Just when you thought you knew every trick for shopping at Costco without a membership, there’s a new workaround for those $45-plus annual fees: delivery. Depending on where you live, you may be able to use Instacart to get orders delivered from not only Costco, but Sam’s Club and BJ’s Warehouse, too.Read more...
More like this (3)
I pay $60 a year for a Costco membership for just me and my husband, and I'm convinced it's still worth it for 4 reasons
When I tell people I shop at bulk retailer Costco, they're usually confused because my household...When I tell people I shop at bulk retailer Costco, they're usually confused because my household only has two people: me and my husband. But I like to go every two or three weeks and load up on groceries for a better price than my local store, I use Costco to book our travel, and I can't get enough of the free snacks. For our family, paying $60 a year for a Costco membership saves us more in the long run, even though we're only two people. Read more personal finance coverage. I was thrilled when a brand new Costco opened up about 10 minutes from my house. Some people didn't quite understand my excitement. They would say things like, "Why do you need a Costco membership? It's just you and your husband!" they'd tell me. Or they'd ask, "Are you planning on having five children and buying everything in bulk?" The truth is that even though Costco is a bulk retailer and you have to join to shop there, I believe a membership is worth it for smaller families like my own. At least, it is for me. The cost of Costco membership Costco offers three different membership options: Gold Star Membership: The Gold Star is $60 per year and comes with two membership cards. Gold Star Executive Membership: With the Gold Star Executive, you get two cards plus 2% rewards on all purchases for $120 per year. Business Membership: There's also a Business option that offers the same benefits as the Gold Star and Gold Executive memberships, but allows members to add additional people for $60 each. I went with the Gold Star membership because it has everything I need: the freedom to shop at Costco whenever my heart desires and a membership card for me as well as one for my husband. If you're wondering whether my $60 yearly membership is worth it, I'm here to tell you: absolutely! Here's why: 1. I get access to lower prices than I see anywhere else When I compare the prices of some of the foods I get at Costco to the prices of similar foods at my local grocery store, Giant Eagle, I know I'm getting a great deal. For example, Costco's blend of frozen veggies is $0.28/100 g instead of the $0.45/100 g at my grocery store. Not to mention, Costco's blend has broccoli and cauliflower, two veggies that I love and are not found in the grocery store version. Also, Costco's organic, cage-free large eggs are $6.39 for two dozen, or $0.26 per egg. The same eggs at my grocery store are available for $5.85 for 18 eggs, or $0.32 per egg. Since my husband and I go through eggs quickly, Costco eggs are a big money-saver. In addition, wild Alaskan salmon at Costco is $32.99 for 3 pounds, which equates to $11 per pound or $0.69 per ounce. Similar salmon at my grocery store is $12.99 for 12 ounces or $1.08 per ounce. Salmon is one of our go-to dinners, so I always buy it from Costco. 2. I make fewer trips to the store Since Costco allows me to buy in bulk, I grocery shop a lot less than I used to. This is a big deal for someone like me who is self-employed as my time is literally money. I try to stock up for at least two to three weeks' worth of meat (I love the chicken and lamb!), eggs, frozen fruit and veggies, snack foods, and household products like paper towels and toilet paper. 3. I get to snack on the free samples This may sound crazy, but I love to head on over to Costco if I'm craving a little snack. The store is packed with delicious free samples that not only fill me up but inspire me to try new foods that I don't typically eat. Fortunately, I have pretty good self control and rarely buy the foods that are being promoted. 4. I regularly use Costco's vacation deals Believe it or not, I also use Costco to book my vacations and save big. I used to use American Express Travel but found that Costco prices are better. In April, my husband and I went to an all-inclusive resort in Cancun and paid $1,775 a person for seven nights through Costco. This price included everything: flights, airport transfers, and all-inclusive lodging. When we checked American Express, it was $1,950 a person for the same package. We spent the $350 we saved on a dolphin excursion and had the time of our lives. While Costco may not be the right option for every family, it makes complete sense for mine. I know I've saved much more than the $60 a year it cost me to join. More personal finance coverage What's the best airline credit card? The best cash back credit cards Are CDs a good investment? When to save money in high-yield savings Best rewards credit cards Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Super-Earths are real and they could be an even better place to live than Earth
'Costco relaxes my soul': 6 die-hard Costco fanatics explain why they love the warehouse store so much
People are obsessed with Costco for many reasons. The membership-based warehouse store sells a variety of...People are obsessed with Costco for many reasons. The membership-based warehouse store sells a variety of items in bulk. It also carries its own in-house brand — Kirkland Signature — which helps keep prices low. We talked six die-hard Costco fanatics to hear why they love warehouse store. One member with the highest tier of membership, Gold Star Executive, even got a tattoo of the Kirkland Signature brand on his arm. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Every brand has its devotees, but Costco fanatics are on another level. When Costco opened its first store in China last month, overwhelming crowds forced the store to be shut down on opening day. A similar situation happened in Iceland in 2017, when search-and-rescue teams were employed to manage the crowds on opening day. Admittedly, it isn't hard to love the warehouse store that is estimated to have over 90 million card-holding members. Costco offers an exclusive shopping experience for its members, which includes anything you could ever need to live comfortably — and it's all in bulk. Read more: This soon-to-be-married Icelandic couple met in a Facebook group for Costco fans, and their friends call their child the 'Costco Baby' Selling everything from engagement rings to groceries, Costco is the master at giving shoppers the best bang for their buck. Plus, its in-house Kirkland Signature brand drives prices down even more, which further endears the company in the hearts of its shoppers. But for many Costco frequenters, the store is more than a place to pick up value products. "I think all of the people who have weird attachments to Costco have a pretty similar story," said Max Ellinger, a Costco loyalist who lives on the West Coast. He loves Costco so much he got a tattoo of the Kirkland Signature logo on his arm. Ellinger says he frequents Costco about three times a week and even had his birthday party in a Costco food court in 2015. He's a Gold Star Executive member, a higher tier of membership which is double what a regular Gold Star membership costs at $120 a year. It offers 2% cash back on purchases, as well as special deals on some Costco services. Ellinger is in good company when it comes to Costco appreciation. There are websites and blogs solely devoted to people talking about the warehouse. One website, Costco Insider, has hundreds of thousands of monthly users. The founder started the website out of a love for Costco almost 10 years ago and as a way to tell people about the deals the store. Business Insider talked to six Costco lovers and discovered five main reasons that people fall in love with the warehouse store. Some names and surnames have been withheld at members' request to protect their identity.SEE ALSO: We shopped at Costco and Sam's Club to see which one does bulk better and discovered that Costco's extra membership cost is worth it 1. Low Prices The low prices are probably Costco's main appeal. "There are not many instances in one's adult life in which you can drop $150 to $300 in a shopping trip and feel like you got a great deal on a wide variety of items," said Dan, a Costco fanatic from Los Angeles who lists himself as an executive member of Costco on his Facebook profile. A lot of Costco members agree that to make the membership fee worth it — $60 for a basic Gold Star membership and $120 for a Gold Star Executive one — shoppers should spend between $3,000 and $4,000 a year. A Colorado-based executive member agreed that the good products at low prices are one of Costco's main draws. "That's the bottom-line reason we'd shop anywhere and Costco delivers on this more than most," they said. 2. Food Court Most Costco fanatics agree that the in-house food court is one of the best features of the store. "I used to go there when I worked and eat a salad for lunch at least once a week." said the Costco fanatic from Colorado, who praised the quality of the food as well as the low prices. For young kids, the food court at Costco is especially exciting. "You can get pizza or a hotdog, or a soda and ice cream," said Matt, founder and editor of Costco Insider, a website that lets users know about upcoming deals and changes in Costco stores across the US. "And so there's a lot of food that parents are willing to buy because it's super cheap and it's convenient and kids love it." Denise, a mother of four who started a Facebook group for Costco fanatics in California and Nevada, said the food court is one of her favorite features of Costco. "[It's the] cheapest dinner, lunch I can get my kids," she said. "I can feed all of us for $12!" 3. Kirkland Signature products Costco's in-house Kirkland Signature brand goes hand-in-hand with its low prices. Ellinger refers to products from the brand as "the fruit of Costco." The Kirkland brand appeals to people who want affordable products with a guarantee of quality. The brand includes food, shampoo, clothes, and more. "I love the Kirkland brands!" Denise, who said she has purchased Kirkland diapers and underwear for her kids. Denise, like other Costco-lovers, also appreciates the return policy associated with Kirkland and other Costco products, which guarantees satisfaction or your money back. Dan, the Los Angeles Costco fan, also praised Kirkland Signature goods, though he mentioned he has a limit: "The only thing I can't bring myself to purchase are Kirkland Signature pants." 4. Free samples Costco's free samples in its food sections are a huge crowd-pleaser. Matt from Costco Insider takes his one-and-a-half-year-old daughter to Costco regularly and finds the free samples to be extremely helpful. "It's great for me as a parent because I can have her try a bunch of different foods that she's never tried before and find out what she likes before I buy it." Denise, also a parent, agreed that the samples are great and delicious. Even for people without kids, members say the free samples are a nice in-store treat. 5. General atmosphere Shopping features aside, there is something more to Costco that cultivates such a loyal fan-base. "Costco relaxes my soul," said John, the founder of the I love Costco blog. And he's not alone in his sentiment. "I do love that everyone at Costco appears to be relaxed humans," said Ellinger. "I love overhearing a weird personal conversation between two employees unloading a box and knowing that Costco is a safe space for people to just be people." With such a large selection, Costco has the ability to permeate every sector of life. Matt from Costco Insider proposed to his wife with an engagement ring from the warehouse store. Ellinger had a birthday party in the Costco food court and once took a date on a trip to the warehouse. At its core, however, Costco is still just a store, selling everything one could need to survive in bulk. And for many fanatics, that much is enough. As a Colorado fanatic put it: "Who wouldn't love that?"