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Does Shopping at Costco Really Save You Money?

Costco
April 4th, 2015

When was your last trip to Costco? Have you ever wondered if you’re saving money when you shop at this warehouse store? Warehouse companies like Costco imbibe the “stack them deep and sell them cheap” philosophy and they charge a certain amount annually for the privilege of shopping at any of their outlets.

How Much is the Membership Fee?

Costco is very popular, boasting of over 50 million members. You pay $55 for a basic Gold Star membership but if you want the Executive Membership, you need to pay $110. The difference between both types of membership is that you get a 2% reward annually on your Costco purchases and even be entitled to receive additional benefits and bigger discounts compared to basic members.

Saving Money While Shopping at Costco

But while the idea of shopping at Costco’s brightly lit stockrooms filled with very wide aisles is exciting, you would have to wonder if doing so actually saves you money. Fortunately for frugal shoppers out there, the answer is YES. Buying in bulk may not be the best option for couples and starter families but it’s perfect for bigger families and those who are budget-conscious.

Besides, when you get the Executive Membership, you could get as much as $750 in savings annually. Now that’s a lot of money saved, don’t you think?

Best Deals at Costco

Avid Costco shoppers have come up with a list of items that are offered on a bargain at this warehouse store. They include: dog food, diapers, olive oil, milk, laundry detergent, chips, cheese, cleaning supplies, frozen fruits and veggies, vitamins, cakes, nuts, seasonings, and even hotdogs. Other great deals include bananas, paper towels, toilet paper, large canned food, baking items, juice, eggs, soaps, burgers and buns, frozen salmon, electronics and a whole lot more!

Shopping Tips to Save More

If you’re keen on saving money when shopping at Costco, you have to be smart and plan ahead before you drive there. Buying on impulse has led people to buy items they don’t need and end up spending more than what their budget allows. That said, always make a list of things to buy beforehand. Next, try to go there during lunch or snack hours so that you can take advantage of all the free sample food they offer and save your lunch money!

Another way to save money at Costco is to head to their discount aisles. The big displays that are usually placed at the middle of the store give you the best deals for the day. Next, make use of coupons and gift cards. Costco often mails coupons to members, but if you don’t have any, you can always approach their customer service desk and ask for them.

It also helps to familiarize yourself with Costco’s price codes. Look for items with prices ending in 97¢ as these are marked down items.

Finally, it’s important that you are aware of what some people refer to as the Costco Effect. It’s the tendency to spend more when you have more cash in your wallet. There’s also the tendency to increase consumption for larger portion sized items.

You will save a lot when you shop at Costco but only if you are disciplined. The average markup at this warehouse store is around 10% compared to the 20% from traditional supermarkets. So if your goal is to save money, try to be careful about what you buy and how much. That way, you will spend less on each shopping trip.


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