My experience with shopping at Costco

Papa KyKy By Papa KyKy, 13th Jan 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/3a3i3vxm/
Posted in Wikinut>Money>Shopping

My experiences and things to look out for when shopping at Costco.

Introduction

I am a big fan of the savings found at Costco since the 90's, when it was known as Price Club. The concept of paying for a membership to receive savings was a new one to me. Over time, I began to appreciate the savings that Costco provided more and more. I would often spend a lot of money at once, but would realize the savings over time by paying a much lower per unit cost. The prices on certain items when they have a coupon sale there are unbeatable. I have shopped at Sam's Club also, but just prefer the feel, and selection at Costco. I like to get items on coupon sale there that will last forever, or for at least 6 months. Items such as paper towels, toothpaste, laundry detergent, garbage bags, etc. Here are a few things to be aware of when shopping at Costco.

Membership levels

Excluding the business membership, Costco has 2 main levels of memberships for households: Gold Star, which is the standard level. and Executive I switch on and off for getting the Executive Membership, which costs twice as much, but provides a 2% rebate on all Costco purchases. In doing the math, it is worth getting the Executive plan if you plan to spend more than $2750 in a year at Costco (the $55 difference between memberships is fully recouped at this point). This is actually very easy to do if you already plan on purchasing big ticket items there, like televisions, computers, tires, etc. Executive membership can also provide other benefits and savings if you use other Costco services, such as their business services or travel services, so mileage may vary. I am a big fan of the savings found at Costco. The prices on certain items when they have a coupon sale there are unbeatable. I like to get items on coupon sale there that will last forever, or for at least 6 months. Items such as paper towels, toothpaste, laundry detergent, garbage bags, etc. I switch on and off for getting the Executive Membership, which costs twice as much, but provides a 2% rebate on all Costco purchases. In doing the math, it is worth doing this if you plan to spend more than $2750 in a year at Costco (the $55 difference between memberships is fully recouped at this point). This is actually very easy to do if you are purchasing big ticket items there, like televisions, computers, tires, etc. Executive membership can also provide other benefits and savings if you use other Costco services, such as their business services or travel services, so mileage may vary.

Tire Center

I always get my tires at Costco. Excluding sales, They often have the best ratio of price and warranty. Costco also provides free tire rotation and balancing for the life of the tire, They also provide free Nitrogen tire inflation as well.

Fruits and Vegetables

I have had mixed results of buying fruits and vegetables at Costco. They have good prices on some items, like Veggie and Fruit Trays. But you have to watch the expiration dates closely, as they sometimes may have items that may have been there for a while. I found that I get fresher fruit at the grocery store without having to buy such a large quantity.

Clothing

Costco has good quality clothing at low prices. Particularly on the Kirkland brand items. I have found the Kirkland Sneakers to last as long as the name brand, but cost a fraction of the cost (last time I purchased them, they were about $15). I have had the same experience with Costco shirts, in comparison to the name brands.

Meat

Costco's quality on meat is great. They have great pricing also. However; the quantity of meat is such that you would need to have an extra freezer or commercial freezer to truly take advantage of the pricing. Sometimes the cut of meat can also be very thick, so be aware of that when purchasing.

Cereal

Cereal is one of those items that you will probably get a better deal on with coupons and sales at the grocery stores. When it goes on a coupon sale at Costco, it may be worth picking up.

Medicine

This is one of the best reasons to go to Costco. They provide substantial discounts per unit on OTC medications. One little known fact is that you may use the Costco Pharmacy without having access to a membership.

Snack Bar

Costco is probably the only place in town where you can get a 1/4 pound hot dog and a drink (with unlimited refills) for only $1.50. Their pizza is huge, about 1/3 larger than a typical pizza place's large pizza. Despite this, you can pick up a whole pizza for around $10.00. If you are eating at Costco though, be prepared to wipe down your own table (Costco provides the cleaner and paper towel).

Free Samples

Costco is one of those places where you can get your Hot Dog deal for $1.50 mentioned above, and then walk the store for the free samples if you are still hungry!

Batteries

I like getting the huge package of Duracell Batteries on coupon sale at Costco. This is a must if you have kids! I typically get them in June, due to having a tax holiday on them for Hurricane preparedness month in my state. They wind up lasting me the whole year (package of 48).

Electronics

I enjoy getting electronics at Costco for a number of reasons: 1. They have very competitive pricing 2. They extend the warranty of the electronics to be 2 years from the date of purchase. I have bough computers, printers, and televisions at Costco for this reason. If you know that you will be purchasing one of these big ticket items, it would also be a good time to upgrade to the Executive Membership.

Gasoline

Costco gasoline in my area can sometimes be as much as 16 cents per gallon cheaper than the other local stations. In most places, having a membership is required to take advantage of the lower prices. (I don't believe that it is required in some other states like New Jersey, due to their laws). The quality of the gasoline is also higher than other retail stations, with 5 times the governmnet required gasoline detergent included.

Tags

Costco, Grocery Shopping, Warehouse Clubs, Warehouse Shopping

Meet the author

author avatar Papa KyKy
I enjoy talking about videogames, technology, and different ways to save money.

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Comments

author avatar writestuff
13th Jan 2015 (#)

Thanks for this post. Good and informative article.

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author avatar viewgreen
14th Jan 2015 (#)

Awesome article and such a great experience you share herein. Thank you and nice to see you Papa! :)

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author avatar Papa KyKy
15th Jan 2015 (#)

Thank you writestuff and viewgreen!

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