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Costco worth it for a couple?

I live with my boyfriend and we currently do most of our grocery shopping at Superstore and Walmart. There's only the two of us to feed but we do cook at home a lot. Are the bulk portions and savings worth the $55 annual membership fee for a household of two?

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  1. IMO, not really ... unless you really buy into the Costco lifestyle.

    It's better to just get a member friend to get you a Costco Gift/Cash card and you reimburse them, that way you don't have to have a membership to shop there.

    Or, if you really like to spend money there at Costco, get the executive membership for 110 bucks and that way you get a small percentage back at the end of the year. We have a family of 6 (4 boys) and we shop at Costco all the time apart from the local Safeway which is convenient. Usually our rebate check at the end of the year amounts to ~ 180 bucks or so.

    But for a couple the previous recommendation stands.

    3 Replies
    1. re: bill_n_opus

      Yeah, buying in bulk without family or friends to use it is a slippery slope, especially with food. Many of the meats, etc. would have to be frozen and what's the point in that?

      Sure there are a few fun things that you can't find elsewhere but once again how much can you use of any one item as they invariably come in large sizes?
      I'd get sundries at SuperStore as their prices are comparable and the quantities make more sense for a couple (Walmart as well I guess but I never shop there).

      As bill mentioned you can get your Costco fix by getting a card holder to buy you a $20 gift card and this allows you to shop like a regular member for the day, paying the rest with cash or debit (no credit cards though). That way you'll get Costco fever out of your system...

      1. re: eatrustic

        the big value for me is not centered on the food offerings or on the sundries.

      2. re: bill_n_opus

        you don't need the executive membership to get money back. costco sponsors an no-fee american express card that will give you 3% back on all gas purchases (even on costco gas), 2% back on restaurant purchases, and 1% back on all the rest.

        the money i save in gas on this card practically pays for the membership fee. my tank takes 14 gallons of premium.

        also, as you would imagine, being on chowhound, the restaurant purchase discount is very meaningful to me.

      3. Depends. Savings on a set of tires may pay for your membership. Costco is not just about food. They have travel deals, car deals, home improvement deals (we bought our granite countertops through Costco and saved over $1,700 over the lowest non-Costco bid). We also entertain a lot and have several large parties over the summer barbecue season. Gas savings can be over $2 per fill-up. So it's really up to you whether a membership price of a little over $1/week is a good deal for you.

        4 Replies
        1. re: ferret

          And don't forget, you can get a great deal on a casket.

          1. re: ferret

            I have had a costco membership for about 6 months. It is just me and my husband. We have used it for tires to get a savings that did in fact offset the cost.

            I don't always find great deals on groceries, butI go there bi-weekly to buy items for my husbands lunch and pick up other random things. There are several things that we regularly consume that are better priced at costco.

            There is one by my work that is always 10-25 cents per gallon less, so I fill up there when I can.

            We also buy restaurant gift cards for restaurants that we frequent at 20% savings off face value.

            I do this for spa gift cards as well.

            You can get discounts on insurance, travel, and many other things...including caskets as previously mentioned.

            My favorite purchase has been knock off Lu Lu Lemon workout clothing.

            I bought the executive because the reimburse you for the extra cost if your rebates are less than the difference between the membership plans.

            It is 100% refundable, so if you buy it and it does not work out, you can get a full-refund.

            1. re: brilynn79

              I understand that the dental insurance could be a considerable savings if one doesn't have access to group coverage in any other way.

              1. re: Stephanie Wong

                We get our car insurance through Costco.

          2. Do you or your boyfriend drive?

            Just the savings in gas will more than makeup for the membership fee.

            1. For DH and me, a Costco membership has been a staple because it works for us. We buy so much more than food, though. We utilize Costco fully. It's not all about 20-packs of toilet paper ;-)
              We live about 15-20 minutes away and have a freezer (and a vacuum sealer) and room to store bulk. It's not a one-size-fits-all deal. You have to weigh the factors and see if it works for you. It's also not a lifetime membership or a time share, so I think the worst that could happen is that you don't utilize Costco as much as you thought you would and therefore, don't renew.

              1. It's also not solely 55-gallon drums of mayo. Probably half (or more) of their food items are multi-packs of regular sized products.

                1. There are many variables in the decision. If you go to the movies once or twice a month, the savings on AMC discount tickets will pay for a Costco membership. A dozen freshly baked croissants for $6 is a deal I can't find elsewhere, also, several dozen Costco/Kirkland batteries for $10 or $12 is a big saving, compared with buying them 2 at a time. Also, Costco gasoline prices are attractive, at least in Chicago. I bought some Christmas wreaths, also, for a lower price than I found elsewhere. In addition, although they're not the best dress shirts in the world, Costco always has a huge inventory of men's dress shirts, including hard-to-find sizes, for under $20 per.

                  If you have a Walmart close by, a Costco membership might not be attractive, but usually one can find enough bargains to justify the membership fee.

                  1. Just DH and I and we've been members for many years and we have the AMEX Costco which is 3% back in gas and that alone pays for my membership and we love it..think it's 1-2% on purchases
                    From tires, travel, merchant services on my businesses, seafood, coffee, prescriptions, gas, electronics, computers, cameras, etc..
                    For us, Costco is fab and I cook mostly from home and the quality is quite good and can't wait for my rebate check next month!

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Beach Chick

                      Rebate check= us too!! What to buy, what to buy...

                        1. re: Beach Chick

                          We try to put it towards non-food items. My favorite purchase was using the rebate towards my KitchenAid standing mixer. I use it all the time and can't imagine not having it now.

                          1. re: monavano

                            We do as well...I've got my eye on some high end pots and pans.
                            Good call on the KitchenAid mixer.

                    2. I'm a single person. Costco is where I buy all my plastic wrap, foil, fish oil pills (for the dogs), chicken broth, soy milk, toilet paper, paper towels, garbage bags, etc. Organic veggies, chicken breasts, frozen berries (for smoothies) etc. Got a 4-lb bag of quinoa the other day (I really like quinoa!). And my friends use my membership too. I've had my membership about a month, and I think I'll have made back the cost of membership in just a short time.

                      Basically, I'm trying to eat healthier and live more frugally. Costco helps. I avoid their highly processed foods in general (though I will be heading there for snacks the next time I host a party). I cook/chop the perishables as soon as I get them home and store them.

                      I think Costco works for couples/singles if you don't buy anything without a plan and set aside enough time to use what you buy effectively.

                      1. I am single no kids, I keep a membership for tires and booze and wine, once in a while I buy food, also I get vitamins and stuff like that. I doubt I come out ahead but I like having a membership. Should shop for food more often.

                        1. Why don't you just go to the Costco and do a price comparision and see what they have? See what kind of savings to expect and the convienence of it.

                          The two of us to to Costco probably once a month. Coffee, meat, fish, granola bars, detergent (clothes and dish), yogurt, tortilla chips, contact lenses, berries, with the occasional canned tomatoes/beans are what we pick up (followed by a hot dog). I know that we save on each, but I don't know if the yearly savings are </>/= to membership cost. However, we do share the membership with my parents. Our Costco doesn't sell gas or alcohol.

                          As long as you have freezer and pantry space it can be worth it.

                          1. Over and above the food, I've saved big on an HP laptop that I got for less than I could have got at HP, plus an additional year of warrantee, bought a mattress, small appliances and gasoline. As for the food and produce, they offer a good selection of organic for way less than super markets. Also, remember, if you join and don't like Costco they'll refund your membership, within the year, with no questions asked. Lastly, they have a very generous return policy. So what do you have to loose? You'll be surprised at how costly super markets really are.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: treb

                              There are occasional one-off bargains which are pretty much unbeatable. As an example, for TVs, when they're down to the last few units of a model they no longer intend to carry the price drop can be close to 50% off Costco's sale price. It's all in the timing.

                            2. It's worth it for me and I'm a single man. I also have the executive membership.

                              There are lots of things I won't buy because I know that I won't use them before they go bad..unless I'm cooking for a party and I need a quantity of something. However there are some good deals.

                              Things I typically buy:

                              Dry goods/toiletries:

                              toilet tissue
                              paper towels
                              deodorant
                              toothpaste
                              soap
                              shampoo

                              Meats:

                              sausages
                              pork chops
                              tritip
                              whole chickens
                              chicken breasts

                              Cheese:

                              cheddar
                              feta
                              blue crumbles
                              shredded mexican
                              parmesian
                              romano

                              Bread:
                              whole wheat
                              bagles
                              muffins
                              sourdough

                              Pasta:
                              tortellini
                              raviolli
                              dried mixed noodles

                              sauces, etc

                              dijon mustard
                              peanut butter
                              jelly
                              pasta sauce

                              Then there are things like towels, laundry detergent, socks, coffee, dish soap

                              Some comments..

                              Dry goods keep virtually forever. I buy TP and it lasts me for 6 months or more. A two pack of shampoo lasts me well over a year. Things like pasta sauce and peanut butter have long shelf lives as well, even after they are open. They are usually still good long past their 'use by' dates.

                              It's really hard to beat the prices on cheese at costco. You'll pay a fraction of what you'll pay even at places like Vons, Albertsons. I buy things like the feta and blue cheese crumbles and add a splash to salads, use to stuff chicken breasts, make stuffed pasta or just sprinkle over left overs. Having it on hand means you can use it and it keeps a long time. Similarly, hard cheeses like parm and romano are VERY expensive elsewhere and they'll last 6 months or more in the fridge if stored correctly.

                              I also freeze the extra loaves of bread when I get it there (they typically come in a two pack).

                              Most of the meats I'll repackage and freeze. That large tray of porkchops ends up in a half dozen vacuum packed bags with 2 chops in each bag. Enough to cook either a meal for two or a meal with left overs for the next night. Same thing with the sausages; that two pack of sausages each with a 8 or 10 links gets repackaged into vacuum packs of 3 or 4 and frozen.

                              Meal planning is much easier when you have a variety of portions of meats and cheeses already on hand. You just pull the meat out of the freezer and put in the fridge for the next night.

                              Oh, and if you need a good vacuum sealer? Why costco of course! My original one was purchased there and lasted me 10 years. I finally gave it away only because I upgraded. It was still going strong.

                              I rarely shop at the mega marts anymore. I shop at a small local grocery for small amounts of bulk items (rice, beans, flour) and most produce. I buy cheeses, dry goods and most meats at costco. The likes of Vons, Ralphs and Albertons can't compete with either on price..not even close.

                              1. We are a family of two and have never realized there was a Costco "lifestyle." Our typical shopping list for Costco--we go maybe once a month--is Parmigiano Reggiano, Romano, Comte, Gruyere, caf and decaf coffee, Proscuitto, canned cat food, San Pellegrino, cockles and curried lentils in a four pack. We skip the meats (we don't eat enough of it and don't like to freeze it), vegs/fruits (too much for two), almost all prepared foods (we don't really eat them) and paper products (Target has those in sizes that can be stored in our house). I've also purchased prescription glasses, a TV and VCR, and assorted household items. For gas and tires we find prices just as good close to home.

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: escondido123

                                  While some fruit/veg are oversized things like berries, apples, avocados and most citrus can easily be consumed by one or two persons. My wife finishes a blister pack of apples on her own each week.

                                  1. re: ferret

                                    Good point, their berries are excellent and manageable for a single or couple. The prices on their fruit is always better than a super market, even if it's on sale at the super market.

                                    1. re: ferret

                                      I try my best to buy fruits and vegs at the Farmers' Market every Tuesday afternoon. It's just 3 blocks from my house and I feel the quality is outstanding and I want to make sure it stays.

                                    2. re: escondido123

                                      Close to home? If your user name (escondido123) is indicative of where you live, you aren't exactly a long drive to the nearest Costco. :)

                                      [Caveat: the Nordahl Road Costco may very well be the most painful one in terms of the parking and traffic in the San Diego area.]

                                      To the original poster: as somebody else said, go there, look around, make note of the things you think you'd get. In my experience, it was barely worth it when we were just a couple, but as soon as we had a baby it paid off time and time again.

                                      1. re: RB Hound

                                        Whenever possible I try to buy in my own town--Escondido--and I hate the drive to Costco.

                                      2. re: escondido123

                                        Yup on the prescription glasses. I'm (ahem) quite visually impaired, and the opthalmologist said CostCo's adherence to prescriptions and quality is unbeatable (and his office even sells specs, too).

                                        1. re: pine time

                                          In New York State I believe that by state law you do not have to be a member to get prescription medicine, eye glasses or buy liquor at the store on Costco property.

                                          1. re: BluPlateSpec

                                            the prescription law is national - anyone can use the Costco pharmacy (but i'm not sure about the optical department).

                                      3. DH and I love Costco and there are only 2 of us as well. We do have a big upright freezer and having a Food Saver to vacuum seal is the absolute best. So we buy in bulk and break things down to 2 person sizes. And we have bought furniture, etc. there as well. One other thing that has been really great is their Pharmacy. We can buy meds a lot cheaper at Costco than our local Pharmacy, and that is WITHOUT insurance! I don't know what we would do without them.

                                        1. We belonged to BJs and then Costco long before we had kids. You should be able to recoup the annual membership fee with ease. We've bought our last two TVs at Costco (a Sony and an LG, both excellent).

                                          Not sure if that's part of the Costco lifestyle. 8<D

                                          1. Count me among the dissenters. It's just my husband and me, and we had a membership for two years but ultimately did not renew it.

                                            One issue is storage space, which you really need a lot of to take advantage of the membership. Our house lacks a basement and attic, and storage space is very limited, so we just don't have room to store keep jumbo packages of unperishable products. Our only freezer is the one attached to the refrigerator, so there's not much space there to store meat, etc.

                                            Also, I found that I could get prices that were just as good, if not better, if I shopped sales at the local Safeway.

                                            The Costco produce selection was lousy; very limited variety and available only in huge quantities that would rot before we could eat it all. Also, to shop in the produce section it was necessary to enter a frigid walk-in refrigerator, which hurt my ears.

                                            It was always a struggle to find a parking space, and the way the check-out person packed my purchases in boxes made them too heavy for me to readily get in my car without hurting my back. Typically, I had to remove items one-by-one from the box, put it in the car, put the empty box in the car, and then load it up. No thanks.

                                            Lastly, I found that no matter what my intentions, I could never get out of there spending less than $100. This didn't seem like such a bargain to me.

                                            19 Replies
                                            1. re: bitchincook

                                              This is how I feel about it generally as well. We live in an apartment and storage is a problem. They also don't have a lot of green/organic options at my local one. Like I can buy a HUGE thing of coffee filters, but they are the white/bleached kind. And I felt the same about the produce, I'd much rather shop locally for that. I do not buy grocery store meat so that's n/a, and ours does not sell liquor, only beer/wine and the wine prices are really no better than my local grocery store. The gas is no better than most places either, and I had the same problem with boxing and getting things in/out of the cart. I ended up making like 12 trips from the parking lot to the apartment to get everything inside after a trip.

                                              There were/are a few select things I still like from there. They sell Mario's pasta sauces 3 jars at a time and those are reasonable and very good. They sell a brand of veggie straws I really like that aren't available in my local store. But largely the fresh food products are mostly gross to me (I think their rotisserie chicken tastes like chemicals) or are too huge to use up for our small family. Like I really like Sabra hummous, but no way can I use up a giant tub of it like that before it molds.

                                              1. re: bitchincook

                                                We felt the same way when it was just the two of us. We just didn't have the space to take advantage of the giant packs of paper towels,etc., and didn't find they were that great a bargain. Ditto for the wine, which wasn't that heavily discounted. However, as a family of four now, we do find it worth it. I think 4 people is the cut off point for making a wholesale club membership worthwhile, unless you have a storeroom and really like to load up.

                                                1. re: Isolda

                                                  But you only have to save $55 a year to come out even...and for the two of us that is easily done even though we don't buy the big bulky items like paper goods. Pet food, Pellegrino and Parmigiano cost savings pretty much cover the fee--the rest is gravy.

                                                  1. re: escondido123

                                                    I agree - we're a family of two and I easily recoup the cost of membership each year. We live in a small NYC apartment, but I can still find room for one big pack of TP and one of paper towels! Their prices on meat and cheese are unbeatable - for instance, Jarlsberg swiss is around $4.50 a pound at costco, and $10.99 a pound in my local grocery store. I can get flank steak at Costco for usually $5.99 a pound - it would cost me $12 at the local store, and the quality wouldn't be nearly as good. Brussels sprouts are $4 for a 2-lb bag (which we can easily go through in one sitting) - they're around $3 for 10oz in our local stores. And so on.

                                                    We have an executive membership, too, so that we can take advantage of the rebates and the Costco Amex, which is one of the best rewards credit cards I've ever had. Anyway, you have to do the math for yourself, but I don't think couples should reject Costco out of hand!

                                                2. re: bitchincook

                                                  This is why I've been tempted, but ultimately don't go for it. We have a farmhouse built in 1740. Charming on the good days, a big pile of rocks on the bad. The cellar is dirt-floored and gets water coming UP after a good rain -- low water table, I guess. It does dry and air out quickly, but there's no way to store anything. Closets and storage weren't big priorities when the house was built, so until we move somewhere else (soon, I hope), it is not to be. Half of the attic is now a bedroom suite, with bath and that's where I built the only usable closets we have. Between clothes, shoes, every box from every piece of electronic equipment my husband has and just general stuff like Christmas decorations, we're full up.

                                                  1. re: bitchincook

                                                    I've never lived in a house with basement or a useable attic either, but still find space for stuff. When we only had one fridge, we bought less but shopped more often. Parking, don't go on the weekends when it's packed. Too heavy boxes, tell them you don't want a box. I never get my stuff boxed, ever.

                                                    1. re: bitchincook

                                                      " Also, to shop in the produce section it was necessary to enter a frigid walk-in refrigerator, which hurt my ears.". I had to laugh...was just there today and walked into it for the first time (Costco just opened here) and almost froze....this is FL and we are in summer clothes....burr!!
                                                      I agree with everything you said from the storage to the parking to the prices. I did a little comparison pricing and in many respects they are more expensive then our local stores,we also just got a Trader Joes. The store is huge,and what really bugs me is there is no signage...you have to go down every flicking aisle to find what you want. It took me two trips before I discovered where the paper goods were,and they are sold in such huge quantities that it would take us forever to use them,much less find a place to store them. I will see about the gas,waiting for my AE card,to see if the whole thing is worth it.

                                                      1. re: Mother of four

                                                        I haven't found any super market, sans gimicky page 1 sales items, that beat Costco on most items. Also, Costco's quality is far better than generic store branded items. As for gasoline, I save between 7-10 cents per gallon over the cheapest stations around the area. Once you get use to the store layout, everything is fairly easy to find. I find more frustration at super markets that re-arrange their isles frequently. Judging from your comments, sounds like you visited just once, purchase a few items and do some real price, unit cost, comparision. Also, get their coupon book at hte front desk. As for parking, there's always plenty of spaces. Last year, between the Costco cash back and the AMEX cash back, I had enough to get a free set of tires for my car, a typical year for me. Try to get that at TJ's or the super market!

                                                        1. re: treb

                                                          Sorry but parking is horrible here. I don't know if it's a first for them,but they are actually in a Mall. Tore down a previous anchor store and built a Costco. You have to go into the mall to enter it. I have actually been there twice....didn't enjoy the experience any better the second time. I did price comparison on three items and was quite surprised they were either more expensive or the same. Either one aren't wonderful options considering I have to buy in such huge quanities.

                                                          1. re: Mother of four

                                                            They aren't going to be lowest price 100% of the time but they generally offer something more if they aren't going to beat the competition's pricing. For example, they had Tide detergent pods when they were first released and were selling a 90-pack for $19 when competitors were selling 60-packs for $16. I know that's just one example, but it's their general practice. So you may have to buy 3 frozen pizzas at a time or multi-packs of other products but the unit pricing usually beats the competition.

                                                            1. re: Mother of four

                                                              You probably have one of the few Costco's that are not a standalone building, oh well, that's life. If you 'are' a mother of four, quantity, in some cases, may be an advantage. Example; milk is about $1 less than super markets per gallon. I find they also blow away the super markets with their organic choices but, Costco may not be for everyone.

                                                              1. re: treb

                                                                Yes,Mother of four but they are all married with families! Just two empty nesters who don't need three frozen pizzas at a time,couldn't tell tou the last time I bought a gallon of milk! Not a large amount of storage or freezer space. Maybe the gas will be worth it....we'll see.

                                                                1. re: Mother of four

                                                                  I save more on non-food items such as tires, TV's and laptops. Remember you can always get a full refund on your membership within the year, so there's no downside at all.

                                                                  1. re: Mother of four

                                                                    It's only been the two of us and we have belonged since 1985; before Costco Gas stations, Costco online and before the AmEx card with its rebate (it used to be cash or check only). I have calculated and we do save money compared to shopping on the outside.

                                                                    Most "bulk" items are normal sizes packaged together, so it's like buying three boxes of cereal/crackers on sale, which I do when prices are less and a coupon is involved for a one week sale at a local market.

                                                                    The return policy is excellent. I have seen many many newer items sold at Costco before they hit the 'regular' markets. Costco has been adding organic products for more than five years now; far ahead of others.

                                                                    1. re: Mother of four

                                                                      then your budget is quadruple ours. (our budget is $125 a month for food). We buy the 50lb. bags of flour (and sugar). Two people in this household too, but we LOVE homemade pizza!

                                                                      1. re: Chowrin

                                                                        $125/month?? Where do you live?? I'm either envious or really need to take another look at our purchasing habits... Both, I suppose...

                                                                        1. re: thursday

                                                                          Yeah we easily spend that weekly for lunches (me) and dinners out (both of us). We should definitely cut down.

                                                                          1. re: thursday

                                                                            Pittsburgh. buy a lot of bulk from costco. and pizza's remarkably cheap if you make it yourself

                                                                          2. re: Chowrin

                                                                            "then your budget is quadruple ours." I don't understand this statement.

                                                              2. My wife and I may have been only slightly ahead buying booze, prepared food for parties, cheese, etc. However, once we had our first child, I probably saved a grand or more on diapers and wipes alone. That probably justifies having a membership for a few decades.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: hawkeyeui93

                                                                  Nice call. I hope I get to have a kid. Cheers.

                                                                  1. re: hawkeyeui93

                                                                    a note to those who buy diapers and wipes at costco. we too bought costco until amazon mom rolled out. with amazon mom diapers were about ¢.5 cheaper than costco. not a lot but when you're going thru 7-10 diapers a day it adds up. we also found out the costco wipes were full of chemicals that have no place on a soft baby's butt :) we still love costco for all sorts of other things tho!

                                                                  2. We're not very efficient at the use of the Costco membership, so now what I tend to do is go on and off Costco. I usually find that tires easily pays for a year's membership, but what has happened this time is that I just got tires at the tail end of my membership, so now I'll let it lapse for a while. There are a couple things in OTC meds that will also pretty well pay for a membership, so when I need that again I will probably renew. As long as that's 3 months from my expiration, they will push up the new expiration date to one year from the renewal date. So it's worth it.

                                                                    I really wish some other things like gas would make it worth it, but it doesn't here. If you catch it when others have raised the price, the gas can be several cents less, but the norm is 1-2 cents less than the non-membership places. Either the other places are more aggressive here with gas prices or Costco is perhaps barred in PA from being as aggressive as they are elsewhere. We also don't get alcohol here at all, so the only time that would come into play is when we're out of town.

                                                                    When I do have the membership, I sometimes buy cheese, frozen items, non-food stuff like cleaning supplies (been using Kirkland laundry detergent for a few years now, that's a great buy), clothing, a mishmash of things. Good deal (especially when they do a coupon) on large packs of electric toothbrush refills or PUR faucet water filter refills, a couple things we use. But I don't always find the food mix advantageous. Great for chicken broth, for example, but wish they would carry veg broth the same way since that is what we would use. (Guess I should request it.) We don't usually need the quantities of produce, and we don't typically cook meat at home. (I'm the only one who eats meat.) To use it well food-wise you need to be good at stocking the pantry and at planning ahead. We tend to be neither. ;-) And sometimes I am particular about brand/variety, and Costco is of course limited variety on purpose, part of their setup. So if it's something that doesn't fit for us, we don't buy it there. We don't find a lot of matches in the dry goods it seems.

                                                                    But two people can certainly get good use out of Costco for sure. It does make sense to go check it out first and see if the product mix looks like it'll work for you personally.

                                                                    Beware, you may find yourself agreeing with the people who have dubbed it the "$200 store" as in that's how much your transaction is about each time. Mine were like that a lot of times, and often enough there were impulsive buys in there. ;-)

                                                                    1. Thanks for everyone's input. Our Costco doesn't have gas or booze. It does have tires but the boyfriend is a mechanic so getting tires for cheap isn't a concern for us. My main worry is that we have a tiny place right now and not a lot of storage/freezer/fridge space. We're close with someone with a membership and we go with them sometimes. I usually pick up some staples like parm, vanilla and quinoa because they do seem to be cheaper there than our usual grocery stores. I just don't want to bother our friend everytime I want to pick up a couple things but I'm not really convinced the membership is worth the savings for our current situation.

                                                                      14 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Aprileats

                                                                        If they do not have booze (or if you do not drink booze), then you probably are losing out on one of the larger sources of savings. Probably not worth it.

                                                                        Could always "tag along" with friends that have a membership. :)

                                                                        1. re: Aprileats

                                                                          April: Do you have a family member that might split the cost of it? Costco allows two relatives to be on a membership [and issue each person a card] ..... My brother and I do this with both Sams and Costco.

                                                                          1. re: hawkeyeui93

                                                                            I didn't know that was possible. I'll have to look into that. Thanks!

                                                                            1. re: hawkeyeui93

                                                                              This is really going to depend on the location and the employees working.

                                                                              The membership states that the secondary card is a HOUSEHOLD card, i.e. it must go to someone in the same household. Therefore, ID needs to be produced that shows the same address as the primary card holder. So no, you shouldn't be able to split a membership with a family member who doesn't live in your household. No, Costco doesn't allow it. Read the membership application.

                                                                              If I could get into the number of angry people who were the secondary on an executive membership (some didn't even know it was upgraded and just paid "half", i.e. $25 their friend told them to) only to find out that their $5k of purchases were netting the other person cashback, I could easily retire today ;)

                                                                              1. re: LuckyCharm

                                                                                I really don't know what you are saying about the member ship card, I have been a seconary cardholder with my ex husband for twenty years,and now I'm a member with my sister and we live in separate house holds,I also order on line,so no what you are saying makes no sense,Go ahead aprileats get yourself someone to split the cost.

                                                                                1. re: mutti

                                                                                  LuckyCharm's post does indeed make sense. when i had to move back in temporarily with my ailing parents to care for them, i tried to have myself added to Mom's account so i could shop for them. the manager refused to add my name to the account as a household member unless i could provide proof that i lived at the same address.

                                                                                  from the Costo membership regulations:
                                                                                  "A free Household Card is available to a primary or add-on cardholder’s spouse, domestic partner, or immediate family member 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 add-on cardholder."

                                                                                  you said you were a secondary cardholder with your ex - i assume that when you were first added to the account, you were, in fact, living at the same address...?

                                                                                  1. re: mutti

                                                                                    Lucky's is correct regarding Costco's policies on secondary cardholders. I was asked to prove my secondary card member and myself had the same address when we first applied. This doesn't seem to apply to online purchases where I had previously used my father's card but had it sent to my address.

                                                                                    1. re: causeimhungry

                                                                                      this all depends on which Costco and who you talk to. Yes, the Costco rule is that you must be living in the same household. however, when i wanted to drop my husband and add my mom to our membership the person muttered to me "just say you live at the same place, ok?" and so i did and it was that simple. of course, this is not the actual rule but seems it can be flexible depending upon where and who you talk to.

                                                                                  2. re: LuckyCharm

                                                                                    Wow- never thought of that at all. Not an issue with us, and never will be, but holy cow- I can see it happening for sure.

                                                                                  3. re: hawkeyeui93

                                                                                    My second card is in the hands of a Cambodian who works for me. They pay the membership and more.

                                                                                    I find the best buy in meats, both in quality and price, Coffee, and above all wine. There is an independent wine site with reviews of Costco found wines. Their wine prices are often less than the wholesale price in local stores.

                                                                                  4. re: Aprileats

                                                                                    Then maybe the suggestion of having them buy you gift cards might be best. That why you can shop there but aren't dependent upon them taking you.

                                                                                    1. re: viperlush

                                                                                      Then again, maybe you could give them the money to buy gift cards that you could then use.

                                                                                      1. re: escondido123

                                                                                        Well yes, I'm assuming that is what people meant when they made the suggestions.

                                                                                    2. re: Aprileats

                                                                                      It's worth it without the booze. Are you in PA, by some strange chance?
                                                                                      I go to the least crowded costco in the country (it's the "kosher" one, cause it's got a huuge kosher section).
                                                                                      If you're willing to put food under the bed (or get a loft bed) ya should have plenty of space (thank Ikea!)

                                                                                    3. My family is just my wife and myself. We have found Costco to be great for:

                                                                                      -Chicken breasts, frozen and individualy wrapped

                                                                                      - Ketchup & mustard

                                                                                      - Canned tuna, salmon

                                                                                      - Nina whole plum tomatoes

                                                                                      - Fresh Pork shoulder

                                                                                      - Flank steak

                                                                                      - Chuck roast

                                                                                      - Tomato sauce & diced tomatoes

                                                                                      - Toilet paper

                                                                                      - Toilet bowel cleaner

                                                                                      - Cascade

                                                                                      - Dawn or Palmolive dishwashing liquid

                                                                                      - Windex

                                                                                      - Garbage Bags

                                                                                      -Facial Tissue

                                                                                      - Body soap

                                                                                      - Zip lock bags

                                                                                      - kirkland laundry detergent

                                                                                      - Bounce

                                                                                      - Aluminum pans (large & small)

                                                                                      This is a partial list of items that we find to be "bargains" for 2 people

                                                                                      1. I love Costco, but have a larger family than you. However, there is no risk in trying it. Buy a membership, give it a go, and if you decide it's not for you, Costco will refund your membership. I think it's one of those things you need to try before you can truly decide.

                                                                                        1. Remember you also can shop on Costco.com when you have membership and most of those prices include shipping.

                                                                                          (You can read the 100% satisfaction guarantee under "Membership" and then click onto the Executive or Gold Star selection.)

                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Cathy

                                                                                            http://www.costco.com/Browse/ProductS... See Third Section heading

                                                                                            "Shop Confidently

                                                                                            Membership: We will refund your membership fee in full at any time if you are dissatisfied."

                                                                                            You have nothing to lose.

                                                                                            1. re: Cathy

                                                                                              Love love love shopping Costco on-line for gifts basket because there is no shipping charges and they have such great deals for little $$ and we all know the shipping charges can be so exorbitant.

                                                                                              1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                                They say there is no shipping, but when they have the same item in the warehouse it is almost always cheaper. They just include the shipping in the price- which i still like

                                                                                                1. re: CanadaGirl

                                                                                                  Very rarely is there an overlap in items available online-vitamins come to mind.

                                                                                                  Most of the items are not the same as available in stores.

                                                                                                  I like that the price you see is what you pay and you don't get a surprise at checkout.

                                                                                            2. I don't know if it is worth it. There are only the two of us. Buying gas there isn't convenient, so we don't do that. But if it is convenient, that is one way to start making back the cost of membership. We are now using dishwasher tabs, and the best deal on them seems to be there. We buy paper products there. As for food, we like the cold room, where big bags of produce are, and I enjoy the mixed peppers and some of the greens. I find meat too expensive, because of the up front cost of several roasts, for instance. If you don't have freezer space, the lower cost per pound of the meat is probably not worth it. I like the coffee, but I am not sure it is cheaper per pound, than what I get at the regular grocer. I buy the almonds, salmon burgers, canned tuna (very good quality).

                                                                                              I would advise doing a look there; I believe they will allow you to have a look around before buying that membership. I disagree about buying the executive membership. I don't think it pays for itself, and you end up with another credit card.

                                                                                              In short, only you can decide if it is worth it to you.

                                                                                              11 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                There is only two of us and we switched to executive almost two years ago. Executive is not a credit card. I buy all my poduce, grass fed beef and most fish from Whole Foods . I buy a lot of cheese, paper products, vitamins and some fruit from Costco and all I had to pay for the membership last year was $19.

                                                                                                1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                  I've had the executive membership for years and the cash back has always paid for the membership. In addition, I have the Costco AMEX and with it's cash back, it usually pays for a shopping trip at Costco. I do agree, it's an individual decision.

                                                                                                  1. re: cstr

                                                                                                    I have the same combination. It works well for us.

                                                                                                    1. re: CanadaGirl

                                                                                                      I think you guys are able to do more of your shopping there than I do. Costco for us is a 20 minute drive. We don't visit every week. If it were in our neighborhood, we'd visit more often.

                                                                                                      That would be a consideration--the location of the nearest Costco.

                                                                                                      1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                        Absolutely. I have two very near to me, one of them in my way home from work and the other on the way to my inlaws. WAY too convenient ;)

                                                                                                        1. re: CanadaGirl

                                                                                                          One finally DID move into my neighborhood. It was bad. I maxed out the costco amex in only a few months and have basically quit going there while I work to pay off the card. No more costco for us.

                                                                                                          1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                            Costco can be inticing, as I learned the same lesson, buy what you need, be focused, use their coupons and be glad with the savings.

                                                                                                            1. re: cstr

                                                                                                              I read the comment as though they didn't handle it well. I see no blame being directed at Costco. Different perspectives I guess.

                                                                                                          2. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                            shop once a month, if not less. stil very worth it. am convinced the people driving from out of state shop once every 3months or so...

                                                                                                            1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                              I'm about 40 miles from the closest Costco now, and we go at least once a month to stock up on meat for the dogs, toilet paper ect and sometimes more often if I need or want other things. Of course, it's easier since I'm stocking the chest freezer in the garage. We used to live closer but didn't have the freezer and so I shopped there more.

                                                                                                        2. Yes...as others have said, paper products, vitamins, pasta, pasta sauce, various foods... all great from there.

                                                                                                          1. I didn't realize the regular membership had gone up to 55 dollars. We have been members for 20 years and before that I was on my parents membership. We have the executive membership, switched to it about 5 years ago and sometimes we get enough cash back to pay for the next years renewal, otherwise we get enough back to pay for the difference between the regular one and executive.

                                                                                                            I really like Costco. But I've been shopping there for most of my life. Most of the stuff is not really that big of a bulk purchase. It's not like they only sell mustard in the gallon jar lol.

                                                                                                            Since we feed raw to our dogs I buy almost all my meat for them there and save a ton and get better quality. I personally will not buy meat packaged at Walmart or Sam's. Toilet paper doesn't go bad lol. We bought our big screen tv there.

                                                                                                            I can get a years supply of my allergy medicine for the price of one months worth elsewhere.

                                                                                                            1. Just read today that my lovely city has the highest average gasoline prices in the U.S. Filled up the tank today at CostCo, and gas there was .20 a gallon less than the corner station. So, yes, a membership is very much worth is for just 2 of us (not even counting the groceries, etc).

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                I've noticed that if there's a gas war going on near me (aka a new QT or Circle K), the prices will be roughly equal to Costco's. After the dust has settled, Costco tends to be lower than everybody else. I'm not sure i've seen Costco's gas prices beaten by anybody's by much or for long.

                                                                                                              2. I don't know Superstore, but Walmart is comparable in price to Costco and you don't have to pay a membership fee or buy in bulk. I wouldn't join. My husband and I kept joining off and on when it was just the two of us and ALWAYS found that we bought more than we needed/had room for and didn't save that much money anyway - so we wasted both food and money. Even now with a child, we just rejoined in December to buy Christmas presents, and are finding that it's just not that worth it, especially in your case if they don't sell gas or booze.

                                                                                                                If you plan on buying a TV, fridge, or any other big ticket item, however, I would join under those circumstances to get both the excellent prices and the great return policy. Otherwise, I'd give your friend money for gift cards and tag along whenever those run out.

                                                                                                                1. My first year @Costco, was paid for by my company.
                                                                                                                  I spent 3hours (once) wandering around, and gazing with wonder.
                                                                                                                  In all, I bought a 6-pack of soup. Then I let my membership lapse for a few years.
                                                                                                                  I renewed it this year bc I no longer have a drug plan.
                                                                                                                  Hello Costco Pharmacy--big savings (Canada).
                                                                                                                  Though technically, I believe you don't need a membership to use ONLY the pharmacy.
                                                                                                                  I still do my prescriptions there, and wander around for the tasty hot food freebies!
                                                                                                                  and the occasional oversized bottle of something that I share with others.

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: Byronic

                                                                                                                    You're correct, you don't have to be a member for RX's. However, if you've paid for a membership why not make it work for you? What you're doing is a pretty expensive snack!

                                                                                                                  2. Do you buy organic? If so, their prices beat anyone for organic eggs, chicken and beef. It's also got the cheapest prices on nuts (way better than the grocery store and much better than bulk bin buying). Also, if you don't have any gas savings programs you take advantage of, and if filling up is convenient, than you might consider the gas savings. I've got all the organic prices here: http://thegreenbacksgal.com/organic-c...

                                                                                                                    1. Depends - how are you set for storage space? There are only two of us, and I think it's worth i because we can buy in bulk and store things until needed. We buy paper goods and non-perishables in quantity, and they've improved their meats and produce. The meats are cost effective if you portion them out into one-meal servings and freeze them. They have the cheapest price on limes - one of my addictions - in the area. If you entertain, they are the best I've found for soft drinks and party snacks. The local ones have seafood vendors on certain days, and I've found some quite good paneer the last time I was there.

                                                                                                                      There's also the non-food items - luggage, small appliances, socks, books, CDs. The stores do vary a bit: I once found a stack of books with aerial pictures of my town in the 1940s, certainly a regional specialty.

                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: tardigrade

                                                                                                                        discount tires seems to build near costco stores. they price match-actually get a good internet price then get them to price match that. i have had good service from them.
                                                                                                                        if you can get someone to get and keep filled a costco cash card you can get gas without a membership card-many parents do this for their kids. the pump asks you to run membership card but just run cash card. this is costco written policy. costco has been upgrading their gas adding special equipment to dispence detergent additives into their big tanks. they work to get best quality at best price.
                                                                                                                        you do have to watch produce esp fragile things like big boxes of greens but it is cheap even if you lose some to spoilage. best to wash, dry, repack in zip locks with paper towels. even if it is prewashed. they now carry a big bag of organic kale.
                                                                                                                        nuts have gone up in last couple years from <$10 to $15 for 2.5 pound canister but they are excellent quality.

                                                                                                                        1. re: divadmas

                                                                                                                          When I was shopping for a set of tires, I found that the discount tire places did not include filling the tires with nitrogen, a $40.00 value. Costco won out easily, plus it added to my yearly cash back.

                                                                                                                          1. re: treb

                                                                                                                            I must point out that two and a half years ago I bought a set of tires at Costco, paid around $750 for them (I have an older Chevy Tahoe). The front tires are so dry-rotted that I noticed it myself, and the mechanic told me about it when I had some repair work done, he said the tires were at least five years old (I know the manufacture date is there somewhere). The back tires don't look as bad, but the front ones look like they've been chewed on. They're michelins, too. I'm pretty livid about the whole thing but I don't know if I have the receipt. What I meant to point out is that that's the only time I've ever felt cheated by Costco. BTW, those tires don't have anywhere near 10,000 miles on them, and I park in a parking garage at work.

                                                                                                                            1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                              Since you need a membership to purchase, all your purchases are recorded on their system so you don't need a receipt. If the tires are bad then either Costco or the manufacturer will replace them. If you don't take any steps to get them replaced, then you're cheating yourself.

                                                                                                                      2. if either of you wears glasses, that alone will make the membership worthwhile. i saved *a ton* of money last year when i updated a few pairs with my new prescription. Costco charged me $99/pair across the board - it was less than half the cost of the same service at Lenscrafters.

                                                                                                                        aside from that, i figure the amount i save on paper goods, Swiffer products, green tea bags, vitamins/supplements and organic eggs makes the fee worthwhile for me anyway.

                                                                                                                        1. Don't know if you and your man live in California, April, but you can enter any Costco in the state -- and a few others, although I can't remember which ones they are right now -- without a membership, if you tell the staff member(s) at the entrance that you're there to purchase alcohol. After that, you're good.

                                                                                                                          And, yes, Costco is a pretty darned good place to pick up your favorite libations; wine is 15% above cost. Take advantage of your store's discounts on your favorite selections, and you'll be in fine fettle. Case in point: At a few Costco locations in Orange County, Calif., the $2 summer/early fall discount on single bottles of Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc meant that the price tag for this snappy, uber-aromatic white wine was $8.99. That's refreshing.

                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: Dornfelder

                                                                                                                            you can enter any Costco in the state -- and a few others, although I can't remember which ones they are right now -- without a membership, if you tell the staff member(s) at the entrance that you're there to purchase alcohol. After that, you're good.
                                                                                                                            ~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                            the cashier won't ring up items other than alcohol without proof of membership or a Costco gift/cash card...which i appreciate, since i'm tired of people always looking for ways to skirt the rules while the rest of us take the honest route and actually pay for our memberships.

                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                              Short of describing the minutae of our individual financial circumstances as a couple in a public post -- an inappropriate place to do so, according to Chowhound posting policies and my own personal discretion -- I'll merely point out that I've always opted for the "honest route" in business during my five-plus decades on earth. I've worked at a number of Costco sites as a customer-oriented product consultant; that's how I know about individual stores in Southern California.

                                                                                                                              Indeed: Cashiers need managerial approvial to ring up alcohol purchases for non-customers. I've known this since joining Price Club in late 1984 during my senior year at CSU Fullerton.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Dornfelder

                                                                                                                                i must have misunderstood your intention. i read "tell the staff member(s) at the entrance that you're there to purchase alcohol. After that, you're good" as advice on how to shop there without a membership...so my remark about the cashiers was just to clarify that even if someone did use the alcohol line as a way to get in and shop, they'd have a problem when they were ready to check out.

                                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                  Thank you most sincerely, goodhealth, regarding my comments dealing with shopping solely for alcohol without the benefit of a Costco membership. (As I've done often in my golden years, I'll overlook citing key points in my writing from time to time.)

                                                                                                                                  Indeed, I meant *begin boldfaced and underlined type here* shopping only for wine, beer and spirits *end boldfaced and underlined type here*. My hope is that this reply to your post illuminates my aboveboard and forthright spirit relating to Costco shopping.

                                                                                                                                  With that in mind, Costco is no doubt offering a bounty of discounts on sought-after wine, beer and spirit selections. Cheers!

                                                                                                                          2. I like to throw big parties several times a year and shop at Costco for the paper goods, salads, beer, soda, meats. With the three kids grown and gone, that's the only time I go but still worth the annual membership fee.

                                                                                                                            1. We are a couple. We use Costco for occasional large purchases, and for paper goods. We have used it for dishwasher detergent as well. There are some food items worth it to us to buy there: salmon burgers, canned tuna and salmon, coffee, and occasionally cheese esp. when I score reduced fat cheese there. The main reason we buy there though is because our membership gets us discounted gasoline. We use our own credit card and do not pay extra for the American Express card, which does not seem worth it to us.

                                                                                                                              8 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                There is no extra charge for the AE card. What you pay for is the Costco membership. The only kind of credit card you can use,besides the AE card is a debit card. I did get gas today,but was surprised to pass by my local gas station to see that Costco was only one cent less per gallon. Not good!

                                                                                                                                1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                  The Executive Membership (which you have to purchase to get the Costco Amex) is actually a great deal if you shop at Costco frequently. Not only do you have access to the Costco Amex, which gives the best cash rewards of just about any card on the market, but you also get an additional 2% back on all of your Costco purchases. We (a family of two) usually get around $100 back each year JUST from the Costco rebate, which pays for the entire cost of membership (not just the higher cost of the Executive membership). The Amex rebate is always far more. If you buy gas there, you should really run the numbers and see - the Executive membership (with or without the Amex) might be worth it for you.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                                                    Maybe it's different in the US, but in Canada you can have the Costco Amex with either membership type. I've had my Costco Amex longer than I've had my Executive membership. Also, I see the OP is Canadian: the Amex here is a credit card, not a debit card.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                                                      I have the executive membership only because it was the same price as the regular membership for a year,but you can buy either one and have the AE card. Just to say I will only use this card for Costco as we use our Visa card for everything else. Just a convience to have it...no checks to write...only reason I got it.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Mother of four

                                                                                                                                        Just don't accidentally be fifteen minutes late on your AmEx payment or you'll be rocketed into the 35% interest zone so fast it will make your head spin. And you'll stay there damn near forever.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                                                        do NOT need executive to get amex!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                                          Hm, I was told at my store that you did have to have the Executive membership to get the Amex - maybe the CSR was mistaken. The Executive membership works out well for us, though, so no harm no foul.

                                                                                                                                      3. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                        OK. For us the AE card is an extra, and since retiring, we keep only one bank card and one charge card. Our charge card gives us rewards. Everyone's needs are different. We shop at Costco perhaps every other month or even slightly less.

                                                                                                                                        I don't like buying meat there because you have to buy so much at a time, and it is expensive upfront, and I might not eat it all even if frozen. The OP wanted to know if it was worth it to buy a Costco membership for a couple. It is for us--marginally.

                                                                                                                                      4. We are also a household of two, in Vancouver, Canada, living within 20 minutes' drive of 3 costco locations, and within 10 min. walk of one. Items which we purchase at Costo include: dishwasher detergent, paper products, a particular brand of soap which DH likes, parm, brie, feta and cheddar cheeses for regular consumption, and other cheeses for entertaining; boxed salad greens, snap peas, coffee, home office supplies, socks. Either of us might drop in to purchase one or two items at any time. I have also occasionally purchased gift cards, dishware, balcony planters, decor items, DH likes the italian sausages, and lamb loin chops.
                                                                                                                                        Try it out, stay focused with purchasing, and if it doesn't work for you, then ask for a membership fee refund.

                                                                                                                                        1. I am single and it's worth it to me for purchasing gas every week (mine has a gas station) and Spa Wellness gift cards that give me 20% off all my salon services at Red Door Spas (I buy about $250 a month of these to cover all my stuff).

                                                                                                                                          Occasionally they will have something that's a good value for me (like larger bottles of Allegra or Culturelle) but other than that, I generally do not have a need to do any type of regular shopping there. But the gas and the spa discount more than takes care of the $55 a year fee.

                                                                                                                                          Oh, I have also bought tires twice there. Also a huge savings.

                                                                                                                                          1. I forgot that we save enough on our car insurance alone, which we get through Costco to pay for our yearly executive membership.

                                                                                                                                            1. My fiance and I have had only had our Costco membership for a few weeks, but I definitely think it's been worth it. At first, we were spending the same amount of money on food (we budget pretty carefully, so it wasn't extreme), but we were eating waaayy better (ie, no more fights about him not coming home with one important ingrediant because it was pricey at our normal urban grocery store). We definitely eat healthier and better because of Costco. That said, we've also had the membership pay for itself in the money we've saved buying gift cards for gifts, which we would have done anyway. Between that and other gift items, we've said a ton.

                                                                                                                                              1. My husband & I have been Costco members for around 25 years - from back when it was called "Price Club". It's just the two of us.

                                                                                                                                                Well worth EVERY SINGLE PENNY. I can't even begin to tell you how much we've saved - without sacrificing quality - on paper goods, cat litter, jarred goods, nuts & other snacks, absolutely delicious frozen & fresh foods (seafood in particular), cheeses, wines, small appliances, books. Frankly, the list is ENDLESS. Many of these items are Costco's own "Kirkland" brand.

                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bacardi1

                                                                                                                                                  Price Club! Man that brings back memories. LOL

                                                                                                                                                  I forgot that.

                                                                                                                                                2. This issue comes up periodically. If you are someone who is good about watching the sale prices at your local grocery store, you enjoy clipping coupons, and have a good 'dollar store' nearby, then you can probably do just as well on shopping as you can at costco. I've never found Costco to be more expensive than the regular grocery store on anything, at least not on a item per item basis.

                                                                                                                                                  On the other hand if you, like many people, don't like food that comes out of the freezer or a can, then maybe Costco isn't for you. I have a friend who shops daily, won't eat anything that has been in her fridge for more than two days, won't eat most canned goods, and wants to touch and smell every fruit or vegetable that she buys. Costco isn't the right place for most of her shopping needs, but even she has a membership for other household items and limited food purchases.

                                                                                                                                                  I'm a one person household and about three quarters my food related purchases come from Costco. Almost all my canned goods, most of my meat, and my dairy goods as well. Not so much the produce just because of the size packaging. I'm not a milk drinker, but for cheeses, eggs, butter etc. the prices are significantly less than local supermarket prices. I don't mind buying a 3 pack of frozen pizza or a tray of chops or steaks and thowing most of them in the freezer. If I'm going to buy tomato sauce or beans, or canned soup I'd just as soon buy it in a 6 or 8 pack and have it around the house. If it were on sale at the supermarket I'd be doing the same. Same thing for paper goods. I doubt that many people here have a smaller kitchen than mine (6 feet by 8 feet with counters along one side and the end) but I find I have enough space to store things.

                                                                                                                                                  And I can't imagine throwing a party of any kind without having Costco available. Whether it is paper goods for a potluck or picnic I am hosting, or a nice dinner where I'm using grandma's china, much of what will be served will come from Costco.

                                                                                                                                                  Finally if you really think it might work for you have a friend who is a member take you there to go shopping, or go shopping with them just to check it out. I don't think you can really appreciate it just walking around and looking. If nothing else the value doesn't hit you until you are checking out and look at the amount of food you get for the price.

                                                                                                                                                  1. For my boyfriend and I, I don't think it's really that worth it, although we'll keep having it cause he likes having it available. I'm a bargain shopper though, I shop off store sale ads. I don't do too much couponing, mainly because most coupons are for stuff we don't use. But, I've found that I can get better prices at the grocery store when they have sales on things like pork, chicken, and ground beef. Costco's prices are better for non-ground beef though, and for seafood. Also their prices for things like electronics and housewares generally can't be beat.

                                                                                                                                                    BUT, if we lived closer to one, it would be more worth it. We could go more often to buy liquor or do prescriptions and take more advantage of the sale items, and we could take advantage of the gas discounts. Also if I had a larger freezer we could take more advantage of the meat/seafood prices... but currently we just don't have the room to store that much. The closest one is about 15 miles away (30 minutes unless we took the toll road), and we have to take BFs truck as my two door car can't fit all our purchases very easily. His truck gets around 12-13mpg, so it takes 2 gallons of premium gas to take a trip there.

                                                                                                                                                    1. me and the boy definitely make use of our Costco membership... i cook most nights, so... things we regularly buy:
                                                                                                                                                      toilet paper
                                                                                                                                                      paper towels
                                                                                                                                                      fruit
                                                                                                                                                      veggies
                                                                                                                                                      roasted seaweed snack - LOVE and soooo much cheaper than TJ's or anywhere else
                                                                                                                                                      some meds
                                                                                                                                                      razors - he turned me onto the razors with soap and aloe built in... flippin brilliant
                                                                                                                                                      shampoo/conditioner (we love the kirkland brand... surprised the heck out of me!)
                                                                                                                                                      steaks (for him)
                                                                                                                                                      occasionally fish for me (though i usually get this fresh at Restaurant Depot)

                                                                                                                                                      we have bought: christmas tree decorations, dry erase boards, sweatshirts, jammies, camisoles, underwear, appliance stuff

                                                                                                                                                      we don't buy: pre-made baked stuff (that would be heresy for me), packaged cookies, cakes, etc., frozen meals, frozen apps, bread

                                                                                                                                                      we do also get our eyes checked there, but as mentioned above, you don't have to have a membership to enjoy that privilege

                                                                                                                                                      so for us... yeah, it's worth it, but i cook a lot, and we eat a lot of whole foods

                                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Emme

                                                                                                                                                        My issue is that I have a townhouse and not a lot of storage, so it's difficult for me to buy 12 rolles of paper towels at a time as I don't really have a closet or a room to store it in.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Manassas64

                                                                                                                                                          Do you have any outdoor space? I bought a couple of weatherproof storage benches for my balcony at Lowe's because my apartment has precious little closet space, and one of them houses my stock of Kirkland paper towels & toilet paper.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Manassas64

                                                                                                                                                            I also have limited space but, manage well with paper towels and TP. I also store in those high unused places in my kitchen cabinets.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: treb

                                                                                                                                                              Unused space in kitchen cabinets? I didn't know there was such a thing! I'm so short on storage I have to keep things on top of the refrigerator, and I hate doing that. Fortunately anything that isn't temperature-sensitive can sit outside, otherwise I'd probably have given up my Costco membership when I moved into this place.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                LOL I know. I have one cabinet where the door doesn't actually close all the way over the refrigerator. It's stuffed!

                                                                                                                                                                No I live in a condo-TH so I have no back yard that I can put a shed or storage bin or anything like that. We have what is known as limited common areas.

                                                                                                                                                        2. Yeah, it's worth joining. Consider buying a small chest freezer and repackaging meats and freezing them in serving-sized portions, as several suggest below. Plus which, you can buy stuff like tires, furniture, even cars and trucks, vacations, etc. I'm single, and Costco has been more than worth my while. Savings on meat and wine alone justify the membership fee for me.

                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: emu48

                                                                                                                                                            i consider it worth joining even though there are only two people in my household.

                                                                                                                                                            i get all my paper goods there. yes, i know that if i checked all the ads every week of all the other stores, on occasion another store would be cheaper. the time i save by being able to go in and get the "almost-sale-price" as a regular price any time i want saves me a lot of time. i'm not the kind of person who likes spending a lot of time chasing a couple of dollars in savings.

                                                                                                                                                            all my towels, and most of my bedding (other than comforters) come from costco. their pillow prices are always the best.

                                                                                                                                                            dishwasher and dish detergent always the best deals at costco.

                                                                                                                                                            better deals on cheese that any other source i've found (i'm talking about aged gouda, high-quality veined, etc.--NOT the commercial blocks of orange cheddar or jack, dunno about them because i'm a cheese snob)

                                                                                                                                                            their tree nuts are better than everyone elses's, period.
                                                                                                                                                            if i'm going to spend the time to make and to clean up after making candied pecans, i want the freshest, highest-quality pecans. those are available at costco. i absolutely detest stale nuts. costco nuts are always fresh.

                                                                                                                                                            when my old TV went on the fritz, it was the ultimate in convenience to head to costco on a sunday.
                                                                                                                                                            they had the best prices on a replacement flat screen and a roku. many places that sell this stuff don't really have any stock. costco was jammed with choices.

                                                                                                                                                            my stainless steel flatware came from costco. much higher quality for the price than was available anywhere else.

                                                                                                                                                            even though you don't need a membership to use their pharmacy, it should be noted that their prescription prices are lower than everywhere else. for a while, another pharmacy in town said that they would meet the costco prices. they lost so much money that they stopped the program. nothng beats costco pharmacy across the board on price.

                                                                                                                                                            it also means a lot to me that they treat their employees well and PAY them well. because this is an important item to me, i simplly won't consider walmart and sam's club. (not that i'd drive forever and actually pass costco to go to them)

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: emu48

                                                                                                                                                              i consider it worth joining even though there are only two people in my household.

                                                                                                                                                              i get all my paper goods there. yes, i know that if i checked all the ads every week of all the other stores, on occasion another store would be cheaper. the time i save by being able to go in and get the "almost-sale-price" as a regular price any time i want saves me a lot of time. i'm not the kind of person who likes spending a lot of time chasing a couple of dollars in savings.

                                                                                                                                                              all my towels, and most of my bedding (other than comforters) come from costco. their pillow prices are always the best.

                                                                                                                                                              dishwasher and dish detergent always the best deals at costco.

                                                                                                                                                              better deals on cheese that any other source i've found (i'm talking about aged gouda, high-quality veined, etc.--NOT the commercial blocks of orange cheddar or jack, dunno about them because i'm a cheese snob)

                                                                                                                                                              when my old TV went on the fritz, it was the ultimate in convenience to head to costco on a sunday.
                                                                                                                                                              they had the best prices on a replacement flat screen and a roku. many places that sell this stuff don't really have any stock. costco was jammed with choices.

                                                                                                                                                              my stainless steel flatware came from costco. much higher quality for the price than was available anywhere else.

                                                                                                                                                              even though you don't need a membership to use their pharmacy, it should be noted that their prescription prices are lower than everywhere else. for a while, another pharmacy in town said that they would meet the costco prices. they lost so much money that they stopped the program. nothng beats costco pharmacy across the board on price.

                                                                                                                                                              it also means a lot to me that they treat their employees well and PAY them well. because this is an important item to me, i simplly won't consider walmart and sam's club. (not that i'd drive forever and actually pass costco to go to them)

                                                                                                                                                            2. I am leaning toward dropping my Costco membership this year when renewal time comes up. The lines at the Costco nearest me are always horrible, the parking situation also a nightmare. The fruit choices haven't been as good the past couple of years as in the past. Their seafood selection has been trimmed. And I generally eat much less meat than I used to, their meat having been one of the main reasons to go there.

                                                                                                                                                              The one thing that has me considering continuing a membership is the discounts on rental cars. The savings there alone can pay for the annual membership.

                                                                                                                                                              Apart from the rental car savings, I can get more of what I usually need at Sam's Club, Walmart, Target, and the local supermarkets. And the Sam's Club has discounted gas (not available at the nearest Costco).

                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: racer x

                                                                                                                                                                Interesting, I rent cars through Costco Travel monthly, no other travel site can beat them. As for your other comments, I avoid Costco on weekends if possible and use their self check out lines but, I've have found their produce, meat and seafood offerings to be better quality and price than my local super market.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cstr

                                                                                                                                                                  I agree that the meat at Costco tends to be of better quality for the price than at the other local places. But as I mentioned, I am eating a lot less meat nowadays, so that isn't as relevant a factor as it used to be. I can find better quality and a wider variety of cheese and seafood at other places.

                                                                                                                                                                  The lines are horrible whether you go during the week or on the weekends. It's astonishing. The management has set up staffing of the registers in such a way that you will always be waiting in a line even at those hours when there are fewer customers in the store.

                                                                                                                                                              2. We are two "older-middle-age" child-free adults. I run a small business from a home office. We both volunteer at an executive level in our community. I mention these demographic details because our purchases include office supplies, paper products, and cheeses for my personal chef business. The Costco in our neighborhood is much closer than Superstore, and about the same distance (10 min drive) as other supermarkets.
                                                                                                                                                                For home use, we most often purchase: Balderson's cheese, tre stella asiago, some specialty cheeses, brown sugar if I need a large quantity, butter, toilet paper, olive oil, olive oil soap, dishwasher detergent, rubber gloves, parchment paper, foil. My husband buys bacon and lamb chops there, but I don't.
                                                                                                                                                                IMO, the greatest value saving is on the parchment paper and heavyweight foil. I use parchment almost daily for "something", and would be frustrated purchasing so many smaller rolls from the grocery store.