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Why I Am Not A Member At Costco Or Sam’s Club

October 20, 2010 · 191 comments

in Personal Finance

I was reading the following post over at Live Real, Now, which describes why the blog writer does not like going to warehouse stores.  The gist of it was he did not like the person standing at the door when you are leaving that scans your receipt and looks at your cart.  I agree, it does make you feel like you are being accused of thievery.

This post got me thinking about why I canceled my Costco membership, even though we have plenty of room to store bulk items, and we are a family of five.  (In theory, we are probably the type of family Costco based their business model on.)  Don’t get me wrong, I have many fond memories of taking my youngest son to Sam’s Club when he was little to look at the fiber-optic Christmas trees and getting free samples.

However, for all the positives of shopping at a warehouse store, there were negatives. So, here are the reasons I stopped shopping at Costco and Sam’s Club:

  1. I spent wayyy more when I shopped at warehouse clubs.  Plus, what I bought was unhealthy garbage.  I really didn’t need the giant bag of M&Ms, even though it seemed like such a great deal.  It was rare for me to get out of there for less than 300 dollars.  That is a car payment!
  2. It was very time consuming.  I felt like I had to go down each and every aisle when I was there because I only went once a month or so.  Then loading each item into my car, and the unloading was a nightmare.
  3. The membership fee.  I didn’t like pay 35 dollars just for the privilege of shopping.
  4. Many things I bought were low quality.  I bought spoiled milk at Costco, even though it was nowhere near the expiration date.  The ink I bought for my color printer was garbage, even though it was HP.  I bought some chicken breasts there that you could have rolled up and created the most effective super ball ever.  (Probably not worth the salmonella risk to make that invention a reality though.)
  5. I found that I could buy things much cheaper if I combined coupons and sales at my local grocery stores.  If you know how to work the sales, you don’t need warehouse clubs (in my opinion).

I will say though that there are a few things that I really miss about Costco.  I love their frozen white corn.  I swear it must secretly be soaked in sugar.  I have also found that I cannot beat the price on a certain items at Costco, like giant bags of chocolate chips, vanilla, and spices.  However, the 35 dollar fee does not make it worth my while for those few items.  Not to mention I hate the parking lot there.

What are your thoughts on warehouse clubs?  Am I being un-American by not shopping at Costco?  Are you convinced the deals are better at warehouse clubs?  Do you love the Kirkland brand?

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{ 186 comments… read them below or add one }

Samurai October 20, 2010 at 7:46 am

I ain’t a member either. Way too much consumption! I’d rather eat less, buy only what I need, and have little inventory.

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Kris October 20, 2010 at 11:15 am

You may change your mind though if you end up with a big family! 🙂

I love inventory. But I would rather create the inventory with sales and such and spend the bare minimum. Some things I can never have enough of, like salsa. But I want till that is buy one, get one free at the local store. I then buy enough until I expect the next sale to roll around. Keep in mind, I have 3 kids though, and they eat like starving monsters. If I didn’t have kids, I probably would never even set foot into Costco.

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Nicole October 20, 2010 at 2:21 pm

re: salsa… my husband is completely addicted to this stuff (“hotter than hell”) that a local woman sells at the farmer’s market. I don’t think Costco could compare.

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Jason@LiveRealNow October 22, 2010 at 9:25 am

But what about preparing for the zombie invasion? Or nuclear winter?

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Kris October 22, 2010 at 10:15 pm

Jason, you are right. I am in big trouble if there is a horrible disaster. However, in the case of nuclear winter, I might be a little more concerned about the radiation zipping through my body than about opening that can of spaghettios. 🙂

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Nicole October 20, 2010 at 8:14 am

The only time I’ve ever used one of those warehouse clubs was when we were working as RAs at a dorm and the dorm was paying for it for dorm-wide events. Then we’d need flats of eggs, boxes of cheese, rashers of bacon etc.

We just don’t buy much processed food or much Stuff and we don’t need that many eggs all at once as a family of three. So there’s not much point.

Also, I don’t know if Costco has changed, but now that we make real money (rather than graduate school money) we tend to buy fru-fru brands instead of big brands that they have available at Costco. Seventh Generation instead of Tide (which makes me itch), Kashi instead of Nabisco, Fancy cheeses instead of Kraft. etc. We still buy storebrands and generics at the grocery, which have always been cheaper than the bulk big name brand at the box store.

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Kris October 20, 2010 at 10:56 am

I am super sensitive to fragrance, so I never could buy much of the stuff at Costco anyway because they rarely had ‘scent free’. (That may have changed though, haven’t been there in awhile.)

I can honestly say I don’t miss it, except for those few things I mentioned. I also don’t miss the parking lot and the hauling of the groceries.

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The Biz of Life October 20, 2010 at 8:18 am

I did belong to BJ’s for a while, but found myself spending more money than I spent at the grocery store on a lot of stuff I didn’t really need. And buying in bulk often led to waste.

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Kris October 20, 2010 at 10:57 am

Biz – I had the exact same experience. I did find though if I bought the giant box of goldfish, my kids would find a way to finish that in no-time. I bought a lot of unhealthy junk, which is my own fault.

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Roshawn @ Watson Inc October 20, 2010 at 8:48 am

I don’t have a problem with such stores, but we limit our spending their to specific items (including gas) and go during business hours (limit the time). Like anything else, we try to go there with a specific plan so that we don’t buy unnecessary things or too much (things that we couldn’t possibly finish before expiration). Overall, we are happy using them as one of the many places we shop. However, since the model doesn’t work for your family, it sounds like canceling membership is a great decision.

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Kris October 20, 2010 at 10:58 am

Shawn – you have good self-control! I think the bottom line for me was it took up a ton of time, and I could get better deals elsewhere. I have the storage space, so that was never an issue. If only I could find that corn somewhere…

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Jacq @ Single Mom Rich Mom October 20, 2010 at 9:22 am

How timely for me. 🙂 I just signed up for a membership there for the first time in my life! I’m going to give it a test drive for the year to see if it’s worth it or not. I’ve always stayed away because I have a tendency to buy too much bulk stuff if I think I’m getting a good deal. But I think I’m overcoming that slowly.

I definitely agree that if you’re a smart shopper, it doesn’t make sense to shop there. I like Shawn’s suggestion to go in there with a plan. My first trip might just be a surveying mission, not a buying trip to ensure I don’t get sucked in.

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Kris October 20, 2010 at 11:00 am

I think everyone should try it, it may work great for them. I just found it wasn’t worth it anymore for me. I used to want to cry when my bill was 300 dollars. However, that is my own personal problem. I didn’t go that frequently, but when I did, I bought batteries, clothes, you name it. I thought it was all a great deal, until I really started looking at prices and combining sales with coupons. Then it wasn’t such a great deal for me anymore.

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beth October 20, 2010 at 10:01 am

I LOVE Costco! We buy a lot of organic and all natural items at our Costco. Organic meat, bread, yogurt, milk,etc. and all natural snacks- Annie’s. They are also starting to carry cleaning items like seventh generation. Sure, they have bulk sizes of unhealthy and processed items, but we don’t usually buy those things (okay, I bought the huge container of licorice for the office). We also find great deals on kids stuff. we recently bought a Toy Story toddler bike for our sons’s upcoming birthday. Yes, we do spend a lot in one trip to Costco, but I also don’t have time for coupon cutting right now. I haven’t even mentioned the trash bags, diapers, wipes, detergent,etc. that we definitely use in bulk quantities and I’m pretty sure we are getting a good deal compared to buying them at other stores. Did you forget about the very reasonably priced and yummy cakes for birthdays, holidays, etc.? You can’t beat their cake prices. Also, we have the executive membership for $100 per year, but you get a check back at the end of the year for a percentage of your purchases. it usually pays for itself.

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Kris October 20, 2010 at 11:02 am

Hey Beth – I have actually never bought a Costco cake, but I do enjoy them at other people’s houses!

That is great that Costco is starting to carry more ‘natural’ items, as they didn’t when I was last there. The trash bags are usually a good deal, and much better quality than the Kroger off-brand. If I had a baby, I would probably still be shopping there.

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Invest It Wisely October 20, 2010 at 11:12 am

I’m not a member of Costco, either. What am I going to do with a 5 pound jar of pickles that will rot before I even get 1/5th of a way through it? 😉

I just don’t buy enough to make a membership worth it. Maybe someday when I have kids I might find myself there, though.

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Kris October 20, 2010 at 1:11 pm

We would probably eat a 5 pound jar of pickles in about 2 days. Which is why I don’t want to shop at Costco. The more stuff we have around the house, the more the family will eat!

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Invest It Wisely October 20, 2010 at 1:17 pm

My weakness is a jar of Maille pickles. Expensive, but really good, especially with some cheese and … can’t remember the name of it now, but that spicy italian meat. 🙂

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retirebyforty October 20, 2010 at 11:45 am

I have never been a member of Costco and probably never will be. It’s great if you have five kids, but with just the two of us I don’t see the need. I totally agree with your #1 point – it just encourage consumption.

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Kris October 20, 2010 at 1:14 pm

RB40 – Yeah, I cannot see the point if it is just 2 people. Heck, I have stopped going and I have 3 teenagers. (Well the third is almost a teenager.) Not to mention there is just so much temptation there!

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Lola October 20, 2010 at 11:57 am

Now that our kids are out of the house and out of town, it’s probably time for the hubs and I to consider dropping out Sam’s Club membership. Back in the day, we used the big buckets of laundry detergent and dishwashing detergent, garbage bags, bar soap and soft soap refills, etc. all the time. Plus I used to bake just about all our bread, so the flour and especially the yeast were much better prices. I also ran a lot of Girl Scout events and would shop for food for about 100 at a crack for encampments, workshops, banquets, etc.

When the kids were still coming home for college breaks, it still made sense to buy some bulk items and split them up with the kids before they headed back. And someone always needed some tires for awhile there. With the kiddos out of town and most of them needing to fly back after a visit, it’s not practical anymore to share the bulk.

But we usually pick up enough stuff over the course of a year to probably even out the membership premium – some of the clothing is a good deal, especially the Speedo swimsuits. I still run a couple of Scout events each year that merit a commemorative cake, and I do love Sam’s cakes and their whipped cream icing, so that works out too. As someone already mentioned, it’s hard to beat that warehouse price for a decorated cake.

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Kris October 20, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Lola – no reason to drop it if you are still finding value. I know a lot of people love their photo processing too. Bathing suits can be so ridiculously expensive, it is great if you can find one that fits and at a good price.

My friend also bought those giant bags of flour. I didn’t see the need at the time, as I was younger. I now get it completely.

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Jason@LiveRealNow October 22, 2010 at 9:27 am

We buy the big bags of flour all winter long. When it’s too cold to go outside, I bake a LOT of bread.

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James Fowlkes October 20, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Love Costco but have a family. If I were single,… probably wouldn’t be a big deal to me.
However, they do have some good deals on bulk meat which anyone could benefit from. However, the deals are not soo good that they are that much better than BOGO sales at the local supermarket. You just have to keep an eye out.

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Kris October 20, 2010 at 1:17 pm

James – I did like the salmon now that I think about it, but that was really the only meat I bought there after the chicken fiasco. Maybe I was just unlucky and got a bad batch.

I know my kids miss shopping at Costco!

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techbud October 20, 2010 at 2:19 pm

I have membership to both Costco and BJs. I save on everyday items like milk at both warehouses. They are like any other shopping experience. You need to stick to you list, plan. Both except coupons, so if you stay within your plan and budget you can shop at these type of places and not have an issue.

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Kris October 20, 2010 at 2:29 pm

I don’t think Costco accepts coupons, at least they didn’t used to.

It is very true that you can be very successful shopping at Costco. However, I can do better at my local stores (for what I need), and I don’t have to go through the hassle of warehouse shopping.

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Lindy Mint October 20, 2010 at 2:23 pm

My family is brand and flavor picky – we only want the peanut butter Power Bars, not the multi-pack. We like Pampers, they carry Huggies. Costco has never really worked for us. And it’s kind of scary. We’re afraid of getting run over by those big carts.

But – they have good deals on Zyrtec and batteries, and those sorbet desserts in the individual coconut shells, almost worth getting a membership for.

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Kris October 20, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Lindy – I seem to remember not buying diapers at Costco way back when because they didn’t carry Pampers – you are right.

There are definitely some great products and deals you can get at Costco. But, for us, it wasn’t worth it. Many people swear by it though!

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Crystal @ BFS October 20, 2010 at 2:59 pm

We’ve been Sam’s Club members for 3 years or so and I have gotten a system down pat. I only buy certain items there and I only go every 6-8 weeks. By buying in bulk, I don’t run as many errands. Our grocery bill has stayed about the same but we eat at home more often. Here’s our Sam’s Club List:

1. Cheap Steak – $3/lb
2. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts – $2/lb
3. Nature’s Own Honey Wheat Bread (hubby’s bread) – 2 for $3.67
4. Honey Nut Cheerios – 2 BIG bags for $6-$7
5. Frosted Mini-Wheats – 2 bags for $6
6. Charmin Ultra Soft TP – 3-4 months of rolls for $20 (can’t remember the #)
7. Paper Towels – 6 months for $20 (can’t remember the #)
8. Mini Egg Rolls – 50 for $9
9. Digiorno 3-Meat Pizza (our favorite) – 3 for $11
10. Frozen Green Beans – 5 lbs for $6
11. Assorted Spices
12. Assorted Medicines during cold season
13. Granola Bars – 48 for $8.
14. Desserts for less than 50 cents a serving
15. Assorted Chips – 24 single-serving bags for $10

I’m thinking that I’m missing a couple of more things. Anyway, I go in every 6 weeks just to get the things we are low on and never spend more than $150…normally it’s about $70 and the whole trip takes less than 15 minutes since I know exactly what I’m grabbing.

If you don’t use lists and may grab stuff impulsively, DO NOT GET A MEMBERSHIP. We must have wasted a couple of hundred dollars our first year with candy and dog treats alone…it’s definitely an as-needed type of thing…

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Nicole October 20, 2010 at 7:42 pm

If you lived out in the boondocks, you could get those prices (or better) at the local grocery store! The perils of city living…

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Kris October 20, 2010 at 9:41 pm

Nicole – I do get the items cheaper than at Costco, at least for the most part. But it takes some work and planning.

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Kris October 20, 2010 at 9:38 pm

BFS – Now I am hungry! What a nice detailed comment! What brand are the mini egg rolls? I can’t find the little LaChoy ones anywhere, and I miss them so.

Sounds like you have a great process that works for you- and a pantry that can hold everything!

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First Gen American October 21, 2010 at 11:40 am

The nearest Costco is an hour away for me, so it’s a no brainer. I don’t have one. IF I look at BFS’s list though, those are about the prices I pay on sale at the grocery. For example I refuse to buy chicken breast until it goes down to $1.99/# which it does every month or so. Cereal I wait til it’s $2-$2.50 + coupon.

For the one year I had it way back when I always spent hundreds every visit. I’m glad I don’t have to be tempted with it. I’m sure it would be a budget buster.

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Crystal @ BFS October 22, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Chicken breasts at our Kroger only hit $2/lb every 3-4 months and I never seem to time it right. Cereal probably has sales too, but again with the problem of timing (I don’t shop on a schedule…just when the list builds up or we crave a certain food). I guess that is the big reason I like Sam’s Club. I know what i want and it is almost always the same price as normal…no surprises and quick to buy a couple of month’s worth at least. I like convenience.

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Crystal @ BFS October 22, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Yep, LaChoy. They have chicken or pork. 🙂

We do have an awesome pantry but it’s the deep freezer in the garage that stores most of it, lol.

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Squirrelers October 20, 2010 at 6:42 pm

I’m not a member there, but I was a while ago. I just didn’t go enough to make it worth it, thought I really liked the store.

That said, I was just there this weekend and am revisiting my thoughts. We went there with a few others that are members (my cousin and his wife, and my own parents), and I once again got reaquainted with the place. Looking around there, I started to get hooked again. Nice values abound, and with kids it can be worth it.

But I can see how it’s not for everyone.

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Kris October 20, 2010 at 9:39 pm

Squirreler – Maybe if I went more often if would make more sense. But since I was dropping 300 dollars every visit, it just killed me. I kept buying snack items there, and I really don’t need to do that.

Let us know if you go back!

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Andrew October 20, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Agree with Crystal above. We use Sam’s Club selectively for certain items, including pecorino cheese, tomato sauce, bulk parmesan cheese, pasta, bulk olive oil, mixed nuts, and certain types of clothes. There’ several other items, got the listed on the Sam’s list. Usual spend ranges from $100 to $150. After totaling up the first year’s receipts and comparing against other stores, we’re money ahead. Not by a mile, but enough to keep going there from time to time.

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Kris October 20, 2010 at 9:42 pm

Andrew – it sounds like you have a good system too, and you don’t go out of control, which is easy to do!

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Vitaeus October 20, 2010 at 10:18 pm

Costco has the best gasoline prices in my area, plus we really only buy things from a list. If you go in there with no list and just roam the aisles you are going to regret it 🙂

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Kris October 21, 2010 at 8:13 am

Vitaeus – I did regret it, especially when it came time to paying! 🙂

The nearest Costco to me is about 15 minutes away, which is closer than it is for most people. However, the gas lines were always kind of long, and I was never in the area normally where the Costco is located. I am sure it would have paid off more if it was located somewhere I traveled all the time.

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Kay Lynn Akers October 20, 2010 at 11:15 pm

I love Costco! We go almost every week and even though we don’t buy as much as when my sons were teens, there are certain things we always buy there: coffee, tuna, toilet paper, etc.

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Kris October 21, 2010 at 8:11 am

Kay Lynn – I know people that love Costco and seem to really enjoy their weekly trip. Maybe if I went weekly it would have been better, I don’t know. I guess it just seemed like such a hassle that I dreaded going, so I kept putting it off. But that is just me!

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Sherry October 20, 2010 at 11:53 pm

I do a monthly Sam’s run, and I go with a list. I shop for a family of two adults and two teenagers.

The biggie for us is cheese. We eat a LOT of it, and I can get a five-pound block at Sam’s for around $2.50/lb. Even on sale, it’s $3.00/lb. and up at the grocery store. That alone makes our yearly membership pay off. I bake our bread, and I can’t beat the Sam’s Club price per pound for a 25-lb. bag of flour. I’ll go through one of those a month, easily. I also buy rice, sugar, dried potatoes, eggs, cat litter, chocolate chips and tortilla chips in bulk.

When we were a little more flush, I bought granola bars and trail mix packets for quickie breakfasts, and individual chips for the kids’ lunches. We LOVE the giant jars of pickles, but right now they’re a luxury I can’t get very often. The prices were very good for the items in question, but we did snack a lot more when they were in the house all the time.

On many items, Sam’s has the best prices for brand names, but the store generics are even less. Sometimes they don’t have the particular version of an item we would buy otherwise. For instance, they carry a 5lb jar of peanut butter – but only in creamy, which my husband detests.

I used to buy meat there, but I’ve found I can usually do better at the grocery store if I shop the sales – especially if I don’t have to have the skinless, boneless cuts. (I’ve never had a problem with the quality of meat I’ve bought at our Sam’s. Obviously, mileage varies.)

The monthly Sam’s run is definitely time-consuming, especially if you factor in the drive. (About 45 minutes each way for us.) I have to repackage flour, rice and eggs afterward, which is a pain. When I bought meats, repackaging and freezing that took even more time.

I do worry that Sam’s Club’s rock-bottom prices hurt suppliers, who in turn can afford to pay their workers less, which hurts more people in the long run. (Which makes me feel unAmerican for shopping at Sam’s, actually.) More and more, I’d rather pay reasonable prices at my local grocery store, shop weekly and avoid the Sam’s hassle. I’m just not entirely sure how to make that happen at the moment. (I have tried coupons and not found them helpful for most of the foods we use. I realize I’m unusual in that.)

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Kris October 21, 2010 at 8:10 am

Sherry – you are right, shopping at warehouse clubs can be a lot of work! I forgot about all the repackaging. However, I can see where it would pay off if you were making your own bread and such.

Where I live, cheese goes on sale all the time. It is kraft though, which may not be your preference. I prefer to buy smaller packages of cheese so it doesn’t dry up, but only my husband is a cheese addict at our house.

You don’t have to just rely on coupons to save money at the local store. Take advantage of regular sales, like buy one, get one free. Just get to know your prices so you can recognize the really good deals (if you haven’t already). Take Goldfish crackers. I used to buy the giant box at Costco, and they only had cheddar. I can wait for Goldfish to go on sale on Meijer for 99 cents a bag and buy a variety, and it is cheaper than buying at Costco. Almost everything goes on sale at some point. Just stock up when things are on sale, assuming it isn’t a perishable item.

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101 Centavos October 10, 2011 at 10:43 pm

Same here, we shop at Sam’s for the cheese. They have nice big bricks of Italian cheese that we can’t find anywhere else for the same price. We have a list of 10-12 items that we get every time. It’s never less than 150 bucks for a single trip.

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Kris October 10, 2011 at 11:06 pm

I had to give up my Costco trips because I just spent too much money there. However, I know your love of italian cooking, so I imagine you love getting that cheese at Sam’s club.

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Mark October 21, 2010 at 3:08 am

Yes, you are being UnAmerican! LOL. No it’s your choice. I am not a big fan of warehouse clubs either. I always feel like a member in a herd of cattle when looking around the warehouse. I wish they would upgrade the decor. That would make it easier to shop there. I do like Costco better than Sam’s Club however. Somehow I got a membership by buying a few shares of the stock.

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Kris October 21, 2010 at 8:05 am

Mark – Free membership is great! Are you a free member forever?

I too preferred Costco to Sam’s club. I never did like standing in the lines. I always picked the wrong line too. More than anything though, I hated paying for what I bought. That tasty apple bread with frosting was too tempting! I normally am very good at sticking to a list. But since I went to Costco once a month or so, I felt like ‘oh I better get this now…’. Next thing you know, my vehicle was filled up with items that ended up flying all over the place as I drove home.

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Money Reasons October 21, 2010 at 6:11 pm

Do you think it would be for for my kids though? They are 10 and 6, I’ve been thinking about trying it for a different experience! Maybe for 1 or 2 years…

Sounds like over the long haul, I’d be better off going to Walmart though…

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Suba @ Wealth Informatics October 21, 2010 at 9:28 pm

We had Costco membership a couple of years ago. It was just the 2 of us so we were wasting a lot, so canceled it. Now we got the membership again a couple of months ago. This time we are doing fine I think. We buy Quinoa, lots and lots of it. It is very costly anywhere else. This itself covers the cost of the membership fee, so it was a no brainer for us. Plus we also buy the following once a month – bread, frozen veggies, frozen strawberries, frozen mixed berries (without the strawberries), pasta sauce, apple juice, frozen beans, salad greens, some kind of fruit. All these we use over the month and not waste anything. We go out to restaurants a lot and costco carries $100 gift card for $75. We also buy that, 25% off a restaurant that we go anyways is great. My vision insurance is not great, I get $100 a year for prescription glasses, only costco and walmart has frames less than this. Costco quality is way better than walmart for the frames. The costco car buying program is great too.

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Kris October 21, 2010 at 9:58 pm

Suba – sounds like Costco is perfect for you. I had no idea it was a great place to get Quinoa, but then again, I have never eaten Quinoa! 🙂

It is great when you can get a discount on a gift card. I also bet you save a ton on eyeglass frames. Back before I had Lasik, I spent a small fortune on frames.

Happy shopping!

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Suba @ Wealth Informatics October 22, 2010 at 1:33 am

Try Qunioa 🙂 very healthy grain. We used to eat a lot of rice (all Asians do I guess), but due to some health issues I cannot have rice, so Quinoa substituted rice. Tastes good too, I have been praising it to everybody lol!

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Kaycee October 21, 2010 at 9:29 pm

My employer pays for both a membership to Costco and Sam’s Club. Win-win for me! 🙂

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Aloysa October 21, 2010 at 11:16 pm

We don’t belong to Costco. We tried it for a year and were spending way too much money for just two people. And then it would take forever to get through the supplies… I remember we had coffee filters for about a year. 🙂

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Barb Friedberg October 23, 2010 at 10:44 am

I had to reply to this one, even though you already had 50 comments. I gave up our Sam’s Club membership because I was spending way too much there and ending up with huge quantities of stuff I REALLY DID NOT NEED. I’m so glad you wrote this article!

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Kris January 21, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Barb, how did I not reply to this when it came around??

I have not looked back since giving up my Costco membership. The spending can get way out of control, and the temptation is very great, especially if you bring kids along with you!

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Khaleef @ KNS Financial October 28, 2010 at 3:45 pm

We still have our Costco membership, but we don’t shop there as much. We save more by shopping at CVS and supermarkets combining deals with coupons! However, I still think we save more than the $50 membership fee.

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Kris January 21, 2011 at 3:18 pm

Love my CVS, that is for sure. You can do so much better on toothpaste and a ton of other things if you just wait until they go on sale at CVS. People think that just because something comes in a 3 pack, then it must be cheaper. But that is not necessarily true.

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Moneycone November 2, 2010 at 8:37 am

Very nicely put! I used to spend more than what was necessary and you are absolutely right about the time spent! One advantage I do miss is the easy return policy of Costco especially if you are purchasing large electronic items like a flat screen tv.

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Kris November 2, 2010 at 9:24 am

Moneycone- So you gave up your membership? I never returned anything there before. I know many people do like to buy electronics there, so maybe that is a benefit I missed.

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MoneyCone November 2, 2010 at 9:46 am

Kris, Costco has a very liberal return policy. You can return most items with or without a receipt anytime (if my understanding is correct). There are exceptions on televisions, projectors, computers, cameras, camcorders, iPOD / MP3 players and cellular phones which must be returned within 90 days.

For large items like mattresses, Costco will even pick it up! More here: http://www.costco.com/Service/FeaturePageLeftNav.aspx?ProductNo=11133932#Returns-Replacements-Refunds

Just google for costco returns policy and you’ll find how many people abuse this service!

But as I said, my savings wasn’t worth the membership (just my story – most find Costco very cost effective).

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Kris November 2, 2010 at 11:29 am

I don’t think Costco was worth it for me, financially or time-wise.

Yuck, returning mattresses creeps me out! I just hope they never, ever put them back out for sale!

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Deidre @ TransFormX January 3, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Well, I’ve never been to Costco. I do shop at Sams. Not as much as I used to for the same reasons you mentioned above. I have a business membership and with that comes an extra 2 year warranty on anything I buy. Sometimes it’s worth it … at other times it has not been.

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It didn’t break my heart at all. I am glad to be done with it, except when I want a mega-bag of chocolate chips. However, I have been finding those on sale too, and have had some coupons.

You can almost always get TP and such cheaper at other stores if you catch it on sale. I just hated unloading all that stuff from Costco, and I don’t miss that one bit.

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