or maybe not worthy for many people. But I don't think too much about spending $60 a year. I am paying more attention to cutting our wireless bill from $70 to $50 a month.
Of course, that second card is only available to your sibling if they live with you, i.e. at the same address. I assume, for most of us, our siblings don't qualify.

From the Costco website:
Primary and Affiliate Members receive one free Household Card for anyone over the age of 18 and living at the same address. Household Cardholders will be asked to present proof that they live at the same address as either the Primary or Affiliate Member.


PS - we cut our wireless bill from $85/mo (ATT) to $17/mo (Xfinity)
Last edited by neilpilot on Sun Sep 20, 2020 12:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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CardinalRule
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by CardinalRule »

Slacker wrote: Sun Sep 20, 2020 7:39 am
We also get the prepared food from Costco when work is getting very busy. "Street taco", chicken pot pie, chicken chili, chicken soup, rotisserie chicken. Most of these are 20% to 75% more expensive at typical grocery stores and not as good.
Those tacos are surprisingly good and of course easy to prepare. A little too much food for DW and me in one sitting, though. :wink: We often pair these (especially when both of are busy) with the ready-to-drink Kirkland "margarita," which is actually a wine cocktail.

We have not tried other prepared foods.
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by danaht »

If you have another bulk membership club closer to you (ie Sam's Club) - then the answer is NO. I have a Sam's Club that is 1 mile away and a Costco that is 8 miles away. I tend to always go to Sam's Club. Having said that - there are some products that Costco has, that Sam's doesn't. I found that I can usually pay with Costco Gift cards (without a Costco membership) to get those rare items - the cashier calls this a "99" checkout. I join Costco every other year, and buy gift cards for the next year when I am not a member. So - this in effect saves half the membership cost. Now, if Costco changes there policy to get rid of the Costco gift card purchases (without membership) - then this will no longer work - and I'll just avoid Costco if that happened. Also the $120 executive membership would never be worth it to me - since I don't buy that much from Costco. I only get the cheaper gold star membership every other year.
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by Gort »

lakja wrote: Sun Sep 20, 2020 11:32 am Absolutely not. COSTCO is very inconvenient maybe for you but not for the "unwashed masses" as you call them, too large of servings no problem for me, too large of a store more choices, poorly laid out compared to what?, and their customer service sucks I've always found their customer service to be outstanding.

You have to show your card to enter the store why is that a problem?, getting a cart not unlike any other grocery store, pushing the behemoth among the unwashed masses beware, they probably also go to stores you frequent, and then returning the cart is a pain again, no different than other stores. You’ll wait in line for 10-15 minutes to check out and then have to put all of your items back in your cart or into boxes "reduce, reuse, recycle". Also, the gas deals are the same: lines are long and aren’t worth the time wasted to save a few pennies. that's probably true but you have the option to not use their service

To each their own, but I find the quality is way over blown, service sucks, and the time wasted isn’t worth the theoretical savings.

I’d pay $120 to never step foot into a COSTCO again. Contact customer service to find out how to do this.
:sharebeer

Gort
Last edited by Gort on Sun Sep 20, 2020 12:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by unclescrooge »

AlphaLess wrote: Sun Sep 20, 2020 11:45 am Costco membership value hinges on a very narrow proposition.

Especially since the pandemic Costco quality has gone down the drain a lot.

You might like Costco for whatever reason, but it is clearly not the great value proposition it used to be.

We are maintaining the membership only because the fee is not a big dollar figure for us.
Not sure what you're buying but we recently bought a leather sectional during quarantine for $3,300.

Simply amazing quality for the price.

I also picked up gyro meat last time I was there and was incredibly impressed with the quality.
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by lazydavid »

atikovi wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 7:04 pm
quantAndHold wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 6:39 pm When we needed a TV, the price with tax at Costco was cheaper than the base exchange, even after sales tax.
Looking for a 55" TV now.

Best Buy: https://www.bestbuy.com/site/samsung-55 ... Id=6401735

Costco: https://www.costco.com/samsung-55%22-cl ... 49148.html

Are these not the same TV's for the same price?
Not exactly. The one at BB has a 1-year warranty, while the Costco one has 3, + 2 more if you use their credit card for at total of 5.
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by GreenLawn »

danaht wrote: Sun Sep 20, 2020 12:12 pm If you have another bulk membership club closer to you (ie Sam's Club) - then the answer is NO. I have a Sam's Club that is 1 mile away and a Costco that is 8 miles away. I tend to always go to Sam's Club. Having said that - there are some products that Costco has, that Sam's doesn't. I found that I can usually pay with Costco Gift cards (without a Costco membership) to get those rare items - the cashier calls this a "99" checkout. I join Costco every other year, and buy gift cards for the next year when I am not a member. So - this in effect saves half the membership cost. Now, if Costco changes there policy to get rid of the Costco gift card purchases (without membership) - then this will no longer work - and I'll just avoid Costco if that happened. Also the $120 executive membership would never be worth it to me - since I don't buy that much from Costco. I only get the cheaper gold star membership every other year.
Interesting idea on the bulk purchase of gift cards while a member. I was told by Costco if I left I'd have to give up my Costco Visa with it's great rebate percentages and that I use constantly.

Later this year I anticipate living an hour away from the nearest Costco, however I will be traveling interstates occasionally for vacation/trips that have Costco's adjacent to them. I'm renewing the card for another year, will reassess membership after that depending on how often I actually visit a Costco, to be determined.
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by lakja »

Gort wrote: Sun Sep 20, 2020 12:38 pm
lakja wrote: Sun Sep 20, 2020 11:32 am Absolutely not. COSTCO is very inconvenient maybe for you but not for the "unwashed masses" as you call them, too large of servings no problem for me, too large of a store more choices, poorly laid out compared to what?, and their customer service sucks I've always found their customer service to be outstanding.

You have to show your card to enter the store why is that a problem?, getting a cart not unlike any other grocery store, pushing the behemoth among the unwashed masses beware, they probably also go to stores you frequent, and then returning the cart is a pain again, no different than other stores. You’ll wait in line for 10-15 minutes to check out and then have to put all of your items back in your cart or into boxes "reduce, reuse, recycle". Also, the gas deals are the same: lines are long and aren’t worth the time wasted to save a few pennies. that's probably true but you have the option to not use their service

To each their own, but I find the quality is way over blown, service sucks, and the time wasted isn’t worth the theoretical savings.

I’d pay $120 to never step foot into a COSTCO again. Contact customer service to find out how to do this.
:sharebeer

Gort
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by danaht »

GreenLawn wrote: Sun Sep 20, 2020 12:50 pm
danaht wrote: Sun Sep 20, 2020 12:12 pm If you have another bulk membership club closer to you (ie Sam's Club) - then the answer is NO. I have a Sam's Club that is 1 mile away and a Costco that is 8 miles away. I tend to always go to Sam's Club. Having said that - there are some products that Costco has, that Sam's doesn't. I found that I can usually pay with Costco Gift cards (without a Costco membership) to get those rare items - the cashier calls this a "99" checkout. I join Costco every other year, and buy gift cards for the next year when I am not a member. So - this in effect saves half the membership cost. Now, if Costco changes there policy to get rid of the Costco gift card purchases (without membership) - then this will no longer work - and I'll just avoid Costco if that happened. Also the $120 executive membership would never be worth it to me - since I don't buy that much from Costco. I only get the cheaper gold star membership every other year.
Interesting idea on the bulk purchase of gift cards while a member. I was told by Costco if I left I'd have to give up my Costco Visa with it's great rebate percentages and that I use constantly.

Later this year I anticipate living an hour away from the nearest Costco, however I will be traveling interstates occasionally for vacation/trips that have Costco's adjacent to them. I'm renewing the card for another year, will reassess membership after that depending on how often I actually visit a Costco, to be determined.
There are better Visa cards than what Costco offers and won't make you keep that Costco membership. I have two Bank Of America Visa cards that offer better cash back rewards. But, there is a major caveat for the B of A credit cards. In order for the rewards to be good - you need a Merrill Edge brokerage account that has at least $100,000 of ETFs/Stocks/Cash (VOO is a good one to have if you just want to hold ETFs) . That will get you to a "Platinum Honors" level for the credit cards. You will also need to open a B of A checking account - but you don't need much money in it as long as you keep $100,000 of equity in the Merrill Edge brokerage account. (this will avoid any low balance fees for the checking account). You can also get that $100,000 level in Merrill Edge by transferring an IRA to Merrill Edge. Without the "Platinum Honors" level - you will not get the good cash back rates mentioned below.
The two credit cards I recommend are:
1) Bank of America Cash (I use this to get ~3% back on grocery purchases and ~5% back on gas) It's a no annual fee credit card.
2) Bank of America Rewards Premium (I use this on all other purchases to get ~2.5% back) This card has a $95 annual fee - but has other rewards that make up for the annual fee.
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William Million
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by William Million »

I know Costco has many advocates but I've never been able to find a reason to join - and I can get a membership for under $25/year.

In general, I don't like the size of the store, checkout lines, driving distance or excessive quantities. Purely anecdotal and I might be wrong, I also think many Costco patrons tend to be more unhealthy and obese than, say, Trader Joe's patrons, in spite of the average income level of those who shop at Costco.

I once thought I would join as friends said the rental cars were cheaper. I compared prices and Costco was reasonable but I could usually find cheaper through other discount codes.
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jabberwockOG
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by jabberwockOG »

Gnirk wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 1:20 pm Personally, I love Costco, but that doesn't mean it works well for everyone.

I buy chicken, steak, and other foods in bulk and then repackage into smaller portions, and freeze them. For paper goods, zip-lock bags, etc I often share these with my daughters. We also buy quite a few of our clothes at Costco. I've purchased name brand clothing for a quarter of the price it sells for elsewhere, and my DH likes the Kirkland brand men's clothing. And it's the only place we buy gas.

I find their Kirkland brand to be of very good quality.

We also have the Costco credit card. Our cash rebates more than pay for our membership.
This! We buy enough clothes, food, wine, appliances, batteries, gas, and tires to make it worth while, these items are almost always available at competitive prices at Costco. Our yearly executive member reimbursement (2% of total purchases) more than covers the cost of membership each year.

We are lucky enough to live near a Costco that is usually never very crowded, and being retired we can go during the week when they open so the store is basically empty when we go shop there.
trueson1
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by trueson1 »

Great company with quality products. We have the executive membership and shop there a lot, especially for meat, then freeze and use the credit card for travel and gas and more than make up for the cost. Bought 2 sets of tires and the price and services are great.
Erwin007
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by Erwin007 »

atikovi wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 8:14 pm
Bobby206 wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 8:02 pm
atikovi wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 7:04 pm
quantAndHold wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 6:39 pm When we needed a TV, the price with tax at Costco was cheaper than the base exchange, even after sales tax.
Looking for a 55" TV now.

Best Buy: https://www.bestbuy.com/site/samsung-55 ... Id=6401735

Costco: https://www.costco.com/samsung-55%22-cl ... 49148.html

Are these not the same TV's for the same price?
Appears to be. It's one product. Look at 100 and Costco will be cheaper overall. On AVERAGE it's cheaper and often significantly less.
HAHA, apparently not on the stuff I actually want to buy.
Costco’s version comes with an included 3 year warranty, and Best Buy’s costs $59 for the 3 year warranty. So the Costco version is actually a better deal.
thewizzer
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by thewizzer »

DesertDiva wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 9:39 pm Pesto, pasta, peas, Pelligrino, paper products, Pinot Noir, petrol, personal care products... we get our money’s worth.
Just think of how much you would save if you started at the beginning of the alphabet 😂
TallBoy29er
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by TallBoy29er »

LiveSimple wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 1:35 pm We use Costco travels and it is worth it
Our closest Costco is 2 1/2 hours away. We still have a basic membership. Make maybe 4 trips per year.

Their travel service is nice. Almost every rental car in the last 5 years has been through Costco.

It's a low investment, low risk.
Erwin007
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by Erwin007 »

AlphaLess wrote: Sun Sep 20, 2020 11:45 am
Especially since the pandemic Costco quality has gone down the drain a lot.
This seems like a stretch. How has the quality “gone down a lot”?
Erwin007
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by Erwin007 »

This question gets asked about every 3-4 months on this forum. There are some very adamant posters on either side of the discussion, and I don’t think much has changed since the last 3-4 times this was posted.

For some people, it definitely makes sense. We have a family of 5 and save a lot on groceries, not to mention the higher quality a lot of comparable products. You can pretty much immediately discount the opinions of people who say that the quality and cost of things like meats and cheeses are identical at their local grocery store. I’ve lived in lots of places in the US and have never seen the selection and quality of meat and seafood like they have at Costco at regular grocery stores (Aldi, Meijer, Piggly Wiggly, Publix, Kroger, Albertsons, Fred Meyer, Safeway, etc).

Gas is ~$.25 cheaper per gallon at Costco, on average, than other local convenience stores. I go to Costco about every 2 weeks and fill up whenever I go, but am far enough away that it doesn’t make sense to fill up there all the time. That right there saves me about $100 per year, not to mention the rebate I get at Costco.

We travel a lot and use Costco travel for a lot of our trips and accommodations. On average, rental cars are cheaper through Costco than any standard car rental ive found. I’m sure you can find coupon codes or specials from time to time, but those aren’t always available. We saved a couple of hundred dollars on a hotel rental in San Diego a couple of years back for a 3 night stay versus what the exact same hotel cost through the hotel website or through Travelocity, Expedia, etc. That’s a couple of years of membership paid for right there. We went on anAlaskan cruise last year through Costco and got a $1200 cash back card just be or booking through Costco on a cruise we were going on anyway.

The list goes on. Sure you might be able to do one or a few of these things as cheaply elsewhere, but I haven’t found one store that is able to package the variety of quality and well priced items as exceptionally as Costco.
stoptothink
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by stoptothink »

Erwin007 wrote: Sun Sep 20, 2020 6:56 pm You can pretty much immediately discount the opinions of people who say that the quality and cost of things like meats and cheeses are identical at their local grocery store. I’ve lived in lots of places in the US and have never seen the selection and quality of meat and seafood like they have at Costco at regular grocery stores (Aldi, Meijer, Piggly Wiggly, Publix, Kroger, Albertsons, Fred Meyer, Safeway, etc).
"Quality" being the operative word, which when discussing food is highly subjective. I can tell you that I did the comparo when I moved to my current area and Costco offered not a single grocery item our family regularly purchases for cheaper than I could get at a local grocer, in some cases the cost differential was very significant (ie. produce, which is the bulk of our food). I've never had concerns about the perceived quality of these items. I challenged my mom, brother, and sister to do the same (when they moved to my area) and all of them discontinued their Costco membership after two decades of membership.

When I was in California, Costco was a no-brainer, but I have lived all over the western U.S. (LA, central California, Mesa, Houston, Austin, Salt Lake, and currently in Utah County, Utah) and the value proposition isn't the same everywhere.
mega317
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by mega317 »

TallBoy29er wrote: Sun Sep 20, 2020 6:33 pm Our closest Costco is 2 1/2 hours away. We still have a basic membership.
There is a Costco right by the Maui airport. We have family there and when we land we load up for a week worth of supplies to feed many. If we went as often as we did before having kids it would be worth it just for that.
https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6212
Erwin007
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by Erwin007 »

stoptothink wrote: Sun Sep 20, 2020 7:27 pm
Erwin007 wrote: Sun Sep 20, 2020 6:56 pm You can pretty much immediately discount the opinions of people who say that the quality and cost of things like meats and cheeses are identical at their local grocery store. I’ve lived in lots of places in the US and have never seen the selection and quality of meat and seafood like they have at Costco at regular grocery stores (Aldi, Meijer, Piggly Wiggly, Publix, Kroger, Albertsons, Fred Meyer, Safeway, etc).
"Quality" being the operative word, which when discussing food is highly subjective. I can tell you that I did the comparo when I moved to my current area and Costco offered not a single grocery item our family regularly purchases for cheaper than I could get at a local grocer, in some cases the cost differential was very significant (ie. produce, which is the bulk of our food). I've never had concerns about the perceived quality of these items. I challenged my mom, brother, and sister to do the same (when they moved to my area) and all of them discontinued their Costco membership after two decades of membership.

When I was in California, Costco was a no-brainer, but I have lived all over the western U.S. (LA, central California, Mesa, Houston, Austin, Salt Lake, and currently in Utah County, Utah) and the value proposition isn't the same everywhere.
Just on items I bought this week in produce raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, mandarin oranges and avocados were all cheaper at Costco (and better quality) than those same items at Albertsons. Maybe you don’t buy those things.

For quality I don’t think it’s at all subjective to say that prime and choice cuts of meat are better than select, or that wild caught Alaskan salmon are better quality than farmed salmon of any variety.
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by Slacker »

William Million wrote: Sun Sep 20, 2020 5:51 pm I know Costco has many advocates but I've never been able to find a reason to join - and I can get a membership for under $25/year.

In general, I don't like the size of the store, checkout lines, driving distance or excessive quantities. Purely anecdotal and I might be wrong, I also think many Costco patrons tend to be more unhealthy and obese than, say, Trader Joe's patrons, in spite of the average income level of those who shop at Costco.

I once thought I would join as friends said the rental cars were cheaper. I compared prices and Costco was reasonable but I could usually find cheaper through other discount codes.
Distance to the nearest Costco is the only reason that would have me cancel my membership. I've been in that situation a few times over the past few years (not interested in a half hour drive to save a few bucks on groceries).

Just reminded me of a benefit I used to take advantage of through Costco when we lived in a more expensive city:
Movie Theater ticket discounts. Our current city has decent movie theater prices, but we've lived in cities where the average Matinee price was $10 (prime time pricing of $15). Costco usually had movie tickets for around $7 or $8 (and carried both Regal and AMC discount tickets).
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by Slacker »

CardinalRule wrote: Sun Sep 20, 2020 12:04 pm
Slacker wrote: Sun Sep 20, 2020 7:39 am
We also get the prepared food from Costco when work is getting very busy. "Street taco", chicken pot pie, chicken chili, chicken soup, rotisserie chicken. Most of these are 20% to 75% more expensive at typical grocery stores and not as good.
Those tacos are surprisingly good and of course easy to prepare. A little too much food for DW and me in one sitting, though. :wink: We often pair these (especially when both of are busy) with the ready-to-drink Kirkland "margarita," which is actually a wine cocktail.

We have not tried other prepared foods.
Typically the tacos are 3 meals for my wife and 2 meals for myself (she insists we split the meat 50/50 from the beginning every time). I only wish they sold that restaurant style salsa in store (but in reasonable sizes).

For those decrying large size portions -> they sometimes offer multi-packs of individual servings. For example, you can purchase a big tub of hummus (probably 1.5 - 2 lbs) which is simply too much for anything other than a party, however, they also offer the same brand of hummus in a big pack of individual serving size 2oz packs. Certainly not for everything, but I don't see it as a problem to get oatmeal 10lbs at a time, it won't really go bad if you eat it every morning for breakfast. Depends on what you purchase.
7eight9
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by 7eight9 »

For some it is and for others it isn't. I've been a member of both Sam's Club and Costco. Currently a member of neither. The savings just aren't there for us. We don't drive enough (and it is in the wrong direction relative to places we go) and don't buy enough other food and household goods.

What is a good value at Costco is the Kewpie Deep Roasted Sesame Dressing. Absolutely love it. But obviously not going to join to buy one item. As others have mentioned, if you have a Costco Cash Card you can shop without a membership. If you have a friend with a membership ask them to buy you a bunch of $25 Cash Cards and you can go shopping multiple times (pay the differential between $25 and your order with cash).

Sam's Club has earned my respect and gratitude by instituting Hero Hours for first responders and healthcare workers during this panademic. We were able to purchase ground beef and chicken during the initial crazy weeks when groceries were out of stock. And for that we are very grateful. Costco did absolutely nothing for first responders and healthcare workers.

Hero Hours ---https://corporate.samsclub.com/business ... 0heroes%20(Sam's%20Club%20associates,healthcare%20workers%20and%20first%20responders.
I guess it all could be much worse. | They could be warming up my hearse.
angelescrest
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by angelescrest »

We have been shopping less at Costco this year. Despite that, we still just received about a $100 certificate which just about pays for the membership. Definitely keeping our membership, as we regularly get high quality staples that our family enjoys.
srt7
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by srt7 »

We used their mortgage services in 2018 and to refi in 2020. Probably got 4 years worth of membership fee refunded right there.

I also go there every once in a while to get groceries, fill up gas etc.

It is $120 so I don't think too much about it.YMMV.
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CardinalRule
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by CardinalRule »

7eight9 wrote: Sun Sep 20, 2020 9:58 pm
Sam's Club has earned my respect and gratitude by instituting Hero Hours for first responders and healthcare workers during this panademic. We were able to purchase ground beef and chicken during the initial crazy weeks when groceries were out of stock. And for that we are very grateful. Costco did absolutely nothing for first responders and healthcare workers.

Hero Hours ---https://corporate.samsclub.com/business ... 0heroes%20(Sam's%20Club%20associates,healthcare%20workers%20and%20first%20responders.
Seems a little off the $120 topic, but Costco did provide priority access (skipping lines) for first responders and healthcare workers when the pandemic began.
7eight9
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by 7eight9 »

CardinalRule wrote: Sun Sep 20, 2020 10:11 pm
7eight9 wrote: Sun Sep 20, 2020 9:58 pm
Sam's Club has earned my respect and gratitude by instituting Hero Hours for first responders and healthcare workers during this panademic. We were able to purchase ground beef and chicken during the initial crazy weeks when groceries were out of stock. And for that we are very grateful. Costco did absolutely nothing for first responders and healthcare workers.

Hero Hours ---https://corporate.samsclub.com/business ... 0heroes%20(Sam's%20Club%20associates,healthcare%20workers%20and%20first%20responders.
Seems a little off the $120 topic, but Costco did provide priority access (skipping lines) for first responders and healthcare workers when the pandemic began.
Sam's Club allowed first responders and healthcare workers to shop during special hours without a membership. Costco did nothing for first responders and healthcare workers who hadn't coughed up a membership fee. Big difference in my book.
Last edited by 7eight9 on Sun Sep 20, 2020 10:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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MN-Investor
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Re: Is Costco worth the $120 membership?

Post by MN-Investor »

The three stores I go to on a regular basis during this pandemic: Target, Costco, and the local grocery store.

We started buying gas years ago at Costco because it was cheaper and it was Top Tier. Sam's Club gas is not.

I don't spend nearly as much at Costco now that my sweetie has passed away, but there are some items that I buy there that I can't otherwise find locally. I love the Chef Robert Irvine’s Fit Crunch Chocolate Peanut Butter Whey Protein Bars, for example. I like the Kirkland cashews. I love Costco for buying electronics - my Windows laptop, Apple iPads and watches. Inkjet ink. Some of my clothes.

I'm not a fan of long lines, but it's usually not crowded at all on Tuesday or Wednesday mornings (I'm retired.)

I haven't bought any since the pandemic began, but I was always a fan of the $1.50 hot dog + soda. That may wait until the pandemic fades and they re-open their indoor dining section.
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