Saving Smart Spending

Is a Costco Membership Worth the Yearly Fee?

Erica Sandberg
Written by Erica Sandberg

Ask any of the millions of people who spring for a Costco membership if they like the retailer and they’ll more than happily tell you. In fact, chances are they won’t hold back with their enthusiasm and reasons. I asked for opinions on social media and here is just a tiny selection of real responses:

  • I’m huge fan. I love the toilet paper, peanut butter, the frozen prawns are amazing. I buy bulk chicken pieces and freeze them. It’s super helpful for family life.
  • They are great for liquor and diapers.
  • Costco is my Disneyland.
  • I love Costco!!!! Especially since I just found out deliver groceries
  • Costco is my happy place.
  • The Costco pharmacy is amazing. Their cap on cost extends to pharmaceuticals. Whenever I have to buy a medication that is not covered by our insurance I have it filled at Costco and it is always way cheaper than Walgreens.
  • Yes, love my Costco. Never drama when I need to return items — and don’t need receipts. I have even returned fruit or fish that has gone bad too early. Always buy my tires there, too. We even got our vacation package through them

In short, their passion is driven by low prices and easy returns. If you haven’t tried it out yet, you may certainly be tempted by now. Before you go, though, know that you can’t just waltz in and begin to shop. You’ve got to purchase a membership first. As of 2017, it is $60 per year for individuals and basic businesses.  

Obviously that fee would be a total waste of money if you never or rarely went to the place. True, you can come out ahead in just a single shopping trip and buy enough stuff that is at least $60 dollars cheaper than had you bought the items somewhere else. lIf not, there’s no point. It would be the same as eager work-outers optimistically signing up for a health club in January, then going once or twice but never again. Happens all the time.

About the author

Erica Sandberg

Erica Sandberg

Erica Sandberg is a freelance editor at large, reporter, and advice columnist covering all things fundamental finance. She’s been KRON-TV’s on-air money and credit expert for over 15 years, and has appeared on virtually every national news show, from Fox to CNN. She hosts Making it with Erica, a video program highlighting ways to live adventurously on any budget.

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