Wondering if a Costco membership is worth it? This list will help you decide! And don’t miss this HOT Costco membership deal that’s running right now!!
Have you been on the fence about whether or not to buy a Costco membership? Have you wondered if it’s worth the money?
I was actually wondering the same thing a couple years back, and my readers came through with lots of great advice. Many of them thought a Costco membership is definitely worth the money, so I thought it’d be helpful to put all their reasons together in one post!
Do You Need a Membership to Shop at Costco?
You do not need to have a Costco membership to shop in the warehouse store, however, you will be very limited in what you can buy without a membership.
You can eat from the food court without a membership. You can also purchase alcohol and prescription meds without a membership card.
Additionally, you can take advantage of their health screenings, flu shots, vaccines, vision exams, and prescription eyeglasses without a membership.
And don’t forget the free samples — you can enjoy those without a membership too!
Is Costco Membership Worth It? Here’s our Favorite Costco Membership Benefits:
Thank you to all my readers who submitted these ideas HERE, HERE, and HERE!
1. The membership can pay for itself.
If you choose the executive membership, you get 2% back on all your purchases throughout the year. At the end of the year, you get a check for the total amount of cash back.
Because of this, most readers who have the executive membership said that the membership ends up either paying for itself or they even make a little bit of money at the end of each year!
And if the 2% bonus check doesn’t end up paying for the executive upgrade, they’ll refund the difference. So if you think you’ll shop pretty regularly at Costco, it might be worth trying the executive membership.
Psst! Right now when you sign up for an executive membership, you can get a $20 gift card to use!
2. There are ways to save on membership.
If you keep an eye out, you can wait to sign up until you see a deal on a Costco membership.
They’re kind of rare, but they typically run these a couple times per year. Usually, the deal includes either a gift card or coupons for free products.
Typically the deals are through Groupon, but right now they’re actually running a direct deal where you get a FREE gift card when you sign up for a new membership!
And you can use the Ibotta app at Costco, which is a great bonus way to save on your purchases there!
3. You can refer friends.
Costco often runs friend referral promos where if you refer a friend to buy a membership, you’ll both get a $10 gift card!
This is a great way to stretch your shopping budget just a little bit further.
4. You get great gas savings.
Tons and tons of readers mentioned the benefit of gas savings that come with a Costco membership.
It seems to depend on the region you live in and if you hit the Costco gas station at the right time, but many people said you can get gas savings of 10-50 cents less per gallon!
And for people with big families who live close to a Costco station, the gas savings add up very quickly — enough to more than pay for your membership costs.
It’s also a great way to save on gas when you’re on the road. Just use the GasBuddy app to find the nearest Costco stations and fill up!
5. Major purchases make it worth it.
The Costco membership quickly pays for itself if you use it to make big purchases for items like grills, canopies, furniture, desks, freezers, computers, and more.
Costco has really great deals on all of these items!
Some people mentioned the executive membership was definitely worth getting if you plan to use Costco for this purpose since you’ll get so much cash back.
6. Many products are cheaper than grocery stores.
One of the keys to shopping at Costco is knowing what a good deal is and if you can get it cheaper at your local grocery store.
Obviously, this will be different for every family, depending on where you shop and live. But many readers said they could get a huge variety of items a lot cheaper than at their local grocery store (even with a coupon and sale) — especially if you choose the Kirkland Signature store brand.
Popular items many people said they found cheaper at Costco include:
- Garbage Bags
- Paper Towels & Toilet Paper
- Laundry & Dish Detergent
- Baby Wipes
- Pure Maple Syrup & Honey
- Baking Supplies: Flour, Sugar, Oats, Pancake Mix
- Nitrate Free Bacon
- Cage-Free Eggs
- Ground Turkey
- Fresh Vegetables & Organic Bags of Fresh Fruit
- Almonds, Walnuts, & Other Nuts
- Chocolate Chips
- Apple Cider (in the fall)
- OTC Meds
- LED Light Bulbs
- Snacks: Cheerios, Granola bars, Goldfish Crackers, Cheese Sticks
- Olive Oil, Soy Sauce, Pesto
7. They have great dairy prices.
Costco has really great prices on their milk, typically running about $1 cheaper per gallon than grocery prices.
They also reportedly have really great prices on butter, string cheese, and block cheese.
8. Their rotisserie chickens are a great deal.
If you love buying rotisserie chickens for dinner, Costco may be for you!
Costco has quality, delicious, hormone-free rotisserie chickens for a really good price — typically around $5.
And you can stretch a rotisserie chicken to last several meals!
9. They have quality beef at a great price.
In addition to the quality rotisserie chickens and cage-free eggs, you can also get really good quality meat at a nice price — especially on beef.
10. There are a lot of options for people who have dietary restrictions.
If you have any kind of dietary restriction, Costco is a really great option with a lot of variety!
- They carry tons of gluten-free products, including almond flour, maple syrup, packaged snacks, almonds, frozen chicken, and more.
- If you eat organic, they have tons and tons of organic products for the same price you’d typically pay for conventional pantry items.
- And if you eat vegetarian, they have great frozen meals, pizzas, and burgers that are meat-free.
If you struggle to shop for your specific diet and live near a Costco, the membership might definitely be worth it just for this.
11. The food court makes for a cheap meal.
If you’re shopping at Costco, you can stop in at the food court for a really affordable family meal.
You can’t beat their cheap pizza — a $10 large pizza can feed a large family easily.
They also have really cheap hot dogs and soda.
12. It makes party planning and hosting super easy.
If you like to entertain or plan events frequently, Costco makes hosting really easy.
The Costco sheet cakes are an amazing deal at just $18.99, and they’re huge and taste amazing. They also have a huge selection of pre-made meals, party foods, and desserts that are perfect for entertaining a large group of people.
And if you have kids in sports or activities where you have to bring snacks and drinks, Costco is a great place to buy those items.
13. Select products go on sale every month.
Costco runs monthly sales on select products, and you can grab really great deals if you pay attention.
Some people reported they plan their menu plans around the monthly deals. And you can also stock up on your favorites when they’re at an even lower price during a monthly sale.
Sometimes the monthly sales include really great prices on produce, too!
14. Costco Travel offers some great deals.
If you like to travel, you can use Costco Travel to get great discounts on rental cars and even resorts.
Many people talked about how cheap their rental car rates are, so this could be a huge savings if you travel frequently or love taking family trips!
15. They have a nice variety of plants.
If you love to garden or do outdoor work, Costco offers a really nice variety of quality plants — both indoor and outdoor.
16. Their pharmacy offers some great perks.
Costco has really great deals on OTC medications in bulk.
One person mentioned they save $60/year on Claritin alone over store brands!
They also have great pharmacy prices — although in some states you can use the pharmacy without paying for a membership.
17. You can get discounted gift cards.
Costco sells discounted gift cards for restaurants, retail stores, and local attractions.
You might be able to get $10-$30 savings on a gift card — which is a HUGE savings! This is a great way to save on gifts, too.
18. It saves time and money.
If you don’t have time for coupons or to shop at multiple grocery stores, Costco can really save you a lot of time and money.
Costco offers consistently good prices — especially on hard-to-find items or specialty diet foods.
So if you live in a more rural area without a lot of options, it might be worth the drive and membership to shop at Costco once or twice per month.
It can also save on time because you buy in bulk and don’t have to go to the store as often.
19. They have a good return policy.
Costco has a really liberal return policy, which makes it appealing for buying bigger ticket items. They will typically take just about anything back without even blinking an eye.
Most items can be returned up to a year after being purchased — and even longer on some electronics.
20. They offer good prices on store-brand paper goods.
It’s already been mentioned several times, but Costco offers great savings on paper goods.
You can get really good prices on toilet paper, paper towels, paper plates, trash bags, and more.
And Kirkland Signature Brand is a really quality brand for a much lower price.
21. It’s a great place to shop at Christmas time.
Costco has a nice selection of toys and Christmas decorations during November and December that are much better priced than other stores.
If you host Christmas parties, you can also save a lot of money on produce, meat, and party food.
22. They have discounted books.
Costco has new release books cheaper than the cover price.
23. They have good diaper prices.
Costco reportedly has really good prices on diapers and wipes.
One reader said that when her kids were younger, she drove 70 miles to Costco to buy diapers each month because of the amount of money she saved!
24. They have good deals on eyeglasses, contacts, and hearing aids.
Costco has really good prices on prescription eyeglasses, contacts, and hearing aids.
They also offer cheaper eye exams than most eye doctor offices.
One person said the hearing aids at Costco are a quarter of the price she would have had to pay otherwise!
25. You can save on cars, tires, and auto insurance.
This is one you might not know about, but Costco offers some great auto deals!
You can get new car tires at a great discount. And the Costco Auto Program helps connect members to participating dealerships to find reduced prices on vehicles.
You can also save quite a bit on car insurance through Costco.
26. They offer print cartridge ink refills.
If you use your printer a lot, Costco offers a great price on cartridge ink refills, so that you don’t have to keep buying cartridges every time you run out of printer ink.
How to Get Costco Membership
Don’t forget! If you’re convinced that a Costco membership is worth it after reading this post, you’ll definitely want to take advantage of this HOT Costco Membership Deal!
We don’t see Costco Membership Deals very often, so this is definitely a great time to sign up!
Costco Membership Levels
Costco currently has 3 membership levels:
- Gold Star = $60 per year
- Business = $60 per year (specifically for businesses)
- Executive = $120 per year
Costco Gold Star vs Executive
The Gold Star level is half as much as the Executive level — however, the Executive level includes additional discounts on travel and other Costco services. The Executive level also offers 2% cash back on every dollar you spend at Costco.
So if you think you’ll spend $3,000 over the course of the year at Costco (roughly $250 a month), you will actually come out ahead by purchasing the pricier Executive membership.
More Costco Membership Benefits
Not only do they offer pretty decent prices on many name brands and organic foods, they also have some really great deals on clothing, gifts, and home goods.
Their products are high quality, their customer service is really great, and their return policy is one of the best around!
Also… samples! 🙂
Costco Membership FAQs
This depends on what you buy. If you need lots of diapers or something more pricy like new tires, your membership could pay for itself within a few weeks. In general, I think it would be extremely easy to save $60 on groceries over the course of a year — which means the membership would pay for itself.
For Further Reading:
Still on the fence and not sure if a Costco membership is worth it? Try these resources:
- Can a Warehouse Membership Save You Money?
- Does a Warehouse Membership Make Sense For Your Family?
- Cost Comparison between Warehouse Membership and Amazon Subscribe & Save
I went to Costco last night from 7:30 to 8:30. It was so nice as there were only a few other shoppers in the store. It’s a non-crowded time to go if you’re trying not to be near too many people right now!
Thanks for sharing that tip! I know I have experienced similar things when going to the grocery store just before closing. -Jordan, MSM Team
My father-in-law gets the business membership and gives a card to each of his kids. We then buy the refillable gift cards for our teens to use for gas. It’s been a great way to make the savings work for us while keeping in line with the membership guidelines. My biggest Costco tip is to go early! They usually have the doors open 15-30 minutes before the stated times.
What a great way to save as a family! -Jordan, MSM Team
We love Costco’s baby wipes and won’t use anything else. Their diaper prices are OK if you’re not a sale+coupon shopper – but I am, and find I can get better prices at the supermarket that way.
The 2-pack of Felina leggings are super soft and well-priced.
Thanks for sharing those tips! -Jordan, MSM Team
I gave up my Costco membership after 14 years of belonging. The prices are not great–but average and I was tired of the gigantic packages. Since I switched shopping to Lidl, Aldi and Walmart my savings has increased to 50%.
I did join BJ’s for $25. I only joined because they sell Zone bars and will offer club coupon dropping the cost to $12 for 24 bars.
Thank you so much for sharing your experience! -Jordan, MSM Team
We love Costco. Our membership completely pays for itself, along with cash back perks for using their card. Their return policy is marvelous (no questions). Their staff are helpful and cheerful (even during COVID craziness). Rental cars are well-priced through Costco. Many grocery prices are better than other places (esp for specific diets/organics), and I have to say, sometimes it truly saves money (time/stress, too) to be able to get a large amount of needed items in one place, with one trip.
And, I will comment that this is a change in tone on this blog….it seems like MSM’s approach has been anti-Costco (not morally, just that “it isn’t the best deal”:) in the past. But we have always loved Costco!!!
Crystal Paine says
Ha! I still don’t think I’ll be getting a Costco membership anytime soon because it still doesn’t seem like it would be a money-saving thing for me, but we’ve been planning this post for a long time based upon a bunch of feedback we’ve gotten from you all. I thought it would be helpful for those who are considering a Costco membership. We also have a followup post on why to not get a Costco membership. Just to keep things balanced! 🙂
I’m sure you don’t buy everything your site promotes!!!!
I’m still glad to see some positiveness about Costco!!! 🙂 We’ll be glad for their monthly savings deals to return after the virus slows down.
Where we live, we can’t stop at major chain grocery stores regularly, let alone have stores that offer deep enough markdowns on anything to depend on that….so to get it all in one trip is MARVELOUS. And their produce quality is amazing!
I do find it funny….we all have OUR things. Extended family states away swear by Aldi and Kroger….and I’ve only been in those chains while visiting them. But they look at us like we’re crazy to “stock up” at Costco. Just different needs/possibilities! And we’re thankful we all can provide for our families.
Crystal Paine says
Yes! And if we didn’t have Kroger or Aldi, I’d definitely re-consider Costco!
I actually have both Costco and Sam’s Club. Thinking about dropping Sam’s as it’s about 15 minutes further away. But these club memberships have been a huge blessing during this pandemic! I was able to buy a 10 lb tube of ground beef, a 8 lb pork loin, 4 lbs of bacon, and about 6 lbs of chicken in one visit. Broke these down into meal sized freezer bags and put them in the chest freezer. Plus huge packs of toilet paper and paper towels.
Now I’m set for awhile and won’t need to worry about whether my Kroger has these necessary items in stock when I get my pickup order each week. I’m able to just fill in with fresh produce and other weekly necessities.
Plus, since sales on meat are few and far between right now, the club prices that are usually great were especially fantastic!
Need Anap says
The monthly sales are continuing, Costco just isn’t sending out a mail flyer about the sales. Another impact is the food court selections have changed a lot. We miss the free samples!
Another thing to note, we have a Costco card and aside from the great grocery deals we use it primarily for gas purchases. We signed up for the credit card and when you make purchases, you get a % back. On gas, it’s 4% back. Costco’s gas price is always WAY cheaper than any stations around, so coupled with their lower price and the 4% back, you make out big time.
Just on the gas rewards alone, we make more than the cost of the card back each year. So, we literally pay NOTHING for a Costco membership but get to enjoy all the perks all while buying the groceries and gas we would need to buy anyways.
That’s such a great way to look at it! -Jordan, MSM Team
I’m all about saving money wherever possible. But unless you have a business membership, the second card is only for someone at the same address. I think it’s important to follow their rules.
“Primary and Affiliate Members receive one free Household Card for anyone over the age of 18 and living at the same address. Household Cardholders will be asked to present proof that they live at the same address as either the Primary or Affiliate Member.”
Crystal Paine says
Thank you SO much for mentioning that! I’m wondering if it’s a recent change since so many people suggested it? At any rate, I edited the post to make sure we weren’t encouraging someone to do something that is against their policy.