The Pros & Cons of Shopping at Costco

by Pam on August 17, 2009

the pros and cons of shopping at CostcoCostco is a wholesale store providing all sorts of things from groceries to television sets to engine oil.  When it comes to buying groceries, I find that I can often get better deals at my local grocery store.  Costco doesn’t carry the cheaper generic food brands, and you have to be willing to buy food in large quantities.  Although buying bulk is often cheaper, it can be more expensive at times, so you need to watch.

I also don’t like the idea of having to pay a $56 membership fee to be able to shop there.  There are other wholesale places that don’t charge you anything.  Not only that, but they won’t let you take a tour first before deciding if it’s worth your while to pay for a membership.  You have to pay before you can look around.  Another downer is that you can’t pay using a regular credit card, it has to be a Costco credit card, cash or debit.  I like to use my credit card for everything so I can earn points, but I can’t do that at Costco.

That being said, Costco definitely has its good points.  We save a ton of money on synthetic engine oil – it costs about 70% of what it would cost in regular retail stores.  We’ve also saved a lot of money on buying ink for our printer.  Had we bought it at any other store, we would have paid almost twice as much.  Costco also has cheap clothing and books.  We also discovered some good deals on picture frames, electric toothbrush replacements, and other miscellaneous items.  If you are patient enough to look through the entire store, you are sure to find something you need and find a good deal.

A bonus to shopping at Costco is that they have plenty of people offering samples for everything from sausages to lemonade to candy.  You can be entertained just by walking around the grocery section and trying all kinds of new things!

For us, at least, Costco has been worth the membership fee because of the savings on computer and auto supplies.  The grocery prices aren’t that great, however, if you do a lot of entertaining, you will probably like their inexpensive fruit and veggie trays.  I would encourage you to check it out, but only if you have plans to buy more than just groceries.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Mark May 11, 2011 at 10:26 am

Hi, as for the food, you are right in that there are more bulk items than a typical grocery store. After I started closely comparing the savings, I was surprised that in some cases I was getting double the amount of food for the same cost, so even if I couldn’t eat my way through it all I was still coming out ahead. Some of the other retailers had some cheaper options, but it meant buying the generic, low quality brands which I believe my family does not deserve. When I buy anything at Costco, I know its the highest quality. Even in the clothing section, I buy items that normally are purchased at high end retailers such as Macy’s and Nordstrom’s, but I pay nearly half the price. They do allow you to look around first before you sign up, you just cannot buy anything. Instead they let you cancel your membership for a full refund of the membership fee all the way up to the last day of your year. Obviously I’m a big fan, but you can try it for yourself and if you don’t feel the same way, simply cancel it.

Jason May 12, 2011 at 2:55 pm

I love costco! 3rd largest retailer in the us! When was the last time you saw a costco commersial? I save lots of money.

Tom@easyfinance May 17, 2012 at 4:32 am

Costco is my all time favorite. Though I haven’t been able to go and shop over there in last few months due to my hectic work schedule, I do my almost all necessary shopping over there. Its concession credibility is awesome and discount offers are also very attractive. lovely article.

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