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Nov 21, 2010 03:57 PM

Costco membership worthwhile for 2 adults and 1 infant? (organic buyers)

We are a family of 3, consuming mostly organic veggies and seafood (wild if available) for diet. I heard that Costco is great for diapers but I can't seem to find Huggies Pure and Natural which is what my baby uses at a nearby Costco. My baby feeds on breast milk and home-made solid food soI don't need the formula or baby food there either. I am also aware that Costco offers a lot more organic choices nowadays, but I am just not sure if I can get my $50 back annually with our spending pattern.

I currently obtain my organic veggies, fruit and seafood primarily from local farmer's market and Trader Joe's with a few Whole Foods trips to top it off.

Any insight is welcome. Thanks.

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  1. If you can afford it, I'd advice getting the $100 membership if you decide to get a membership at all. You get a rebate back on every $ you spend and we've always managed to get at least $100 back in that rebate check.

    Okay, I don't know about disposable diapers, because we use cloth, but I know you can buy good quality cloth from their website and occasionally at the store. They carry organic milk, milk products, and eggs at excellent prices. Their regular milk is not organic, but is RGBH free and is much less than at the supermarket.

    I'd say a very large percentage of their packaged products are organic, and if your family is anything like mine (we get a CSA delivery box every week), we still need to get other fruits and veggies to round it out and I'm very happy with what we can get at Costco. I just wish they carried organic potatoes all the time.

    But for us really, the main cost savings at costco are from non-food items. Their toddler and little kids clothes are good quality, and far less expensive than retail. Your baby will probably very soon be on more solids, and the bulk size cheerios box has been a lifesaver for us.

    Costco also has great prices on baby wipes (random there, but thought I'd mention it).

    My suggestion would be to get a membership and try it out. If you don't like it, you can cancel your membership at any time for a full refund. We didn't think we'd spend nearly as much at Costco as we do, but honestly it has replaced most of our other shopping.

    (Oh, we are a two adult, two toddler household, if that helps)

    3 Replies
    1. re: tzurriz

      I'm a single person household and rarely buy food at Costco. I do, though, find membership worthwhile for other things: vitamins and OTC meds such as generic allergic stuff; contact lens solution; ummmm...girl products, gift certs for the nephews (iTunes, movie theaters), pet food/supplies. The prices on these items is so dramatically less than in other stores that a membership actually is cost-effective, even for a single person.

      1. re: Erika L

        I'm a single person, and I probably save $50 on Fage yogurt alone. But for the buying patterns you describe, I don't think it's worth it.

        1. re: Erika L

          Same here. I rarely buy food at Costco. Here is what I always buy there, though: bulk paper towels, toilet paper, kleenex, dishwashing detergent, organic sugar, contact lens solution, lotion. At other times, I've purchases Brita filters, vacuum cleaners, microfiber cloths, etc. Plus, I get my auto and home insurance through Costco (I know that the auto was a lot less than what we were paying before) and my tires. So, I feel the $100 is worth it w/o foodstuffs.

      2. Shopping for two adults and no infants, and eating primarily organic foods, I question the value of my membership. At this time it is used primarily for toilet paper and organic frozen fruits, the supply of which is somewhat erratic (fruit, not tp). For my purposes, Costco quantities are too great and quality is inferior to what I purchase through the farmers market or my local natural foods store. I prefer to pay more for higher quality and waste less -- possibly we break even, though I'm not sure. I would get a one day pass and evaluate the inventory with a critical eye. The few packaged foods we buy are seldom offered at Costco, as they buy with an eye for the desires of the masses.

        3 Replies
        1. re: maxie

          Costco does not offer a one day pass. If a person would like to look around to see what the store has and pricing, they're more than welcome to do so. However, if they'd like to make a purchase, they have to have a membership

          1. re: LuckyCharm

            so, get a membership and ask for your money back after one day if you don't like it?
            "one day pass" ;-)

            1. re: Chowrin

              Yep, you can. I had someone who wanted a refund 2 hours after getting their membership, and another who wanted a refund about 15 minutes later. (The first person was someone acting very entitled and didn't want to wait in nonexistant lines--they thought they were special enough to come up to the refund desk and want to check out there--PS, the registers up there are programed to not allow a purchase! The other just wanted it for gas, and refused to pay for gas with anything but cash, and didn't want to purchase a cash card. Oh well.)

              People confuse use with BJs and Sams that do offer the one day pass or 60 day trial.

        2. It might not be worth $50 bucks...but if you split the membership with someone else, it's $25 bucks and worth it for many other items. The membership can be split between people in different states...they don't care.

          3 Replies
          1. re: ML8000

            Costco is cracking down on the "other state" issue. If you read the application for membership, the additional household card is for an adult over the age of 18 who resides in the same household as the primary cardholder.

            1. re: LuckyCharm

              My Costco card is international (primary membership is outside US) and I have had no problem using it in the US.

              1. re: ChowMulanno1

                I didn't say it wouldn't work. What I said was that they're looking for ID now for the free household card, and not issuing it to someone whose address doesn't match that of the account.

          2. IMO: No. Not even remotely. Unless you plan to buy lots of non-food items. Save yourself the hassle of shopping there (it's got to be worth at least $25/yr to never set foot in the place).

            Depends on where you shop ordinarily. If you shop at Whole Foods, Rainbow Grocery or Berkeley Natural Foods (I think that's the right name, on Hopkins?), you'll find organic produce to be cheaper if you're willing to buy in huge quantities. But if you shop at Berkeley Bowl or Monterey Market, not so much, and you have the luxury of buying what you need as picking it out individually. And, I'm less than convinced that the quality of Costco's organic produce is up to snuff compared to local suppliers.

            I joined a while back for a single purchase item. It was an extraordinarily good deal, so it was worth it to me. But I found I hated shopping there and when I did, I found little to buy. Sure I saved a bit on paper products and what not, but for me the ordeal of Costco was not worth the small change.

            Of course, you'll save a dime a gallon or so on gas if you're willing to wait in those interminable lines. Let's see, on a fill up you save the princely sum of a dollar or two. Go there once a week and you've come out ahead, I suppose.


            Berkeley Bowl
            2020 Oregon St, Berkeley, CA 94703

            Rainbow Grocery
            1745 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94103

            2 Replies
            1. re: Gustavo Glenmorangie

              Costco is more than just food and gas. For tire replacement alone you'll save the $50 you pay and then some (plus they rotate and fix flats/leaks for free).

              1. re: ferret

                I second the point about tires. The convenience of being able to have your tires rotated for free while you shop is great, as are the prices for initial tire purchases.

            2. If your budget allows for organic prices, a Costco membership is chump change. I get lots of organic items at Costco and have never been disappointed, veggies, honey, strawberry jam, flaxseed, veggies, eggs just to name a few and no place beats their prices. You'll hear a lot of noise about the lines, I try to avoid week-ends and have had little problems with lines for both food and gas. Lastly, if you don't like the place, within the year, you can get a full refund, no questions asked so the downside risk is zero.

              1 Reply
              1. re: cstr

                I totally agree and think it's well worth it. They're getting a lot more organic stuff. I have a two adult household and it absolutely saves me money, and I have access to a good coop and Trader Joe's. If you just bought organic olive oil, enviro-friendly laundry detergent, and organic sugar and quinoa, say, it'd pay for itself.