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Should I get a Costco membership?

Just wondering if there are any pro's to having a membership at Costco?

It's just the two of us here, but I've heard the meat is pretty good there. It doesn't seem too expensive for a year, but I want to make sure it's worth it as I'm not exactly rolling in dough :)

What are your thoughts?

If this helps at all, I cook pretty much every meal the wife and I eat and spend ~$125-150 weekly at the various grocery stores I shop at....

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  1. As far as I know, the cost of the Costco membership is refundable for quite some time after you buy it. Get one, and if it doesn't work out for you, ask for the refund/cancellation.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Tripeler

      From Costco website:
      On Membership: We will refund your membership fee in full at any time if you are dissatisfied.
      On Merchandise: We guarantee your satisfaction on every product we sell, and will refund your purchase price, with the following exceptions:"

      I like the easy return - since everything you buy is with your membership card, they can retrieve the receipt if you lose or forget it. They also let you return almost anything you don't like.

      Some things I like - some not so much. You never save money when you buy too much or things you do not need. I find I sometimes I am tempted to buy too much (size is too big) because I don't want to stop at another store.

      One surprise for me is how much I like the quality and price of some of the Kirkland (Costco) brand items.

    2. Yes

      The cost savings of gas and one set of tires will more than bring a positive return on your investment in the membership fee.

      Even if you hate the place, walk never drive, then simply sell "single visit (cash-only) memberships" on Craigslist, and you'll recoup your money in no time.

      10 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        I have a costco membership that I use for almost nothing but gasoline and bananas! LOL How do I sell 'single visit (cash-only) memberships' on Craigslist? I'm thinking I just meet the person there and shop with them? LOL

        1. re: ipsedixit

          I looked into tires recently and the cost was not that much better than at my local tire shop. The difference was mostly that Costco's included road hazard, etc. within the price but for about a $40 difference for four tires, it was not worth the ride out there for the change, rotation, etc. (my tire shop is walkable from my work, Costco is about 15 miles away).

          What was your savings?

          This was for an older model Yukon. They don't carry much for my Audi.

          1. re: Dax

            Michelin Pilot Super Sports (F 245/35 and R 305/30)

            Probably saved close to $200 (versus, say, Tirerack), and this was before the mail-in rebate at the time.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              I'm a car guy (have my own car club). And yup, generally speaking Costco beats TR when it comes to prices. They even post examples of price differences (Costco vs. TR) on a big banner by the entrance. I'm sure that ticks off TR staffers who shop at Costco :-)

              1. re: LotusRapper

                I'm a car guy (have my own car club)

                Which one?

                Let me guess. Wait. Wait. Give me a minute. Um ... Lotus?

                  1. re: LotusRapper

                    Right off the endangered species list.

            2. re: Dax

              I too shopped around for tires and my local guy was cheaper. But we did lease a car through costco which saved us a lot of time by not having to shop around...Also got $500 gift certificate.

            3. re: ipsedixit

              Costco doesn't even carry the tires for my car and driving almost 20 miles each way to get gas wouldn't make much sense.

            4. I LOVE costco. It's just my husband and I, but between paper towels, TP, and chicken, it pays for itself. They have super high turnover on their veggies (the ones they have), so they're always fresh, great deals on mushrooms, and they have a huge variety of sausages and deli meats. Plus everything else. I can't get enough.

              1. I think you can get a one day guest membership. Take a notebook with you and write down anything you might be interested in and the quantity, when you get home you look it over and do some math.

                We found that it is NOT worth it for us.

                6 Replies
                1. re: weezieduzzit

                  Interesting, I may just do that this weekend. Or maybe save it for a weekday, I'm sure it's a madhouse in there on the weekends.

                  1. re: Kleraudio

                    Another way around getting membership but still able to access and shop at Costco, is to get friends who are members to buy you gift cards (you pay them back of course). With gift cards you can enter the store like a reg. member, buy and pay for your items. If your purchase > the balance on the card, you can make up the difference with cash or AmEx (at least here in Canada) but not credit cards nor debit cards.

                    My parents are on this "gift card plan" and it works well for them. Every 4-6 weeks I buy a new $100 gift card for them and they simply pay me back. Easy peasy.

                    1. re: LotusRapper

                      That's interesting. When my mom was out of the country, I switched my membership from having her as a secondary to a close friend, so he's my costco-husband, and I'm his amazon prime-wife. It's a good tradeoff. Now that my mom moved back to the US, I wasn't sure how to handle another member.

                      1. re: LaureltQ

                        " ..... I switched my membership from having her as a secondary to a close friend, so he's my costco-husband, and I'm his amazon prime-wife ..... "

                        So much for the good 'ol traditional Sears-Roebuck family ...... ;)

                        1. re: LaureltQ

                          You can add another person for a $55 fee for executive card.

                          1. re: flylice2x

                            That's the cost of adding a person to the business membership too.

                  2. If you are already shopping at more than one food store, I don't know why you wouldn't add Costco. You could go there every other month and stock up on the things you like.

                    We buy salmon burgers, some cheese, fresh nuts, coffee, canned tuna and canned salmon. We bought some ground beef there that seemed pretty good when we ate it. The thing I don't like about the meat is that you have to buy in large quantities. I don't seem to mind buying other things in large quantities.

                    We also buy paper towels, dishwasher detergent, paper napkins and other paper goods.

                    I bought a cast iron wok there recently.

                    I'd buy a membership and see if it is worth it to you for one year.

                    Also, Costco has the cheapest gas around here.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: sueatmo

                      OK I'm pretty much sold on the idea. Not sure how I like buying in bulk, I guess we'll find out.

                      Buying meat in bulk is OK. I have no problem using the freezer and those ziplock "pump" vacuum bags work pretty well so there is no freezer burn.

                      I'll have to look into this. I get my paper supplies pretty cheap by buying the Kroger store branded stuff, I'll have to compare that to Kirkland brand. I may head up there tomorrow actually and get a one day pass just to compare pricing.

                      Thanks for the input everyone.

                      1. re: Kleraudio

                        When I rejoined Costco the first thing in my cart was a Foodsaver and bags.

                        I shop for two and the vac seal was a must

                        1. re: Kleraudio

                          Kirkland brand is generally better than most brands.
                          (their vanilla ice cream is haagen dasz, for example,
                          not that they use the brand, but it's from the same

                          1. re: Chowrin

                            Yes, the Kirkland brand is pretty darn good. I am currently drinking the Kirkland Craft Beer (IPA, Pale Ale, Amber Ale and German Lager) and think all the varieties are quite good. It is not top-notch, but a great value for the price. Think of it as good everyday craft beer.

                      2. Great! Here are some other reasons for joining. One gets
                        an American Express Costco card. At the end of a year, we get a refund check for a percentage of what we have spent. I'm pretty sure that amount is more than the membership cost in the first place. I use that card for internet purchases, rather than the card on which most of our
                        purchases are made. That way I can find any errors easily.

                        We save enough on Pellegrino sparkling water and coffee alone to pay for the membership! The meat is truly super, high quality and a bargain. Often I split some items with good friends, which results in a smaller, better quantity for each of us. Their roast chicken for $4.99 is the bomb: large, tasty, and fodder for chicken salad at some point.

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: Bashful3

                          < Their roast chicken for $4.99 is the bomb: large, tasty, and fodder for chicken salad at some point.>

                          Right there I am sold! That's all it took :)

                          So you use your AMEX Costco card for internet purchases and you get cash back for that or just what you spend inside of Costco?

                          Thanks again. I'm definitely sold on the whole membership thing now :)

                          1. re: Kleraudio

                            Cash back. Or you can apply it to your purchase. Depending on what you buy, it's a 1-3% return.

                            That is the executive membership which runs I believe $110 a year. The AMEXless membership is approximately half that. I know of some people who split the exec membership with friends or family. They will only take one address but I believe both parties can get an Amex.

                            1. re: Kleraudio

                              While I enjoy shopping at CostCo (just 2 of us, so some things, like 99 gallons of milk, is just too much for us), I LOVE the cashback reward.

                              We used that AmEx card to pay for tiling 3 rooms in the house, and we recently had 3 bathrooms remodeled, and put it all on the AmEx card. While we paid it off immediately, we also got the cashback reward. Nice deal.

                              We also used the car buying program. While you can't use the AmEx there (!), we got a much better deal than without the Costco program.

                              Plus, the price of gas can't be beat. (On the cashback, we got a check for $300 one year, but there wasn't much at CostCo we wanted right then. We bought just 1 pkg of coffee, and we got cash back as change. Nice.)

                              They also offer a free 2nd yr of warranty for most electronics. Hubs is a computer engineer, and he just bought his 2nd new computer from them, getting not only a great price for a high-end one, but that freebie add'l warranty.

                              Thought of a couple more: their prices for prescription glasses are great. My opthalmologist said the precision of the prescription-fulfillment was perfect. Plus, hubs got 2 hearing aids at CostCo for 1/2 the price of local private vendors (and again, the doc said the HAs were perfect).

                              1. re: pine time

                                There's no reason to suspect that their optometry services are in any way inferior to those in the free market. Their service has been excellent as have their prices.

                                1. re: ferret

                                  However, we did have friends whose response was "eww, I'd never get glasses at CostCo." So, while you and I agree, others seem leery.

                                  1. re: pine time

                                    60 Minutes did a story about the largest eyeglass frame maker in the world, Luxottica, who supply EVERY company except Costco and Walmart. They consider WalMart to be their largest US competitor.

                                    Never have had a problem with the lenses. Plus there is a large container on the counter where you can refill the eyeglass cleaner container bottle you get when you first get your glasses. Free.

                                    (Lens Crafters, Ray Ban, Coach, Tiffany, Oakley, Chanel, Polo, Versace and others- all their frames are made by one company, Luxottica.)


                                    1. re: Cathy

                                      I saw that 60 Minutes segment, too. A friend swears that her $350 frame is exceptionally well made. Except it's that Luxottica one, too, just with another brand slapped on.

                                    2. re: pine time

                                      My adult son is very brand conscious and picked up some expensive frames on ebay. I urged him to get the lenses from Costco and when I offered to pay he went for it. That was about 6 years ago and he's never been anywhere else since.

                                    3. re: ferret

                                      That was not my experience. The optometrists contract with Costco to have their office in the store. Costco has no oversight on them. So the service and quality are only as good as your local practitioner.

                                      Once you have a prescription, then you deal with Costco employees who take your order to fill the prescription. I experienced a lack of customer service there too. They were not specifically trained in the department and basically just checkout clerks.

                                      Costco might be great if your needs are relatively simple, but I have a complicated prescription and was not happy with the service I got.

                                      1. re: pamf

                                        Sorry to read that, pamf. I, too, have a weird prescription, and maybe I've been lucky, so far. I don't use the optometrist at CostCo for my eye exam ('cause of the weird prescription), so it was the independent opthalmologist who specifically recommended CostCo to fill his prescription (even tho' there's an optician in his own office). So, guess every store/experience varies, as in everything!

                              2. There is a Costco just 2 miles from my home, but I did not like the fact that one needs to run all over the store to find things because there were no aisle signs listing the items the last time I was there.

                                I have a BJs membership. The store is 4 miles away. BJs does have aisle signs for the items in the aisle. Also, BJs near me has a deli counter at which one can have cold cuts sliced to order. That is a plus for me.

                                If you have a BJs store near you, get a membership there.

                                10 Replies
                                1. re: ChiliDude

                                  IME, there's a hyooge quality gap between BJs and Costco. Would never go back to BJs.

                                  1. re: mcf

                                    Ditto. We got a card in the mail for a free BJs membership so I decided to stop into a new one near me just to check it out. We were members a few years back and I hated it, but I wanted to see if things had changed. Sadly, they had not. Ugh. Aisle signs do not make up for a huge lack of quality and selection.

                                    1. re: biondanonima

                                      That's an interesting comment, because selection (at least in some areas, such as cereal and canned vegetables and fruitis) is one criterion on which BJ's gets the edge over Costco. We have memberships at both.

                                      We have a new BJs (Gainesville VA) that is easily as nice as any Costco. I go to Costco about 3x/month and the BJs about 1x/month.

                                      It all depends what you use these stores for.

                                      1. re: Bob W

                                        Finding this late: those are things I never buy.

                                  2. re: ChiliDude

                                    Lack of aisle signs never even would have occurred to me because I know where everything is. I find that I generally buy the same items during each visit and once you start going to Costco on a somewhat regular basis, you know where they are. If I am not in my "regular" Costco, perhaps I have to look for something but it's never been a problem.

                                    1. re: valerie

                                      Pretty sure the lack of signs is to make you stroll up and down all the aisles

                                      1. re: scubadoo97

                                        You are so right! I have a list of items that I want, and I do not want to run up and down every aisle looking for those items. I have not been disappointed with the quality of the products I buy, and the ability to obtain freshly sliced cold cuts at the deli counter is a big plus. I'm retired and I make my own lunch every day at home when not elsewhere.

                                        Some people like to look at every item in the store. I'm not one of them.

                                    2. re: ChiliDude

                                      Most of us hardcore Costco addicts have the store memorized :)

                                      1. re: Barbara76137

                                        Hahaha .....

                                        Can you memorize individual product's 5-digit code ? ;-)

                                      2. re: ChiliDude

                                        At Costco if I didn't find an item or forgot to pick up an item, I ask at the checkout register and someone will be sent to get it and bring up to me. Easy-peasy friendly customer service at Salinas, Richmond, and San Leandro CA stores. I do admit to shopping on week days as it's much less crowded.

                                      3. I'm debating a membership as well. I had one several years ago, and I use a friend's card right now for some things. We're getting one really close to the house in only a few weeks. I've only found a few things that are really worth the price in the food section, but I'm certainly willing to try more. I think the gas, the steaks, the spare ribs, and electronics (especially cameras) will be my main draw.

                                        I see a lot of hot dogs and berry smoothies in my future.

                                        1. Yes. Get it.
                                          We're two people here, and the food's fantastic.
                                          (also, we spend about a quarter of what you do.
                                          Part of the savings is buying at Costco)

                                          9 Replies
                                          1. re: Chowrin

                                            Wow, how is that possible cooking 3 meals a day x 2 people plus snacks??

                                            1. re: Kleraudio

                                              1) am dieting.
                                              2) Homemade Cheese Pizza is cheap. Bread and Peanut Butter is cheaper. Butter plus basmati rice makes a good breakfast.
                                              3) Shopping only at costco teaches you what veggies will keep for a month or so.

                                              1. re: Chowrin

                                                I've not gotten near that longevity with produce

                                                1. re: scubadoo97

                                                  Not carrots onions potatoes?
                                                  If you're careful, you eat the other stuff first (broccoli will last a week easy, same with celery...)

                                                  1. re: Chowrin

                                                    I found the potatoes to not be any cheaper the the local grocery store and I don't need to buy that size bag unless is a great price that I couldn't get else where

                                                    1. re: scubadoo97

                                                      my local grocery store is superexpensive on produce. they're proud of it.

                                                      and it's far far worse quality than russets from costco.

                                                      (plus, I love french fries!)

                                                  2. re: scubadoo97

                                                    Check your refrigerator. I thought the same thing until I bought a "new to me" 23 cubic ft. one last year. My produce lasts 3 times as long as in the old one.

                                                    1. re: Barbara76137

                                                      fridge is newish, fine and is set to 35-36Fand verified with and IR therm. I've had sugar snap peas that didn't last a week without going off. Just stopped buying them.

                                                      1. re: scubadoo97

                                                        Checked the humidity? Professionals store most vegetables at very different humidities than normal fridges.

                                            2. Haven't had a membership to "The Hundred Dollar Club" in years... I call it that cuz I could RARELY get out without spending at least $100!?!

                                              When I did belong, biggest savings came in the form of TIRES. Had TWO tires that picked up nail/screw in a place where tire couldn't be repaired SAFELY. & had to be replaced... maybe 2 months apart. Shopped around at a few tire places and a decent tire with good mileage (nothing special) was close to $200!! At Costco, maybe $125 (mounting, balancing, etc). Service was quick, but still gave me enough time to spend $100 inside the store??

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: kseiverd

                                                "The Hundred Dollar Club"

                                                That's funny because the reason I quit many years ago is that I couldn't get out without spending $200.

                                                I average about $100 these days but with the Foodsaver nothing goes bad. Meats and seafood are portioned and frozen for a quick thaw in the sink for most nights meals.

                                                EVOO, nuts and a few other dry goods are picked up from time to time. Laundry detergent, parchment paper and plastic wrap I buy from Costco. Then there are the impulse buys. Stand room fans, heaters, stainless insulated water bottles........

                                                I don't buy a lot of vegetables there since I can never use them up in time before they go bad and they are often not that much cheaper or better than the grocery store or local produce stands.

                                                I still don't buy all my paper goods there since I can find them cheaper elsewhere and I want Bounty white in small sheets. My Costco only carries the Bounty in the large sheets and I think they went to extra large sheets which is a waste of paper so I bypass it.

                                                1. re: scubadoo97

                                                  Agree, scuba. We don't buy much food there as we are all organic, but they have some organic products from time to time. Their Coleman organic chicken is the best and cheapest I've found and I believe it's approved by the non-GMO project.

                                                  The Kirkland Organic EVOO is the reason we renewed our membership this year. Research indicated it is the highest rated for the price. I buy European cheeses since most EU countries are non GMO, paper products and a few household items. It does pay off for us (just two people) but not by a large margin. If I bought more food there it definitely would.

                                                  1. re: sandiasingh

                                                    Oh, I forgot cheeses. I buy a of their higher end cheeses

                                                    1. re: scubadoo97

                                                      When we visit my sister in Charleston every few months, she and I make a trip to Costco (on her membership). Last week I stocked up on all the dried fruits I needed to make Alton Brown's Free Range Fruitcake, which I give as gifts every Christmas. I was so happy to find big bags of dried blueberries, cherries, and apricots at prices *way* better than Kroger or Publix. I already had the raisins and dried cranberries from an earlier visit to Costco.

                                                      And best of all, I got my big chunk o' Manchego, and a huge wedge each of Pecorino Romano and Parmigiano Reggiano. And 2 lb blocks of sharp cheddar and colby jack. All the cheeses were about half the price of the grocery store, and every bit of it gets used up by the time we go back to Costco.

                                                      Oh, and I picked up a case of organic tomato paste and one of sauce, and a 3 pack of big cans of San Marzano tomatoes. Can't beat the price.

                                                      There's a Costco about 35 miles from our house, and we've thought about getting a membership of our own. The nice thing about going with my sister is that she shops faster than I do, and I can only manage to spend $200 to $250 a trip.
                                                      If my husband and I went alone, on our own time, we'd be there all day and spend way too much money for our own good.

                                              2. Don't forget about the membership benefits in addition to food. Travel, insurance, auto buying, pharmacy, eye scrips, film (still developing 35mm), window treatments, appliances, the online store, kitchen cabinets, etc. Returns are much easier than they use to be.

                                                I've had a business membership since 1996. A few aspects of membership have changed over the years (mostly around the cost of membership) but the perks do outweigh the cost to join if you use the card as part of your overall shopping plan.

                                                I bought a tv there a month ago and saved $450.00 over the cost elsewhere.

                                                For parties it's great. The bakery is a downright bargain.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                  Yes, we spend a lot at Costco on non-food items. In the last 6 months; tires, 2 pairs of glasses, TV, camera, pharmacy, books, and clothing (lots).

                                                  We have an executive membership and get more than the annual fee back in our reward check so very worth it to me.

                                                  Finally, I appreciate Costco's employment practices - higher than average wages, health insurance, etc.

                                                  1. re: tcamp

                                                    Yes, that's another good reason to support Costco--their employment practices and living wages.

                                                2. I am a Costco humbug .
                                                  I hate the experience of shopping in yet another big box store, I never need giant quantities of anything and I think the prepared party foods are inferior to Trafer Joe's

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: magiesmom

                                                    Well, if you want to shop every day (or every other) be my guest.
                                                    Me? I'd like to spend the time having fun (like, say, cooking!).

                                                    1. re: magiesmom

                                                      You are a humbug, ha! And it's okay right. To each their own. TJ's is fine for many things but I find their party foods sloppy and often on the side of sitting too long. But if you don't need a ton of food, TJ's smaller portions are easier to manage.

                                                      I got over the bother a big box store presents by shopping less busy days. Some folks run to Costco on a Sat for the samples. I go during the week before 3pm.

                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                        eta: at Costco I can order a custom, fresh party platter. Can't do that at TJ's.

                                                        Neither the Costco or TJ's near me sells alcohol..so that involves another stop. But, I figured I would also mention those bargains too.

                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                          Yes I avoid Costco like the plague on weekends. I go weekday mornings. We had a business membership for years before we switched to executive and the early hours are really nice. Well they were until the closest one to me chose not to have business hours.

                                                      2. It depends.

                                                        You absolutely need to know your prices. Some things are definitely cheaper (e.g. Finish laundry detergent tablets, Brita filters) but you're going to find other items for the same per-unit price as everywhere else but sold as a bulk pack.

                                                        Kirkland brand Polish sausages and olive oil are very good. I have found the meat to be variable depending on the Costco outlet, and fruit/vegetable selection are average in my part of Canada but better in the US. Bananas seem to be big thing for everyone, but I can find them cheaper elsewhere.

                                                        Others have told you about the deals on tires, fuel and clothing, which I guess works if you elect to buy those items.

                                                        1. Hi Kieruadio,
                                                          I don't think anyone has mentioned eyeglasses and contact lenses. Costco's prices for these items are fabulous, although the frame selection is limited.
                                                          I buy dozens of pounds of nuts there each year--excellent quality and price. Cheese is also a good deal. I buy and freeze lots of their pecorino romano.
                                                          I'm super frugal, and I pony up the $$ for the membership each year.
                                                          Go for it!

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: soccermom13

                                                            I'm with you! The savings on eyeglasses alone make it well worth the membership fee. They also have a great selection of gift cards for local restaurants, health clubs, movie theaters etc. We buy them for places that we frequent and save a ton of money.

                                                            1. re: baseballfan

                                                              Oops, just reiterated this, above. Should read the whole thread before my "reply now" enthusiasm takes over.

                                                              BTW, those gift cards are at a discounted price. We just bought, for $80, $100 worth of dining.

                                                            2. re: soccermom13

                                                              And electric toothbrush heads, allergy medicine, heck I get my dogs rx filled there. She has her own membership number as a result LOL.

                                                            3. As many have said, you need to know your prices. Some things are actually more expensive at our Costco than in the grocery store.

                                                              That said, we make the cost of our membership with what we save on 2 blocks of excellent aged white cheddar cheese ($5/pound) and one bag of dog food ($28-ish for 40 pound bag). Throw in the savings on pistachios and coffee and we are really ahead. But again, not everything is a bargain.

                                                              4 Replies
                                                              1. re: gourmanda

                                                                No not everything is a bargain, anywhere :) But Costco also carries brands I'm not always able to get anywhere else.

                                                                Bottom line, I still shop everywhere to get what I want/need/depend on by shopping at 8 different retail/wholesale locations. Costco is the only place I pay a fee...so I wouldn't bother if it wasn't beneficial.

                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                  Also forgot to mention that some departments do not require you have a membership in order to use them, like Costco's pharmacy. Anyone can have their scrip filled there.

                                                                2. re: gourmanda

                                                                  Yes, forgot to mention the dog food. It is fairly highly rated and is dye-free. We buy for our two dogs and a neighbor dog.

                                                                  1. re: tcamp

                                                                    We buy our dog food there too, in the meat dept. Excellent quality and really good prices. We were saving 5% by buying a case but they quit that at my local store.

                                                                  1. Also, they do have smokin deals on many things. I was able to feed my husband and I for a week on $83.


                                                                    1. we bought tires this week. best deal around.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. In addition to food and produce, my greatest savings are for non-food items. Eye glasses, Flat Screen TV, Tires, Ipad, vitamins, over the counter meds etc. The cash back, with executive membership, always pays for my annual membership.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: treb

                                                                          And they're also excellent in dealing with price adjustments (within reason). If something goes on closeout (price drops to nearly half) within 30 days of purchase you can ask for a price match/refund.

                                                                        2. I had one for a year and never renewed it. It just wasn't worth the hassle. I didn't seem to really save money but it seems like many here do. Keep track of what you buy and you may find that it works for you.

                                                                          1. They offer a broad range of other services for members, from car-buying and insurance to travel, car rental discounts and home services. When we were pricing granite we contacted Costco and were connected with a local contractor (a private company that does business other than just for Costco customers). I was reluctant to go with them at first because they were the low bidder by far, but they did a phenomenal job (came out to measure, came back with a template of the entire countertop to confirm measurements and did a beautiful job of installing).

                                                                            The savings from that countertop installation alone will cover my membership for about 20 years.

                                                                            1. I have been a member since they first opened (I live near the flagship store in Seattle). I raised 3 boys on their toilet paper, o.j., cereal, meat, etc. Today with only two of us at home, I still buy lots of non food household supplies, dog food, stuff for parties, etc. Their boneless leg of lamb price can't be beat. They have the best deals on rental cars and you don't have to show your card when you pick up the car, so you can rent for family members if you want as long as the cc name and number match when you pick up the car (costco doesn't get the name and number, the car rental co. does just like when you rent directly from it). We bought our Honda through them. They have contracts with dealers. The price is fixed, no hassles, say yes or no and you're done. Their return policy is great (excluding cars). Their employment practices are good and there are employees at at the flagship store who haven't left in over 20 years, which says something to me!

                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                              1. re: twinsue

                                                                                And good thing Costco's HQ was located in Kirkland for awhile (hence the Kirkland private label brand) instead of in Bothell. Or Puyallup [grin]

                                                                                1. re: LotusRapper

                                                                                  Srsly. I live in Bothell. Worst town name ever.

                                                                                  1. re: LaureltQ

                                                                                    Didn't John Keister (Almost Live) used to always make fun of Bothell ? :-)

                                                                                    1. re: LotusRapper

                                                                                      I don't remember, but probably. I was young when it got cancelled, and just moved up here from Oly about a decade ago.

                                                                              2. Shop smart and know your cost per unit and it can be a big savings, especially if you have storage space/freezer space for the bigger volumes of stuff. One time I was at our local one and they were clearing out organic strawberries (switching vendors or something like that) 3 bucks for a 2 pound package. I wound up with 10 pounds of organic strawberries for 15 bucks. (then spent my afternoon cleaning them to freeze) My example doesn't happen very often but sometimes there are excellent deals to be had

                                                                                If you time your trips right, you can get a full lunch out of the samples they always seem to have.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: autumm

                                                                                  'If you time your trips right, you can get a full lunch out of the samples they always seem to have.'

                                                                                  Ha ha!!! Many a Friday afternoon I leave my office at noon and do "the Costco Buffet". Even if I don't buy that particular item that day, I still know if it is something I'll get on a future visit.

                                                                                2. Wow this thread took off! Great stuff here. I'd like to check it out tomorrow but I know it's gonna be chaos.

                                                                                  It's my 31st bday tomorrow, a membership might be a good gift to myself :)

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: Kleraudio

                                                                                    Early happy B-day :-) You can buy A LOT of big cakes & pies there for yerself ........

                                                                                  2. We have an executive membership and the amount I save on my car insurance alone would pay for it. But then we also get the rebate check. I've my own membership for 20 years and before that I was on my parents.

                                                                                    1. I say yes, with reservations (and I say this as someone who got a membership within the last two months).

                                                                                      Can you save money per item? For sure. Will you be spending less money overall? Only if you have tremendous planning skills and restraint.

                                                                                      We're a household of two. I will estimate that between the two of us we've spent 850-900 dollars in the last two months. Admittedly, a large portion of this was stocking up on items I know we'll use with the intention of not having to go out for those things in the blinding snow this winter. So I stocked up on roughly a 6 month supply of toilet paper, paper towels, laundry soap, stain remover, cleaners, vitamins (ridiculously good prices on vitamins), coffee, the fruit snacks I like, almond milk, shampoo and conditioner, razors, toothpaste, feminine products, etc. I really tried to stick with things I know I'll use and not just because it's a really good deal and I "think we'll use it". But I did throw a few "fun items" in there as well (chocolate truffles and cashew clusters).

                                                                                      It's just really easy to get sucked in. Really easy. And with a household of two (and a small kitchen...I keep thinking about getting a chest freezer, but currently don't have the room) a lot of the refrigerated food items just come in too large of a size to really make a lot of sense for us, especially the produce. I just can't get through 4 or 5 pounds of grapes before they go bad. That said, the few non-shelf stable food items I have purchased (chicken salad from the deli, the aged cheddar slices, huge bag of oranges that I did get through finally) were really quite good. If you ever have a work or family event, every one I work with raves about the cakes.

                                                                                      So, yes with reservations. As people have pointed out there are other benefits, too (cheaper gas!) and could provide good savings if you're in the market for some bigger ticket items in the near future. But a family of two may not reap the benefits as much as a larger family unless you have a freezer and a lot of storage space and are good at planning things out (otherwise, you'll probably still end up going to multiple stores so you can pick up things like produce and dairy in more reasonable amounts). However, you'll likely save at least the cost of the membership over a couple of visits so it's not a huge gamble to join.

                                                                                      (Also, I have a group of 8 coworkers I talk to regularly who all have memberships. We were talking about this the other day...everyone mentioned that they gained weight after joining Costco. Unfortunately, I'm now part of this club, too, though I also think my super long stressful hours at work played a part. Could be coincidental, but I think it's a little like Trader Joe's - they have a lot of tempting convenience foods and treats that somehow have a way of making it into your cart.)

                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: amishangst

                                                                                        Thanks so much for that insightful post. The weight gain, I can totally see that, funny!

                                                                                        Yea it's just the two of us. I think just coffee and meat savings will justify the membership cost. We go through 1 pound of coffee a week here.

                                                                                        1. re: Kleraudio

                                                                                          Don't forget the about a dollar a pound savings on butter. Yes, you have to buy 4 lbs.at a time, but I just pop the other 3 lbs. in the freezer. I shop for my family of three about once or twice a month, mostly protein, cheese, dairy, eggs, OJ and occasionally juice, toothbrush heads and lunch meat. We do a hospitality room at a convention every year and the savings on the food for it definitely pays for the membership.

                                                                                          1. re: Kleraudio

                                                                                            After all of us chiming in you haven't told us if you joined or not????And what did you think of our Costco???

                                                                                        2. Business center! How did I forget that? We have a freestanding CostCo Business Center (although it's in a weird part of town), and I've found great restaurant supply equipment for home use. If you need mega-bulk meats, etc, they're all there, too. Do most cities have the biz centers, though?

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: pine time

                                                                                            Unfortunately, no. The business centers are all in the Western part of the country.

                                                                                            1. re: pine time

                                                                                              LOVE the business center. We were having 12 family members for Christmas one year and I only had 4 wine glasses. Off to the business center! I bought a dozen Libbey glasses for $14!

                                                                                              Also, they have gallon-sized tubs of Mascarpone for $20.

                                                                                              Plus great food storage containers, industrial style utensils, and cases of every type of soda you could imagine. Came in handy for drinks for our wedding too!

                                                                                            2. Only place to get prime beef where I live. Only two of us, but that's enough. Less than two miles from two of my workplaces. That would be enough, but I like the small business stuff too.

                                                                                              The bonus are things like


                                                                                              tires ( we have fancy cars and tire rack, but I think Costco has some sort of guarantee for punctures that other's don't)

                                                                                              ice cream

                                                                                              frozen shrimp


                                                                                              pine nuts and pecans. I freeze them.

                                                                                              various amazing cheeses

                                                                                              farmed Atlantic salmon. Even when I waste some.

                                                                                              Things that keep like

                                                                                              olive oil



                                                                                              food saver I bought there helps too.

                                                                                              I've heard pharmacy and opticals are good values too, but haven't tried it.

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                Thanks for the insight. I'm sure we'll save the cost of membership just with coffee alone! I was going to head over there today but woke up late (long Friday night :)) and had plans for the afternoon/evening today. Maybe I'll head up there sometime Monday :)

                                                                                                1. re: Kleraudio

                                                                                                  It is now the right time to join with all the holiday's that are coming up I believe you'll get hooked, I'm sitting here reading all the blogs and totally suffering as my closest Costco is over 2 hundred miles away and I have to wait another month before I make my trip.
                                                                                                  I'm only a one person household and I still make these trips as far as I'm concerned Costco walk's on water.
                                                                                                  I wanted to tell you that now before the holiday's you'll see a lot of stuff [in the food category] for instance, you'll see those beautiful frenched 8 bone pork roasts [by swifts] only now till the holidays are over then you have to wait till easter before they along with many other products come again, so I usually stock up and freeze them per portion.I also get the steaks have never found a bad one yet and I don't get the prime I find they just have the best flavor.I can go on and on but I believe my fellow chowhounders will tell you more on whats' seasonal. GET THAT CARD.HA_HAAAA

                                                                                              2. I had a Costco membership when I lived out in the Seattle area years ago. I honestly didn't think it was worth it considering it was just me and my husband. At the time a 6 month membership was 25 dollars and I didn't find it to be saving me any more money. In fact I found it more expensive but perhaps if you have a family of say, four,it would be to your advantage.

                                                                                                1. Gas at Costco on my last visit was 18 cents cheaper than low priced stations. Doesn't take too many fills to recoup the $50 card cost.

                                                                                                  I am a Costco fan.

                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Bigjim68

                                                                                                    Here in Seattle it was $3.03 for regular. My local chevron and BP were $3.69. In response to the cat litter question below:
                                                                                                    I don't know what there's is like, but I love buying good quality dog food in 40lb. bags. It's one of those things I hate running out of.

                                                                                                    1. re: twinsue

                                                                                                      Was down in Bellevue today. $3.40-ish for regular at the big boys pumps. I filled up at Market Fuel on premium 92 for $3.69.

                                                                                                      1. re: LotusRapper

                                                                                                        Gas at the Kirkland, WA Costco was $2.95 today. Wish I could have "stocked up".

                                                                                                      2. re: twinsue

                                                                                                        It's 2.71 in Texas but even my regular gas stations are below 2.80

                                                                                                        1. re: rasputina

                                                                                                          Sigh. We were happy today that CostCo gas was DOWN to 3.59

                                                                                                    2. We just had one open up near us, and I joined. While I don't go every week, the way I see it if my husband goes through a pound of coffee a week and I save $1 to $1.50 per pound, then that completely pays for the membership. Granola bars: $.27 each instead of $.49 - we each eat a 2 or 3 a week - that pays for it again. If you can find one or two items like that to justify the membership cost, then sure. I'd recommend asking a friend or family member with a card to take you and you can look for your everyday items to see how it washes out before you join. There are just the two of us in a small-ish house, so we don't buy pallets of TP or other things we may not have room for, but so far I'm pleased with their meat department. Butter will save about $1 per pound, and the milk at mine is $.97 a gallon if you're a milk family.

                                                                                                      1. Honestly, I've never really understood the hand-wringing over whether to get a Costco membership.

                                                                                                        It's something like $50 dollars, a refundable $50.

                                                                                                        If you think about it, many people will spend that much (or more) a month just on coffee (non-Starbucks coffee, to boot).

                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                          Totally agree, Costco gives you a full year to try them, and on the last day you can cancel and get a full refund. Who the heck else does that!

                                                                                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                            I completely agree as well. If you're really on a tight budget, I can kind of understand the hesitation. But other folks? Just buy it already and move on.

                                                                                                            You know, it also makes wonder if it's more a psychological issue about a one year commitment, changing personal shopping habits/routines, driving routines, cooking routines and making storage in one's house. Okay, I just talked myself off the annoyance edge now. Those are valid reasons to hesitate.

                                                                                                          2. With one membership, my parents and all their married kids take advantage of it so totally worth the membership but don't tell Costco.

                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: Monica

                                                                                                              Oh lord, I'd much rather pay for my own membership than Costco shop with my parents. Logistically a non-starter anyway since they live 2,600 miles away.

                                                                                                              1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                You get two cards so I don't really need to shop with my parents. I have Costco credit card so I don't even need to bring Costco membership card.

                                                                                                            2. I've been a member since 1989 and have lived alone all that time. My card definitely pays for itself. Here are a few things I always buy there:

                                                                                                              Coffee (love the Columbian Supremo)
                                                                                                              Kitty Litter (w/3 cats 42 lbs. goes fast)
                                                                                                              Kirkland EVOO
                                                                                                              10 lb. organic carrots (horses gotta eat too! )
                                                                                                              Toilet Paper/Paper Towels/cleaning supplies
                                                                                                              cheeses (price on goat cheese is great)

                                                                                                              Tires & gas used to be cheaper, but here in TX I've had better luck elsewhere.

                                                                                                              Got glasses frames much cheaper than my optometrist & Costco had a bigger selection, so my optometrist wasn't offended I didn't get frames from him.

                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: Barbara76137

                                                                                                                How is the Costco kitty litter? I am running a little low but with only one cat, I wasn't sure I wanted to drag a 42 pound bag home.

                                                                                                                1. re: Kate is always hungry

                                                                                                                  It is Scoop Away brand, & I've been using it for years. I recently had to temporarily introduce a 3rd cat to the household, and panicked when I couldn't find it! Turns out they had it on a center display away from the rest of the pet things. I think it is $11.99 a bag, so that is pretty good. It doesn't have an overpowering scent and the cats all seem to like it.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Barbara76137

                                                                                                                    That is an excellent price for 40 pounds of litter. I don't use clumping litter though, it's Tidy Cat Breeze system at our house with 5 cats.

                                                                                                              2. No. After two years, we dropped our membership. I couldn't put up with the crowds and wait times. Without fail, I'd arrive and half the cashier aisles would be open and hardly anyone in line. By the time I got what I wanted, most would be closed and the lines would begin stretching towards the back of the store. I couldn't justify the hassle just to save a few bucks. I do most of my shopping at Asian markets and local bodegas and when I need beer, I've got a Total Beverage 20 minutes away. A Costco opened 2 miles away from me and I have no interest joining, primarily because it's at a notoriously clogged intersection right nextdoor to a Walmart. It would take me half an hour to drive those two miles.

                                                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                  Only time I shop at costco is after work...about 30 min before they close. Tuesday and Wednesday seem to be the least crowded days.

                                                                                                                  1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                    We must have a really great Costco, then. I generally shop there on Saturday around 11A-12N (after the samples are out!) and the parking lot is packed. Always a lot of open check out lanes and there is an employee that helps to unload your cart and one to place the items back in as they go through the register. Very fast (sometimes too fast) and efficient.

                                                                                                                    1. re: gourmanda

                                                                                                                      I enjoy the self serv check out lanes, hardly ever a wait.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                                                          They should replace them with a "10 item or less" line.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                                                            yeah, but they'll check out half the items in your cart before you even get to the register.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                              I loved the self serve check out but the PLU# was tied to the weight of the item and if the person wasn't paying attention, the item wouldn't scan and they were losing money.
                                                                                                                              The scanners that I used would stop and have to have a code from an employee to proceed.

                                                                                                                              I was bummed when they yanked those out last year.

                                                                                                                        2. re: gourmanda

                                                                                                                          Ours is the least crowded in the country, last I checked.

                                                                                                                      1. I didn't renew my membership when it expired, mainly because shopping there was a lot of work. It would start when I got to the parking lot and had to hunt for a space. Then, after a long hike to the store, and a long time finding oversize packages of the things I needed, there was inevitably a very long, very slow, check-out line to contend with.

                                                                                                                        They packed my groceries in boxes that were too heavy for me to lift without hurting my back, so after I finally pushed the cart all the way to my car, I had to unload the items a few at a time, taking them out of the box and putting them into my car until the box was a manageable weight and I could lift it into my car. Then I had to load the loose stuff back in the boxes so it wouldn't roll all over the place on the drive home. Once I got there, I did the whole thing in reverse.

                                                                                                                        Unfortunately, that was not the end of the work. I had to find storage space for the gigantic packages of dry goods, something that is scarce in my house. And I had to disassemble packages of perishables and repackage them for the freezer, as they were too big to use as they were. Finding that food that got buried in the freezer to use it some day in the future was another job.

                                                                                                                        Then there were the prices. I found that in general I could do just as well if not better if I shopped sales at my local Safeway. It's five minutes from my house, (Costco is 35) and I can buy as much or as little of something as I want. The lines are always short, and they'll open another one if the lines back up, which is respectful of the customer's time. They pack my groceries up in manageable bags, and they'll even load it in my car.

                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: bitchincook

                                                                                                                          Respectful of the customers' time is making it so that you can shop once a month. "shopping sales" is the antithesis of respecting customers' time.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                            You're incorrectly assuming that everyone thinks only shopping once a month is a good thing.

                                                                                                                            If it works for your family that's great but why put someone else down because their situation is different than yours? You do that a lot.

                                                                                                                        2. Yes.. (full disclosure I am a Costco stock holder.)

                                                                                                                          1. I tried to go in and look at the new Costco in Riverhead LI, NY. Was told I needed a Costco card to look. $55 to look???. Then told that they don't take Visa or Mastercard. What kind of business is this? So I went back to BJ'S....no problem...they took my Visa for $200+. Is Costco management crazy????

                                                                                                                            32 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: johnnyb510

                                                                                                                              they take debit card-not credit cards from Visa ,Mastercard

                                                                                                                              1. re: johnnyb510

                                                                                                                                That $55 is good for a free AMEX card. Enjoy!

                                                                                                                                1. re: johnnyb510

                                                                                                                                  They have an exclusive agreement with American Express and the store card happens to be a solid card for gas. 3% on all gas, including Costco. That's double savings right there.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: johnnyb510

                                                                                                                                    Yes, Costco doesn't do free 30-day passes or whatever like BJ's.
                                                                                                                                    At least I can't remember seeing such an offer.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: johnnyb510

                                                                                                                                      Costco is certainly not crazy.
                                                                                                                                      When you join, you reap the benefits of their exclusive deal with AmEx.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                        Plus the AMEX card is free for executive memberships.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: treb

                                                                                                                                            But it does not come with all of Amex benefits, they told me in response. So I just use my own Amex for everything, everywhere I shop instead.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                              What benefits. Costco AMEX comes with cash back that's number 1 for me, they give 2% cash back on travel related purchases and dining. it does have a credit limit which I like and there's no fee which I also like. Other than that, it works for me. I still don't see a downside for the membership or AMEX card.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: treb

                                                                                                                                                The benefts that come with no credit limit, for one. We put everything on it, from newspaper subscriptions to medical bills to recent high materials and home improvement costs.

                                                                                                                                                We pay everything in full each month,

                                                                                                                                                And they have superlative customer service and fraud protection.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                  We pay our Costco AmEx in full every month, have a limit of $25K, which can be increased if we choose.

                                                                                                                                                  We get a check for 1.5% of all charges every year, which we cash at Costco (can make a purchase and use the check and get change, or can walk up to Customer Service and hand them the check and get cash). The check was for $786 this year.

                                                                                                                                                  If you are an Executive Member, you also get a check for 2% of Costco only charges for the year. That check was $88.

                                                                                                                                                  You can do the math.

                                                                                                                                                  One day last summer, there were an abundance of charges being made and confirmed online using my Costco Amex ( I ended up seeing about 50 confirmations once I looked at that email account). I received a phone call (within an hour of that first confirmation) from AmEx (at 5 a.m.) and all charges were not paid (I told them when I had used my card last) and they FedEx'd me a new card, received the next morning.

                                                                                                                                                  Other than no credit limit, the cash back is a bit more advantage to the Costco AmEx.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Cathy

                                                                                                                                                    I get Amex rewards points, though they are not very valuable, I rack them up very rapidly with no limit on how many I get per year.

                                                                                                                                                    My Costco cash back check at renewal each year is around $120, so I'm not missing out on that; I get it annually at renewal time.

                                                                                                                                                    I carry two credit cards, the Amex Gold and a Mastercard I use maybe a few times a year with vendors who don't take Amex.

                                                                                                                                                    I'm not knocking the Costco Amex, I just don't want a vendor specific card and I want no limits on rewards, when I have none on my existing Amex.

                                                                                                                                                    If we didn't charge such high amounts monthly, the Costco card might be a better deal, but I'm not motivated to split my spending between them.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                      Rewards Points. Cash.

                                                                                                                                                      Whichever is more valuable to you, do that. But do know it is the same customer service and fraud protection.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Cathy

                                                                                                                                                        Because it's likely done by Amex. I have nothing against the Costco card, I just don't see any net benefit based on our spending habits monthly and I see a limit on what I'd earn points on.

                                                                                                                                                        Points actually don't equal cash. My Amex ones are worth very little used that way, but more when used for travel or certain purchases. You get an automatic credit of dollars, right?

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                          We've never charged $25K in one month, so that would not matter. (I recall one time writing a check for ±$14K- had a new roof installed in addition to normal charges).

                                                                                                                                                          The cash accumulates (is listed on each bill) and the check is issued once a year (February/March).

                                                                                                                                                          It was more your statement sounded like 'your' AmEx had superior service in comparison to 'mine'. We also can (and do) charge everything we can on it. We also use a MasterCard that gives us 1% 'cash' as a credit on our monthly billing as our only other credit card.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Cathy

                                                                                                                                                            The comments below this post are informative. I can see value in the card, but seriously, they don't report to credit agencies and this is the only card I use... ?

                                                                                                                                                            Your membership lapses while you're on vacation and your card goes dead immediately?

                                                                                                                                                            I don't love paying an annual fee, but no thanks.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                              costco autorenews your membership (it's the annual fee for the card too)

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                                                                I wonder how that cardholder lost his Amex on vacation? (from the comments section in the link I posted).

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                    You've got a black credit card? Please. You've never bought a house with a credit card, have you? Right.

                                                                                                                                                    "No credit limit" doesn't exist. "We'll tell you when you hit the credit limit" does, however.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                                                      No, not black, never bought a house, though put tens of thousands in home improvements on it.

                                                                                                                                                      Theoretically, there's a credit limit, but even when we charge an extra 10 or more, we never hit it, and our regularly monthly bill isn't that much lower, often.

                                                                                                                                                      Our Visa also has a stupid high limit we never asked for, yes.

                                                                                                                                                      I don't care if you carry a Costco Amex, but I prefer not to give up the account three family members have shared for decades now for another. I hiope that's ok with you.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                        I like to use my Visa almost all the time, I get back 5% on gas and restaurants. And I get it however I want it every month, once it goes over $20. I have an Amex and it was great way back when; they used to give you 1% back on everything that went into a high yield savings account, but that disappeared during the crash. Now I still have it but only use it for automatic stuff like EZPass.

                                                                                                                                                        My friend is taking me into the new Riverhead store this weekend to check it out, but it's going to be a hard sell for me with the credit card issue. Not that I won't have my Amex on hand, just in case! Bjs is 7 minutes away and Costco is 3, not enough difference to even care.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                          Costco is so much better than BJs, from my memory. See what you think. Quality control, employment practices, very consumer friendly policies.

                                                                                                                                                          I used to use a Citi MC for everything when Amex rewards went to shit, for the virtual numbers for online shopping and rewards, but there's got crappy, so back to Amex I went.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                            Maybe the stores are different but I've never had a complaint with my BJs Well except for the long lines. When they discontinue something, they always bring in something else equally interesting. And they have cheerfully refunded anything I brought back, sometimes even giving me cash even though I charged it.

                                                                                                                                                            The only complaint is sometimes I fall in love with something and then it's gone, but I think these kind of stores are all like that as far as their loyalty to their manufacturers. They are a lot more desirable a client than a regular grocery store, and can afford to pick and choose!

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                      Get the limit increased, I did with not hassle. I also pay in full each month. I get the same AMEX customer service and fraud protection as well. Last year the cash back paid for a set of tires for my car and the Costco Executive cash back paid for my membership plus a nice load of Costco product.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: treb

                                                                                                                                                        If there's one thing we don't need, it's higher credit limits,

                                                                                                                                                  3. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                    While there may be other benefits with the conventional Amexes that the Costco-branded ones don't offer, I'm not aware of any. Maybe Travel Services or something like that. I guess Membership Rewards points instead of the cash back.

                                                                                                                                                    Membership Rewards Points used to be worth about 1%, but now they are worth about half that if you want to buy something at most participating vendors. They now can be linked directly to Amazon and they are worth slightly more there so we use them there for points we get with our conventional Amexes.

                                                                                                                                                    You don't have to give up your conventional cards to get the Costco ones. For the longest time I resisted the Costco card because the last thing I needed in my wallet was another card. It's not a single vendor card at all because you can use it anywhere you can use an Amex and the cash back is real cash -- as noted above you can take your rebate check and get cash for it at the service desk -- and as far as I know pretty much every store takes that.

                                                                                                                                                    We now have four Executive memberships -- one for each of the four branches of our culinary adventure, each with its own dba as listed on our business license -- and each one has its own Amex. For each we max out our Rebate at $750 per year from Costco, and also get a check for about $1500 per year from each Amex, for which there is no maximum limit. This includes 4% back on the gas for our four vehicles including our Food Trucks, which obviously take a lot of gas -- and we fill up at Costco, which has the lowest prices in our area by about $.20/gal anyhow.

                                                                                                                                                    I do feel funny about putting down the card with our restaurant name when eating at another restaurant to get the 2% back there, so I typically use our personal card for that and get the points instead.

                                                                                                                                                    So I always laugh when I see a question like "are there any pros to having a membership?" as in the OP. Any? Um, yeah. Is it right for everyone? Not necessarily.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: acgold7

                                                                                                                                                      AMEX anted up with the lawyers on the Costco Card... I'm pretty sure they do the same things for all their cards...

                                                                                                                                              2. re: johnnyb510

                                                                                                                                                This recall was mentioned on the 6 p.m. news last night: http://www.traderjoes.com/about/custo...

                                                                                                                                                I received a phone call yesterday about 2 p.m. from Costco, because they have it on record that I purchased a case of nectarines within the last two weeks.

                                                                                                                                                Does Sams do that?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Cathy

                                                                                                                                                  I got a call, too, from CostCo about the peaches we recently bought. Same deal--possible listeria contamination.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                    i got a costco robocall yesterday about the peaches i bought being recalled. can i just bring the box back i wonder?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: eLizard

                                                                                                                                                      My robocall said to either bring in the receipt or the fruit (they have all your receipts on record anyway). We've eaten all the peaches and we're just fine, but I read somebody saying listeria can strike weeks after being exposed. Need to find some medical expert to see if that's true.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                        go to webmd. I've had listeria before (mild case) and I highly doubt it can strike weeks later.

                                                                                                                                              3. make a friend before you get to the door-
                                                                                                                                                then explore on your own

                                                                                                                                                1. Yes.
                                                                                                                                                  It is a great place for paper products and pantry staples.
                                                                                                                                                  They have a nice selection of cheese and great chocolate chip cookies.

                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: NattyP

                                                                                                                                                    So does BJs.....not that I've been to Costco since when they were Price Club.

                                                                                                                                                  2. Family of two here, and I wouldn’t dream of dropping our membership.
                                                                                                                                                    We have purchased furniture both online and in stores, and we are always shopping for food and non food (some bigger ticket items too) products in stores. I guess you could say we are Costco fanatics to be honest.

                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pumpkinspice

                                                                                                                                                      Agree it's well worth the membership for a family of 2.
                                                                                                                                                      We've benefitted incredibly and there are some products that I get there that I don't know how I'd live without.
                                                                                                                                                      Well, of course I'd live, but...

                                                                                                                                                    2. I would say no. I have the same situation as you, re household size and weekly shopping. I've had a membership for the past 2 years but have only actually gone once or twice in that time. I'm not going to renew it...