Wondering if a Costco membership is worth it? Check out these reasons why a Costco membership might not be a great fit for your family!
A few weeks ago, we posted about why a Costco membership might be worth having. And just to keep things balanced, we thought it’d be fun to put together a list of why a Costco membership might NOT be worth having.
This list of ideas comes from MSM readers a couple years back when I was trying to decide whether or not a Costco membership would be beneficial to our family.
10 Reason You Shouldn’t Get a Costco Membership
Thank you to all my readers who submitted these ideas HERE, HERE, and HERE!
1. Shop with a friend who has a membership first.
Costco allows friends to shop with you when you’re together in the store. If you have a friend who has a membership, it might be worth going shopping with her a few times!
This will give you a better idea of the prices and items they offer, so that you can see if it’s actually worth it for you.
Or if you’ll only use Costco for a select few items, you can always ask a friend to pick those items up for you when she goes.
2. You can use Instacart instead.
Did you know that anyone can order products from Costco through Instacart? I had no idea!
While this may not help much with saving money because of Instacart delivery fees, it might be worth it to just do one big order once or twice per year and pay the delivery fee instead of a membership fee!
3. You can shop there with a gift card.
This is another trick I didn’t know about! You can shop at Costco with a gift card even if you don’t have a membership!
So you could always give your friend money to load up a gift card for you while she’s there, and then use the gift card a few times to see if a membership would be worth it to you.
Or if you really love Costco and can’t afford the membership, you could always tell family members that a Costco gift card is a great gift idea for you! 🙂
4. You can use the pharmacy without a membership in some states.
You do not have to be a Costco member to use the pharmacy in many states. Just tell the person at the door you are going to the pharmacy.
Obviously the down side is that you can’t buy anything else while you’re inside the store, but the pharmacy savings are really great!
5. Sam’s or BJ’s might be a better fit for you.
I think it’s important to experiment with the various warehouses in your area and figure out what works best for your family.
Maybe one is closer to you or maybe one has products that are a better fit for you!
The memberships are also priced differently at each store, so it’s important to figure out which one is best for you.
6. Factor in travel time and gas.
If the nearest Costco is two hours away, you might not end up saving that much by the time you pay for gas. And it’s always important to factor in how valuable your time is!
On the other hand, if you live in a really rural area with not many grocery store options, it might be worth it to you to travel a long way to the nearest Costco.
Or if you have one really close to you and love the products, it might be a great way to save for your family!
7. Sales differ from region to region.
Savings do differ by region, so it really comes down to what products you’re looking for and what products your region sells at what price.
For example, the gas savings are significant in some regions and not so great in other regions.
8. The savings might not be as good as other grocery stores.
Depending on what grocery stores you have in your area, the savings might not be nearly as good at Costco.
If you have a lot of options in your area — like ALDI or Kroger markdowns — then you probably won’t find better prices at Costco. (And if you shop sales or use coupons, you’ll definitely do better at your local grocery store!)
It’s really important to know your price list and know what a good deal actually is, so that when you first trial shop at Costco, you’ll know if it’s worth the membership price for you.
9. Buying in bulk can increase spending habits.
Costco strives to be the cheapest price per pound or unit, so their sizes are even bigger than Sam’s Club. What this means is that as a general rule, nothing is less than $10-$15.
So if you add just a handful of items to your cart, you’re quickly over $100. If you have the willpower to just grab the few things that your family actually needs and is a great deal, that’s great. But it’s really easy to walk in and end up spending hundreds of dollars before you realize it.
10. You can shop through their website instead.
Another secret is that many items can be purchased online at Costco.com without a membership and still take advantage of some of their great deals.
You can even order online and pick up in-store!
For Further Reading:
Still on the fence and not sure if a Costco membership is worth it? Try these resources:
- 25+ Reasons a Costco Membership is Worth It
- 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
Note: If you are interested in getting a membership, be sure to check out this Costco membership deal to get a free $10 gift card when you sign up!
Do you have any other reasons that you think a Costco membership isn’t worth the money? Let us know in the comments!
I have shopped both Sams Club and Costco and prefer Sams Club for a few reasons. I believe it’s easier to find items in the store (wayfinding is clearer – Costco is more confusing); Sams has increased the #of organic products it carries; Sams carries more clothes (overall—except the Kirkland dress shirts from Costco are terrific); you can also use Costco optical without a membership.
Thanks for sharing your experience! -Jordan, MSM Team
Sam’s memberships are cheaper and they offer deals on them very frequently so you’ll be spending less overall. Plus I like Sam’s selection way better and just the store itself is way more friendly.
Thanks for sharing your honest review! -Jordan, MSM Team
I tried using Instacart when the pandemic began but could not believe how inflated the prices were! I usually pay about $2.50 for chicken breasts at Costco. I just looked at it on Instacart and it is over $6! Maybe it would even out if you just shopped the sales, but I would use caution if you are using Instacart in an attempt to save money.
Yeah, prices are quite inflated on Instacart. I agree! -Meg, MSM Team
Laurie Wollenberg says
Read your comments about shopping with a gift card at Costco and not needing a membership. How would you get into the store? They won’t let you in the door without showing a membership card. So I’m curious how using a gift card would work without a membership. Love your site!
I’m not sure! Many, many readers said this, though, so it must be a thing! I think you just show them the gift card? -Meg, MSM Team